Harley-Davidson Daytona TT, presented by Politis & Matovina
Daytona International Speedway
Courtesy of AFT American Flat Track
Photo by Brian J. Nelson/American Flat Track
DAYTONA BEACH, FL, MAR. 15, 2017
American Flat Track launches a highly anticipated new era of Pro Flat Track competition with Thursday’s Harley-Davidson Daytona TT, presented by Politis & Matovina, held on a six-tenths-mile track located inside the Daytona International Speedway tri-oval, incorporating a right-hand turn and jump.
The event debuts the premier AFT Twins class, featuring the renewal of the classic rivalry between two American heavyweights – Harley-Davidson vs. Indian Motorcycle. Harley-Davidson’s factory trio of Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Jake Johnson and Brandon Robinson will go up against Indian Motorcycle, making its return to major competition after a 64-year hiatus.
Indian Motorcycle will bring back memories of the famous Indian Motorcycle trio of Bobby Hill, Bill Tuman and Ernie Beckman with a revived “Wrecking Crew,” teaming contemporary AFT Grand National Champions. It marks the first time in four years that defending Grand National Champion Bryan Smith (on the number-one Allstate-backed Indian Motorcycle Racing Scout FTR750) and rival Jared Mees (on the number-nine Indian Motorcycle/ Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) will line up on similar machinery. Brad Baker, the 2013 Grand National Champion, (on the number-six Allstate-backed Indian Motorcycle Racing Scout FTR750) completes the team.
Harley-Davidson will be taking on its historic rival with a new bike – the XG750R. Johnson (on the number-five Harley-Davidson Factory Team mount) and Coolbeth (on the number-two Harley-Davidson Factory Team mount) are both former Grand National Champions and Daytona Short Track winners, while Robinson (on the number-44 Harley-Davidson Factory Team machine) will be looking to build on the momentum that saw him finish third in the 2016 GNC points standings.
While the factory teams are in the spotlight, Henry Wiles is the rider to watch at Daytona, based on the strength of his AFT-leading 17 career TT victories – including a streak of 12 consecutive triumphs at the prestigious Peoria TT. Wiles will be aboard the number-17 Kawasaki Ninja 650. Wiles won at the Daytona Short Track in 2009 en route to winning his first of two consecutive GNC Singles titles.
Other riders to watch include four-time Daytona winner Sammy Halbert (on the number-69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07) and 2016 GNC2 Champion (now AFT Singles rider) Ryan Wells (on the number-94 BriggsAuto.com Kawasaki Ninja 650).
With Wells stepping up to AFT Twins, 2016 GNC2 runner-up Dalton Gauthier (on the number-22 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) will be looking to take home the crown in the all-new AFT Singles class in 2017. Tristan Avery (on the number-16 Ron Ayers Honda CRF450R) and Kolby Carlile (on the number-36 K.C. Cycle Honda CRF450R), a couple of other riders who were in the mix in 2016, are also looking for their first professional title. Daytona Beach-based Richie Morris Racing will field the senior female rider of the circuit, Shayna Texter, who is now focusing on the AFT Singles class, on the number-52 McElroy Packaging/ Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda. Texter also won a non-points-paying race last weekend in Savannah, Georgia.
Bringing some international flavor to the AFT Singles class is 2016 Spanish Flat Track Champion Ferran Cardus (on the number-377 Öhlins/ Neumaticos Hermanos Rojas/ Moto Grau Honda CRF450R) and runner-up Franc Serra (on the number-318 Honda Alonso Racing Team/ Bell Helmets Honda CRF450R). The Spaniards will make their debut in the American Flat Track Series under the lights in Daytona as a reward for their results in the inaugural season of the RFME Copa de Flat Track Championship last year.
Also making the trek across the pond is British Flat Track racer Oliver Brindley, on the number-124 Kawasaki UK KX450F.
The season opener will host a variety of entertainment spectacles, including the luxurious Ace Café Fan Zone, with vintage and modern motorcycle displays, and live music from the new-age honky-tonk band Giddy Up Go.
Motorcycle-racing legend Jay Springsteen will headline American Flat Track’s inaugural Daytona event as grand marshal, while 1993 fan-favorite Grand Prix World Champion Kevin Schwantz will present the winner’s trophy for the AFT Twins class.
All of the racing action will begin with the AFT Twins and AFT Singles practice sessions at 2 p.m. ET/ 11 a.m. PT. The opening ceremonies will commence at 6 p.m. ET/ 3 p.m. PT.
Live coverage of the Harley-Davidson Daytona TT, presented by Politis & Matovina, can be viewed on FansChoice.tv. Tickets for the Daytona TT are now on sale and can be purchased at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
Fans can also keep up to date with race-day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).
How to Watch
NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track events. All 18 rounds, from the season-opening Daytona TT to the American Flat Track Finals in Southern California, will air in one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts on Thursday nights throughout the summer and fall on NBCSN, while FansChoice.tv provides live-streaming coverage of American Flat Track events. FansChoice.tv also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series. Catch all the action at http://www.nbcsports.com/ and http://www.FansChoice.tv.
About American Flat Track
American Flat Track is the world’s premier dirt-track motorcycle-racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Florida, the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt-track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on American Flat Track, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, live-stream the events at FansChoice.tv and catch all the American Flat Track racing action on NBCSN.