So, the schedule caught up with me and I couldn't follow every race live. I missed the SacMile, but watched the Peoria TT after racing myself the same day, so I was just observing, not making notes. Briar was on it at Peoria, and the king of that track, Henry Wiles, was out injured. Such has been Wiles domination that no other current Twins rider had ever won at the track.
Then it was onto the rescheduled Springfield. Friday night was Singles Short Track night, and, again, after an early start I was too tired to stay up for the Singles. Dalton Gauthier won, Dan Bromley was second. KTM rider Bromley hasn't won a race all year, but is keeping the pressure on to retain his 1 plate (if he doesn't move into Twins on a KTM - fingers crossed). The bespectacled Bromley is the only Singles rider to score in each of the 15 rounds so far this year. That is some record in that class. He has scored 8 podiums and is just 5pts behind Gauthier who has three wins. Dallas Daniels was third at Springfield, backing up his Peoria win and proving the hype was justified. This 16 year old turned pro mid-season, has entered six rounds so far and made the main in all of them.
The production twins and premier/elite twins raced the Mile, of course.
AFT Production Twins
34 pre-entries, but only 30 starters. After practice and qualifying there were two 15 riders heats to progress to two 15 riders semis. So the heat races didn't nothing but set the grid for the semis.
Cody Johncox and Gauthier won their semis, with Kolby Carlile finally fulfilling his potential on the Estenson Yam, coming second behind Gauthier after a red flag and restart.
I try not to judge a book by its cover, but Johncox is my new favourite, because he does not fit the stereotypical look and build of a pro flat tracker. He looks like a young Jack Black. Vive la difference.
I finally had it explained that the black on yellow plates are Singles riders doing 'double duty'. While white on black plates are Production Twins who can race in the elite Twins class on weekends when the Production Twins aren't racing (like Kayl Kolkman does at the TT rounds).
Gauthier has such a lead in his semi that he admitted he was trying experimental lines for the main.
The 17-riders main had 4 Yamaha, 2 Harley and 11 Kawasakis.
Johncox qualified on pole but got a stinking start in the main and was gobbled up.
The form of early season favourite Cory Texter has dipped alarmingly. He had a second row start and could only make 9th in the main.
Mischler's bike failed on the sighting lap putting him out of the main.
Carlile took the early lead, then JR Addison, before Gauthier took control.
Ryan Varnes was rueing his DNF at the SacMile because his 4th at Springfield meant he chewed some points out of Texter's lead. Texter 133pt Varnes 111
Gauthier #122: Two days, two nationals, two wins. If he isn't in Elite Twins next year it's because someone is paying him to win them a championship (KTM in singles or Harley in Production Twins).
Carlile came in second, a good result in a season blighted by injury. Chad Cose was third. The race behind Gauthier was another good one.
27 entries, but 26 starters, not Eslick. The strongest entry of the year. Hypothetically, if every Production Twins racer competed in the Twins class there would have been 61 entries and 56 trying to make the main, but that's hypothetical.
Sammy Halbert won his heat race on the Harley, beating Briar Bauman. It's strongest showing for sometime. He couldn't back it up on the main, once the track conditions had changed.
Halbert's best lap in his winning heat was 0:34.885. His best lap in the main was 0:36.266. The best lap of the main was by Jeffrey Carver, 0:35.727. So the XG can put in a blistering lap, but only when the track suits it. It can't seem to get the same traction as the Indian when the track changes.
Davis Fisher is in a good vein of form since his Mees-avoiding crash at the Black Hills HM. The young Oregon rider was third at the SacMile and second in his semi here, behind Robinson and ahead of Carver.
Briar Bauman's bike blew on lap 3 of the same 10-lap semi, flames spitting from the exhaust as he rolled to a stop.
Mees smoked everyone in his semi. Part-time series participant Stephen Vanderkuur was second, Bronson third.
Riders only had the choice of one compound of Dunlop, the mid-compound, number 8, according to Brad Baker.
Baker's insight is pure gold.
Briar used his provisional to get in the Main, starting on his own, on the fourth row.
By the end of lap 1 Briar was 7th. A lap later he was 5th.
Meanwhile, Mees was off the front with Carver as his shadow.
Ronnie Jones made the main, but his bike blew on lap 12. His was the only Yam in the main. Jake Johnson didn't make it through.
Johnny Lewis made his riding comeback, but didn't make the main
Bryan Smith looked nearly back to his old self, but the good shop Mees-Carver had sailed. Behind was a great battle with the Baumen, Smith, Vanderkuur and Robinson.
Robinson FTR750 had an evil speed wobble down the straights. The rider could hold onto the pack, but couldn't make a move.
As the race wore on more joined the pack. By the flag less than 1s covered 3rd to 9th.
Carver passed Mees on lap 11. The crowd went wild. Mees shadowed then passed back.
The final two laps were wild - JM and JC passing back and forth. Carver led into turn 3 on the last lap, but ran wide allowing JM to pass on the inside for the win.
Briar won the battle royale behind, calling it 'a warzone'. From 17th on the grid, he came 3rd.
Smith came 5th, backing up his 5th at the SacMile.
Top H-D was Vanderkooi 10. Halbert was 14th.
The main was made up of 1 Kawasaki; 2 H-D; 1 Yam; 13 Indians.
Points: Briar 260, Jared 230, Bronson 198.
The next race was supposed to be today, but was postponed due to overnight rain. It's now Monday 2 September (a public holiday in the US).