There have been movements throughout the AFT paddock, with the big teams in Singles, Turner Honda and Estenson Yamaha, changing their personnel (read the AFT Singles Shake-Up post). Now it's the Production Twins' turn for a bit of the spotlight.
Cory Texter assuredly regained his #1 plate in 2021, and confirmed that he would remain with the G&G Racing Yamaha team that he has won two Production Twins titles with, coming second in the other. He was the class of the division last year, and had it all his own way, especially when challenger Dalton Gauthier picked up an injury mid-season. Texter won seven of the 16 races. The next closest in the win stakes was Dallas Daniels with three first places, despite only competing four rounds, two of which he did double duty at, racing both Singles and Production Twins. Daniels is in the SuperTwins class on an Estenson Yamaha for 2022.
Now the shake-up. First Vance & Hines announced that Jesse Janisch (above) will race their Harley XG750 in Production Twins. The Wisconsin rider stood in for the injured Gauthier at the final six rounds, scoring one win, two seconds and a third. Vance and Hines also said that Brandon Kitchen will ride a Husqvarna 450 for them in the Singles class.
We've written a lot of the rules changes, and the plan to combine AFT's two twins classes for 2023, and felt a lot of it was aimed at beckoning KTM into the twins classes. It worked. Wally Brown Racing, a team with a lot of four-wheeled experience, who have been running a Suzuki in Singles for a couple of seasons, announced they were running KTMs in Production Twins but didn't confirm a rider until this week, when they shared the news that 2020 AFT Production Twins champ, James Rispoli, will ride, and develop, the Duke 890-based racer. Rispoli won the 2020 title on a Harley, then moved into the SuperTwins class for '21 where he had a dismal season on the Milwaukee Twin with the Latus Motors team.
The KTM will have more power, and electronic riders aids, if required, at its disposal, but, as we all know, power alone isn't enough to regularly win dirt track races. Some readers have already told us that they think it's Rispoli's title to lose. We don't see it like that. We feel it'll be more of a research and development season for the combined twins class of 2023. That's not to say Rispoli can't win races this year. He definitely should be able to.
We have also been told that Cameron Smith will be back, full-time for 2022. Smith scored a podium and win, only for the triumph to be stripped when he subsequently failed a drug test.
Production Twins has become a class for wiley old(er) stagers, and the depth of the field has got a little stronger for 2022 with the full-time additions of Janisch and Rispoli, joining the likes of Johnny Lewis, Dan Bromley, and others, yet to be 100% confirmed.