Sammy Sabedra is a Sideburn contributor, podcaster, pro flat track mechanic and dirt track über-nerd. These are his 2021 AFT SuperTwins season prediction.
2020 season ranking: 1st
Heading into 2021 with two championships, under his belt, all eyes will be on Briar Bauman. Aside from his two titles, if you were to have kept track of Briar's growth as a rider over the past few seasons his graph line would be rocketing off the top of the chart right now. It’s almost hard to comprehend, but we may not have seen the best of Briar yet. Back that up with the added confidence of the original 2019 championship crew of David Zanotti and Michele Disalvo reforming to spin the wrenches after DiSalvo took a break from the team in 2020. This amazing trio back with a full factory effort, you would be hard pressed to bet against Briar this coming season. I pick Briar to three-peat in 2021
2020 season ranking 2nd
If there is one rider that can take the title away from Briar, no doubt it has to be Mees. It’s no secret Jared has set the standard for hard work and determination among the AFT paddock but in 2021 that bar may be raised. Especially after giving up the title two years in a row. Look for Mees to ride with a vengeance this season. Keep an eye out for big moments from Mees when it’s all on the line, and especially in the closing laps.
2021 prediction: 2nd
2020 season ranking 3rd
Back again on an Indian for 2021, Sammy Halbert is looking for big things coming into the season. After wining arguably the biggest race of the year in 2021 - The Springfield Mile, don’t be surprised to see Sammy on top of the box more than once this year.
I predict Sammy will definitely be in the mix but may lack the number of wins the top two will tally up by season's end.
2021 prediction: 3rd
2020 season ranking 4th
Robinson ended the 2020 season with back-to-back wins (although they came after the title had been sewn up by Briar) meaning he comes in to 2021 with momentum. He has proven he is more than capable on the half-mile clay tracks and in past years has put it on the box at both Springfield and Sacramento miles. Unfortunately Robinson has been riddled with injuries year after year and this is the only reason I have him this far down the list. Let’s hope, he can stay healthy and work his way up this list a bit.
2021 prediction: 4th
2020 season ranking 5th
Bronson will have a lot to prove after parting ways with the factory Indian team before the start of the 2021 season, but without the level of factory support he is used to and running his own program, I look for this to be a building year Bronson.
2021 prediction: 7th
2020 season ranking 6th
This will be Price's third year in the premier twins class. Each year he has shown steady progress and flashes of brilliance. 2021 could be the year we see Price earn his first AFT victory. I predict 2021 prediction: 6th
2020 season ranking 7th
One of the most naturally talented riders on the circuit is without a ride as the season kicks off in Florida. I expected a bit more out of Carver last year. However, at the time this writing, Carver looks like he will not be competing full time in 2021. My prediction is, Carver to throw a monkey wrench in the finishing order at the races he contests and may mix the points up a bit.
2020 season ranking 8th
2021 will be an important year for Fisher if he wants to establish himself as one of the elite. This year the Oregon rider will be back with the team that brought him his first AFT podium in 2019 and that has to make him feel good. He has shown he can go as fast as anyone with things are right, but if he wants to improve his ranking this season, he will have to dig deep. I predict Fisher will end the season ranked right where he finished 2020, 8th
2020 season ranking 9th
It’s been an uphill battle for Vanderkooi since becoming an AFT Twins rider. However, that may not be the case any longer. Vanderkooi will now enter the series on what many would consider and even playing field aboard the potent Indian FTR750, and may be the rider that makes the biggest jump up the points ladder by season end.
2021 prediction: 5th
2020 season ranking 10th
After switching teams midway through last season, Pearson had some very impressive rides. Most notably at the Devils Bowl Speedway last summer. After a race-long duel that ended up with Pearson getting the better of Jared Mees to earn a second place finish. That battle may have earned Pearson a career best finish, however it will take a lot more than a couple of stellar rides to crack the top 10 in 2021. I predict Pearson will be end the 2021 season ranked outside the top 10.
2020 season ranking 14th
It’s a shame to have a rider of JD's calibre is this far down the list. If the Estenson team can keep their Yamaha MT-07’s in top running order this year Beach could break into the top 10. He earned his first AFT win back in 2019 at the Arizona TT and there are two TTs on the calendar this season. The twisty courses tend to suit his style and road racing background well.
2021 prediction: 9th
2020 Productions Twins Champion
If Rispoli’s 2020 performance was any indication of his talents he has the potential to be an upset at just about any national.
2021 prediction: 10th.
So what about the rest?
Well at the time of writing, 2020 SuperTwins riders, Dalton Gauthier and Dan Bromley have made the switch to Production Twins. Jake Johnson is out with no official word of retirement. Jay Maloney will now be spinning the wrenches on his old motorcycles for Jarod Vanderkooi. The other full time twins rider that will still be around this coming season would be former singles champ Kolby Carlile. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see some solid rides from Kolby as long as he can kept clear of last years DNF’s. Combine that with the help of some new rules that allow the Yamaha to be more competitive and we may see the former champ giving a few veterans of the series a hard time. Talking of elder statesmen, the Worm, Larry Pegram will make several cameo appearances in 2021. Larry likes to the fun ones. Oh and what about former national champion Bryan Smith, the mile master? Well, Smith has teamed up with long-time partner and master fabricator Ricky Howerton. The duo will concentrate their efforts on their strong points and compete only at the miles. Expect Smith to come in with a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove with what could potentially be the trickest Indian FTR750 in the field.
Sammy Sabedra's Top 10 predictions
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All photos courtesy of American Flat Track