American Flat Track took another step towards emulating bikesports, like MotoGP, with an organised off-season tyre (OK, tire) test at the Volusia track in Florida. The test took place this week over two days, testing in daylight and night, to replicate evening races.
Not every racer was invited. This is the full list:
Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750)
Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian FTR750)
Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield Twins FT)
Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JCS Racing/HCRR Indian FTR750)
James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing/Fast Track Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R)
Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Roof Systems/Ben Evans Racing Indian FTR750)
Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Indian FTR750)
Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X)
JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT)
Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F)
Mikey Rush (No. 14 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F)
Shayna Texter (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE)
Cory Texter (No. 65 WBR/Suzuki of America RMZ450)
Kody Kopp (No. 143 Latus Motors Racing/Fast Track Racing Honda CRF450R)
The test was to find a medium compound alternative between the new Dunlop DT4's hard and soft options. The tread is the same for all three options, just the chemical make-up of the tyre differs.
Most interestingly, I thought, was seeing Vanderkooi appear in Roof Systems kit and put impressive times in on an Indian FTR750, following Harley's move to cease supporting a factory team. Both Gauthier and Production Twins champ, Rispoli rode Harleys. We fully expect Rispoli to be in SuperTwins on a Latus Harley next year. Vance & Hines were in attendance with Gauthier.
Dallas Daniels, 2020 AFT Singles champ, posted the fifth quickest time overall on his Estenson 450. The only other singles riders testing were Shayna Texter, rookie Cody Kopp (below) and Daniels' team-mate, Mikey Rush, with Production Twins rider Cory Texter standing in for Chad Cose to test the Wally Brown Racing Suzuki.
Briar Bauman, current number SuperTwins champ, was quickest overall at the end of the two days. JD Beach was second fastest, which just makes the dismal year the Estenson SuperTwins endured even harder to fathom. Brandon Robinson had the third quickest time overall, Rispoli fourth.
There's not a great deal to learn from a tyre test three months before the season starts, but it's given us something to talk about, and if there are three tyre choices at most races next year, it could add another factor in the mix to give riders on the periphery to get a result.