It's time to share the full entry list for the SuperTwins class for the opening round of the 2020 AFT season. 2020 is different for the elite class of American Flat Track, because the entry is limited to 18 riders and all, barring an injury or bike failure on race day, will make the main.
After one round of practice and two rounds of timed qualifying, the riders are split into two semis based on their combined qualifying lap times. The results from the two semis will be used to set the grid order for the 18 rider main.
The initial launch of SuperTwins explained there would be 14 permanent riders and up to four wild cards at each race. Now there are 16 permanent riders meaning there is, we understand, only room for two wild cards at each round, so it's going to be tricky for a wild card rider to get a berth in the class this season. This lack of opportunity for new blood to impress was one of the concerns raised at the time AFT released the new class details.
The class certainly isn't lacking new faces in 2020, and the list of new full-time SuperTwins riders is impressive: 2019 AFT Singles champ Dalton Gauthier; 2018 AFT Singles champ Dan Bromley and 2017 AFT Singles champ Kolby Carlile. Carlile raced a handful of Twins races last season, at rounds the AFT Production Twins weren't competing, with a best finish of 10th at the Peoria TT. He was third in the 2019 AFT Production Twins class in a season affected by injury. Additionally, JD Beach has committed to a full season of flat track for the first time in his pro career. Last year he split his time between AFT and MotoAmerica Superbike racing. Beach had two AFT Twins victories in 2019.
The two wild cards for Volusia are #11 Luker and #72 Pegram. All wild card riders must be experienced pro racers. Pegram was 16th in the 2020 standings, competing in half the races and scoring points with a best finish of 5th at the Texas Half-Mile. Luker was a less impressive 12th overall in 2019 Production Twins class. The last time he scored points in the elite Twins class was the first round of 2017, finishing 9th at the Daytona TT. Confusingly, Luker is also on the AFT Singles entry list, and it's our understanding riders can't race both classes. We've contacted AFT for clarification. UPDATE: Luker is racing both classes.
Jake Johnson had made it public he was going to race as a wild card in 2020, and had entered the Daytona TT, but the former champ isn't on the entry list for Volusia.
There are many questions about the future and financial health of all pro sports since the Coronavirus outbreak, but if the economy recovers to some extent and AFT continues its growth how will new riders ever break into the SuperTwins class? Will a rider have to win Production Twins or Singles the season before to be considered? And if so, do the bottom two scorers get relegated. American sport seems to avoid relegation.
Or will bringing private sponsorship money to a team make a big difference, like it does in other motorsports? In SuperTwins the team holds the spot and enters a rider to compete for them, so it'll come down to them to employ the riders they wish to run, but AFT isn't at the stage of MotoGP or F1. Riders like Jeffrey Carver are running their own teams, not a team like Ferrari who hires and fires riders on merit. We will wait and watch.
Volusia SuperTwins entry list
1 Briar Bauman - Indian FTR750
4 Bryan Smith - Harley-Davidson XG750R
9 Jared Mees - Indian FTR750
11 Andrew Luker - Indian FTR750
12 Jay Maloney - Indian FTR750
20 Jarod Vanderkooi - Harley-Davidson XG750R
23 Jeffrey Carver Jr. - Indian FTR750
27 Robert Pearson - Indian FTR750
36 Kolby Carlile - Yamaha MT-07
37 Bronson Bauman - Indian FTR750
44 Brandon Robinson - Indian FTR750
62 Dan Bromley - Indian FTR750
67 Davis Fisher - Indian FTR750
69 Sammy Halbert - Indian FTR750
72 Larry Pegram - Indian FTR750
79 Dalton Gauthier - Harley-Davidson XG750R
92 Brandon Price - Indian FTR750
95 JD Beach - Yamaha MT-07
The season starts at Volusia on Friday. Click this link to find out how to watch AFT 2020.
Photo: Scott Hunter/AFT