Saddlemen

Mees and Gauthier Repeat at the Next Inaugural Event

| 4 April 2017 3:33 pm

AFT American Flat Track Series
Round 2: Atlanta Short Track presented by Indian Motorcycles at Dixie Speedway

Story and Photos by Kurt Bauer/dirtbauer.com and Kevin Krout
WOODSTOCK, GA, MAR. 25, 2107

Following its opening round, the Daytona TT, the American Flat Track Series ventured north for a short-track shootout in Woodstock, Georgia, located northeast of Atlanta.

Dixie Speedway was a great track with red Georgia clay, making for excellent traction. Photo by Kevin Krout

Dixie Speedway was a great track with red Georgia clay, making for excellent traction. Photo by Kevin Krout

The inaugural AFT race in Woodstock, Georgia, had a large crowd in attendance. Not surprisingly, many fans arrived by motorcycle. Photo by Kevin Krout

The inaugural AFT race in Woodstock, Georgia, had a large crowd in attendance. Not surprisingly, many fans arrived by motorcycle. Photo by Kevin Krout

Welcome to Dixie Speedway! Photo by Kurt Bauer

Welcome to Dixie Speedway! Photo by Kurt Bauer

Photojournalist Kurt Bauer of Today’s Cycle Coverage enjoying the race. Photo by Kevin Krout

Photojournalist Kurt Bauer of Today’s Cycle Coverage enjoying the race. Photo by Kevin Krout

Built in 1968, Dixie Speedway is a nice facility with a D-shaped three-eighths-mile course comprised of some hard-packed Georgia red clay. It didn’t take long before some fast laps were turned in practice. After a win in the Singles class at Daytona, Dalton “Go Time” Gauthier was on the gas in Georgia, with a qualifying time that was a tick faster than the Twins, at 18.6 seconds.

The Super Hooligans were in the house. Photo by Kurt Bauer

The Super Hooligans were in the house. Photo by Kurt Bauer

The Super Hooligans get ready to go out for a run. Photo by Kevin Krout

The Super Hooligans get ready to go out for a run. Photo by Kevin Krout

Super Hooligans rider Trevor Monn (67) crashes into the air fence. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Super Hooligans rider Trevor Monn (67) crashes into the air fence. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Dave Aldana and Scott Russell – a.k.a. “Mr. Daytona.” Photo by Kurt Bauer

Dave Aldana and Scott Russell – a.k.a. “Mr. Daytona.” Photo by Kevin Krout

After some delays at Daytona the week prior, the AFT officials were determined to run this event on schedule – especially with storms looming to the west. The practice and qualifying sessions were knocked out early, and the races started right on time under sunny skies, with a big crowd surrounding the track and the grandstands nearly full and nowhere left to park.

Jared Mees (9) in Twins qualifying. Photo by Kevin Krout

Jared Mees (9) in Twins qualifying. Photo by Kevin Krout

In the Twins class, the first heat race saw last weekend’s winner, Jared Mees, taking the win, ahead of Kawasaki jockeys Jake Mataya and Davis Fisher.

Jared Mees (9) won the first Twins heat race. Photo by Kevin Krout

Jared Mees (9) won the first Twins heat race. Photo by Kevin Krout

Heat two had the second-fastest qualifier, Harley Davidson rider Briar Bauman, beating out Jarod Vanderkooi and Jake Shoemaker, on Kawasaki 650s.

The third Twins heat saw “Slammin’ Sammy” Halbert take the win, finishing ahead of the Indian ridden by last year’s champ, Bryan Smith. Halbert proved the Harley could beat the Indian; perhaps he would be the one who could just maybe take the win away from the strong Indians.

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As the Singles hit the track, it was evident that the yellow Yamaha and Gauthier were hooked up on the red Georgia clay. After a bad start, Gauthier got around Kyle Johnson and Wyatt Anderson and then went on to take the win in the first Singles heat race.

The Singles would have four heat races, with Kevin “The Freak of Nature” Stollings, Brandon Price, and Jordan Price taking the wins.

After finishing in second place in her heat, Shayna Texter then raced to the first semi win.

Singles racer Shayna Texter (52) won her semifinal. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Singles racer Shayna Texter (52) won her semifinal. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Gauthier easily won the other semi.

The scoring is different for transferring to the main, which is why the heat winners were in the semis. [I know that doesn’t seem to make sense; I may have to read the rule book to figure it out… Author]

After the semis and the last-chance qualifier had been run, it was time for the main events. After a quick lap by the water truck and multiple laps by some old trucks, the track was ready, and dust was never an issue with the red clay. The rains would hold off until well after the large crowds had left for home.

As the 18 Singles 450cc riders lined up for their introductions, they smiled for the NBC Sports cameras and the fans in the full grandstands.

Dalton “Go Time” Gauthier took off in to the early lead.

Yamaha rider Dalton Gauthier (22) took the early lead in the Singles main – and kept it. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Yamaha rider Dalton Gauthier (22) took the early lead in the Singles main – and kept it. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Crowd favorite Shayna Texter had a bad start and dropped as far back as 10th before making some passes and moving into sixth before a red flag halted the action with three laps remaining.

