We're two rounds into the 2022 AFT season, and the SuperTwins season is already very intriguing. The close season saw a raft of rule changes to limit the performance of the Indian FTR750, and increase the scope of tuning for teams using road bike-based engines - primarily Yamaha at the moment.
And looking at the winners of the two races, Briar Bauman at Volusia, Jared Mees (above) at Saturday's Texas Half-Mile, it could be assumed that nothing much has changed, but that would be wrong. It was always going to be the case the 'Wrecking Crew's' bikes were always going to adapt to the changes better. They have bigger budgets, more experience, and better resources than any of the privateers, plus a direct line to the engine's designers and developers. They were going to dyno the bikes, with their new intake restrictors, until they minimised the effect of the strangled intakes. Privateers just don't have the budget to do as much development.
Conversely, the well-funded Estenson Yamaha team has, it seems from the outside, the budget to push at the boundaries of what they are now allowed to do to their bikes to compete. And so, from a possible six podiums place, we have seen two Indians, three Yamahas and one Harley.
The results of the Volusia race could be explained away. The track and weather conditions were strange, but the second race was a truer representation of where teams might stand. If AFT wanted to see other manufacturers compete, then they got it. At Saturday's Texas Half-Mile the top three, Mees, Beach, Daniels where within 0.8s of each other at the flag. Briar Bauman was in the hunt in the early laps, but in something of a no man's land by the time the checkers were waved, 5.6s back, with a similar gap between him and Vanderkooi in fifth. Still, Bauman leads the title race by 1pt from Mees, with Beach and Daniels next. Fans are already wondering how long until Dallas Daniels (above) is going to win his first Twins title. Harley rider Bronson Bauman was 2nd at Volusia, 8th at Texas, ahead of the five FTRs. Sideburn contributor, Ed Subias, was at Volusia and said he thought that Bronson Bauman's Latus SuperTwin Harley XG750R sounded like it had an altered firing order, compared to the Production Twins Harleys.
Another change for the 2022 SuperTwins class is the chance for the top four Production Twins finishers to transfer to the SuperTwins main. Some riders are taking up the opportunity, but Texas winner Cory Texter did not. Two-time, and reigning, AFT champ Texter has announced this is his last season as an AFT racer. He'll want to go out with another title, and racing in a SuperTwins main isn't going to help that aim.
Other riders, Nick Armstrong, Jesse Janisch, Kolby Carlile, Ben Lowe and Dan Bromley are all taking the opportunity to race in the SuperTwins main, after finishing in the transfer positions in the first main event of the evening, and they are all taking SuperTwins/Indian FTR750 scalps.
Janisch was 7th at Volusia, Bromley right behind him. Texas was tougher for the Production Twins, with Ben Lowe top of the Proddie riders, in 10th.
The big SuperTwins loser so far, disappointingly, is Shayna Texter-Bauman, who has finished 13th and 16th, from 16 riders. I hope she clicks with the bike soon.