I set the alarm to watch the AFT Atlanta SuperTT semis and Mains and this is what I thought...
Dallas Daniels is the Marc Marquez of dirt track
The teenager won the 2020 AFT Singles title by a M-I-L-E, in his first full season. On Saturday night he jumped on a twin, his first ever AFT Twins race, got the holeshot. Red flag, got the holeshot, and won by a M-I-L-E. He had what looked like ten bike lengths by the time he hit the 'jump' for the first time. I know TTs are different, and the first corner was a hell of a pinch point, so it was always going to benefit the first rider through, but still, he blew a talented Production Twins class to smithereens.
Then, he went straight from the podium to the AFT Singles main and won that, flag to flag in an even more talented pack.
There was talk of the last rider to win two GNC classes in one day being Ricky Graham - who won Expert and the 883 class back in the day.
Yamaha had a great day
Three races, three wins, the brand's best ever performance. Daniels won his two races, and JD Beach lived up to our, and many other peoples', prediction, with a dominant win in AFT Twins. Not only that, his junior team-mate, Kolby Carlile, scored a SuperTwins best finish of fifth, and Mikey Rush, Dallas Daniels' experienced team-mate, was second in Singles. Beach also won the Mission Foods Dash, for the four fastest qualifiers, and $5000.
Tim Estenson is a massive supporter of the sport, this was the team's home race, and it was close to perfect. Who could begrudge him this great day? Not me.
Royal Enfield looked great right up to...
...the point they didn't, and it was nothing to do with the bike. Johnny Lewis won his semi, and the former factory KTM supermoto star looked comfortable on the TT, appearing to be odds-on for at least a podium, possibly challenging for the win, until he had an ugly highside exiting turn 1, lap 1 of the main. His helmet was a right-off, he was demoted to row 5 for the restart, but worked through the pack to finish fifth in the Production Twins class. Disappointing, compared to what could have been, but still impressive.
Jared Mees can usually ride through injuries, but not the knee complaint he turned up to the Georgia track with. He didn't practice on Friday and struggled all of race day. There was controversy and social media hubbub when it was realised his lap times were not within the 107% of the pole-sitter's time. AFT's rules clearly state a rider not qualifying within 107% of the pole time cannot take their place in main, but Mees did, and because there were only 15 riders, he earned a point. It's possible, but highly unlikely, that a single point will have any effect on the end of season standings, but whoever is running the race day show at AFT needs ensure the rules are stuck to or risk losing credibility.
TTs Throw Up Strange Results
Spaniard Ferran Cardus was third in the Singles, using a radical kneedown technique to score his first AFT podium. Cardus must have worked hard to get permission to even travel to the US. Will he score another podium, on an oval? His friend and sponsor Brad Baker thinks so.
Pastrana Proved the Doubters Wrong
Not many of Sideburn's followers, who commented on our instagram feed, thought he'd make the main, but he did, and finished 9th, one behind fellow wild card Ryan Sipes, and three places behind young gun, Kody Kopp who put down a marker for the future with a solid sixth.
Kolkman Nearly Had a Dream Return
Californian Kayl Kolkman sat out the whole of the 2020 AFT season, while still racing in California, and was in Production Twins podium contention until the dying stages of the race, when Dan Bromley sniffed a gap and took third place, Kayl was fourth at the line.
Can We Talk About The Jump?
I'm not sure what the track builders were thinking, or what they'd been instructed, but it wasn't a great advert for the sport. Pro racers could hit a jump like that at 140mph on a superbike and be OK. What were they afraid of if they'd made a jump where bikes actually left the ground?
AFT have to make the track safe, we realise that, but that also have to make a spectacle, and not only was the jump not that, each race was won from flag-to-flag. It's hard to pinpoint what could change with the track to alter that. I've never been a big fan of TTs and nothing about that track changed my mind. It looked like lame supermoto, and was only interesting (to me, at least) because of the way results might affect the season-end standings.
1 Dallas Daniels
2. Mikey Rush
3. Ferran Cardus
1 Dallas Daniels
2 Dalton Gauthier
3 Dan Bromley
1 JD Beach
2 Jarod Vanderkooi
3 Briar Bauman
The next round is the Texas HM on 22 May.
Photos: Courtesy of AFT