AFT American Flat Track Series
Round 1: Daytona TT at Daytona International Speedway
Story and Photos by Kurt Bauer/dirtbauer.com
DAYTONA BEACH, FL, MAR. 16, 2017
Motorcycles starting racing in Daytona on the beach back in 1937. Indian won the inaugural event. The last time Indian won at Daytona was 1958, with Floyd Emde at the helm. When his son Don won the Daytona 200 in 1972, the two became the only father and son to have won America’s most prestigious race.
The AMA kicked off this year’s event under the new “American Flat Track” banner with a TT track set up inside the Speedway, with a clay base set up underneath the Supercross track. After the Supercross event concluded, they went to work to finish the track for the inaugural Daytona TT.
The heat races started with the Twins, and the first two races saw crashes in the tight chicane leading to the speed bump.
First up was Jake Johnson and his teammate Kenny Coolbeth Jr., stacking it up in heat one.
The second heat saw Brad Baker go down hard. He had to make a trip to the hospital due to some injuries.
Here are some photographic highlights from the Daytona TT…
Welcome to Daytona International Speedway, home of the inaugural Daytona TT!
Ashton Yates (201) pulls the perfect wheelie holeshot for the lead in a Singles heat race. He finished in second place, with Ferran Cardus taking the heat win.
Rob Pearson (27) tried to avoid a heat-race crash involving Andrew Luker (110), Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (2, who is going over the bars) and Jake Johnson (5).
In the second Twins heat, Brad “The Bullet” Baker (6) crashed in the tight chicane before the “Speed Bump” of a jump.
Scott Baker checks on his brother Brad Baker after Brad’s heat-race crash.
Jared Vanderkooi (20) sets up the tight right-hand turn before the “Speed Bump.”
Dalton Gauthier (22) tucks in and leads Wyatt “Wheelie” Anderson (120) down the long back stretch.
Dalton Gauthier (22) and Wyatt Anderson (120) in the Singles main event.
Singles winner Dalton Gauthier (22).
On the Singles podium, winner Dalton Gauthier (second from right) was flanked by runner-up Wyatt Anderson (left), Tim Estenson (center) and his daughter Sami (second from left), and third-place finisher Kolby Carlile (right).
Jared Mees (9) leads Jarod Vanderkooi (20) in a Twins heat race. Vanderkooi would run second in the main, keeping Mees in his sights before retiring with a mechanical issue with four laps to go.
Donald Mullen won the third Twins heat race.
Peoria TT master Henry Wiles (17) finished third in the Twins main on this very unique TT track at Daytona. With a really long straightaway and paperclip-tight turns, this track was nothing like what “Hammerin’ Hank” dominates on at Peoria – and they are now riding twin-cylinder bikes.
Mile expert Bryan Smith (1) did well at Daytona, finishing second in the Twins main on his new Indian ride after doing well on Kawasakis for years, winning the 2016 championship. Smith was able to get his Indian slowed down for the tight turn after the Mile-like straightaway.
Jared Mees (9) wheelies the Indian Scout FTR 750 to victory!
Winner Jared Mees (second from right), runner-up Bryan Smith (second from left) and third-place finisher Henry Wiles (right) comprised the Twins podium.
[For more from this event, including race coverage, results and more photos, please see “Mees Wins Daytona TT in AFT Opener” and “The Daytona TT, Take Two” and “Mees, Gauthier Victorious at Inaugural Daytona TT!”… Editor]