After a seven-week break, the 2021 American Flat Track season resumes this weekend with the Atlanta Super TT. The track is part-asphalt, part-dirt, like the Daytona TT from previous seasons, and formed on the Atlanta Speedway NASCAR track. I’ve never been the biggest fan of TTs, but I think I’m in the minority of dirt track fans on that subject, and I must also admit this track layout isn’t doing much to win me over, but the sub-plots of this weekend are intriguing.
Dallas Daniels to Debut on a Twin
Teen sensation competed in his first full season of American Flat Track in 2020 and blitzed the Singles class, winning eight of 15 events (no one else one more than two last season). We reported on 6 December 2020, that AFT had changed the rules and weren't allowing riders to compete in two classes on the same day. There has been some kind of U-turn, because hat rule is no longer in the book. So Daniels can race the Estenson Yamaha 450 in Singles, and the twin in Production Twins.
This will be the first time ever the Production Twins class will compete on a TT. In previous years they've been off the roster of TT events. Watch out for Cory Texter and Gauthier, they both put in a lot of motocross laps in training.
Travis Pastrana to race AFT Singles
Arguably America’s most famous living motorcycle racer, Travis Pastrana, is racing as a wild card on a factory KTM 450, the same as those raced by Shayna Texter-Bauman and Max Whale.
There was a lot of discussion on our instagram with predictions about where Pastrana would finish. They ranged from not making the main to top ten. Only person, that I’ve seen, thought he had a realistic podium chance, but tempered the prediction with '... or crash trying'. Pastrana is a heck of a dirt bike racer, and stranger things have happened, but is he really going to go balls-out as a wild card with nothing to prove? I doubt it.
Ryan Sipes is also back for a TT outing, as a wild card, and he's won AFT TT previously. They're also up against king of TTs, Henry Wiles. Wiles raced the full season of AFT Singles in 2020, scored two wins (Indy Mile and Daytona Short Track), but there wasn't a TT on the 2020 schedule. There are two on the 2021 calendar, Atlanta and Peoria - the race he won 14 years straight, from 2004 - 2018 (he was injured and didn't compete in 2019).
For a change, the focus is on Yamaha. JD Beach's season got off to a flyer with a podium in Volusia, on the Estenson Yamaha that struggled throughout 2020. JD's skill is unquestionable, but he's up against Mees and Bauman, both TT heavyweights, who are both on better bikes. TT's can throw up unusual results, witness the Yamaha 1-2 at Buffalo Chip in 2019. Beach won another TT that year too, the Arizona Super TT. JD could leave Atlanta leading the championship.
Also, could James Rispoli's road racing skill come to the fore, in the tarmac braking zones, and give him enough to finally get a top class win for the Harley XG750R?
Gates will open for fans at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT with Opening Ceremonies set to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT. Live coverage of the entire weekend’s racing activities will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
The Yamaha Atlanta Super TT will air on NBCSN on Sunday, May 2, starting at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT. The broadcast will include exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage and the expert commentary of former Grand National Champion Brad Baker.
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.
Foreign fans can livestream using this link: http://www.americanflattrack.com/international-streaming