On the restart, Texter charged past three riders to capture the final podium position.

Shayna Texter (52) finished third in the AFT Singles main. Photo by Kevin Krout

Shayna Texter (52) finished third in the AFT Singles main. Photo by Kevin Krout

Gauthier would be unchallenged, as he opened up a large lead after one lap. Kevin Stollings rebounded after his Daytona performance and finished second, despite a near disaster when Brandon Price crashed in turn one, bringing out the red flag with three laps to go. Stollings had a spectacular save in the air fence and injured his finger in the process, but he stayed on the gas for the podium finish.

A happy Dalton Gauthier was the AFT Singles winner. Photo by Kevin Krout

A happy Dalton Gauthier was the AFT Singles winner. Photo by Kevin Krout

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At the start of the Twins main event, comprising the front row were (from left to right) Brad Baker (6), Briar Bauman (14), Bryan Smith (1), Sammy Halbert (69) and Jared Mees (9). Photo by Kurt Bauer

At the start of the Twins main event, comprising the front row were (from left to right) Brad Baker (6), Briar Bauman (14), Bryan Smith (1), Sammy Halbert (69) and Jared Mees (9). Photo by Kurt Bauer

Next up was the Twins main, featuring the likes of Brad Baker, Briar Bauman, Jarod Vanderkooi, Bryan Smith, Sammy Halbert and Jared Mees, with plenty of very capable potential winners behind them, all ready for the 25-lap final race.

Halbert and Mees jumped out to the early lead, with Halbert leading the way but Mees not far behind.

“Slammin’ Sammy” Halbert (69) leading the Twins main. Photo by Kurt Bauer

“Slammin’ Sammy” Halbert (69) leading the Twins main. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Jared Mees (9) and Sammy Halbert (69) exchanging the lead early in the Twins main. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Jared Mees (9) and Sammy Halbert (69) exchanging the lead early in the Twins main. Photo by Kurt Bauer

With about eight laps to go, Mees was closing in on Halbert, and with six laps to go he made his move. They passed each other back and forth; as one rider went low, the other cut back down to retake the lead. This only lasted one lap, as Halbert went high exiting turn four and Mees was low, and they came together, with Halbert getting the worst of it: He went done on the short straightaway, sliding along the clay surface, and he was probably glad he had leathers on and not some “cheesy” motocross pants. Halbert instantly jumped the concrete wall to avoid any more contact. They got his bike re-tweaked, and “Slammin’ Sammy” was ready to do battle again – but there were only five laps to go.

After the crash with Jared Mees (9), Sammy Halbert (69) had to start at the back of field of 18 on the restart. He would still pull out sixth at the end of the night. Photo by Kevin Krout

After the crash with Jared Mees (9), Sammy Halbert (69) had to start at the back of field of 18 on the restart. He would still pull out sixth at the end of the night. Photo by Kevin Krout

They lined up for a staggered restart, but by the time they managed this, a few of the bikes were starting to overheat, and the officials finally let the riders do a warm-up lap to cool down and dry up any antifreeze.

The restart on last few laps saw Jared Mees (9) leading Brad Baker (6) and the rest of the class. Photo by Kevin Krout

The restart on last few laps saw Jared Mees (9) leading Brad Baker (6) and the rest of the class. Photo by Kevin Krout

After a few warm-up laps to ensure the track was safe, the green light lit and Mees took the lead – and the win, ahead of teammates Brad “The Bullet” Baker and Bryan Smith, making it an all-Indian podium! Halbert put on a charge after the restart and used some adrenaline and anger to finish an impressive sixth on his Harley-Davidson.

Jared Mees (9) leads Bryan Smith (1) in Twins action. Smith would end up finishing third on the evening. Photo by Kevin Krout

Jared Mees (9) leads Bryan Smith (1) in Twins action. Smith would end up finishing third on the evening. Photo by Kevin Krout

Jared Mees (9) on his way to winning the Twins main after some tight racing with Sammy Halbert. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Jared Mees (9) on his way to winning the Twins main after some tight racing with Sammy Halbert. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Jared Mees took the checkers in the AFT Twins main. Photo by Kevin Krout

Jared Mees took the checkers in the AFT Twins main. Photo by Kevin Krout

After crashing out of the first round in Daytona, Brad Baker (6) bounced back with a second-place finish at Dixie. Photo by Kurt Bauer

After crashing out of the first round in Daytona, Brad Baker (6) bounced back with a second-place finish at Dixie. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Three-time Daytona 200 winner Danny Eslick (64) finished eighth in Woodstock. Photo by Kevin Krout

Three-time Daytona 200 winner Danny Eslick (64) finished eighth in Woodstock. Photo by Kevin Krout

It was an all-Indian Twins podium at round two. Photo by Kurt Bauer

It was an all-Indian Twins podium at round two. Photo by Kurt Bauer

Dixie Speedway
Woodstock, Georgia
Results: March 25, 2107 (Round 2)

AFT TWINS: 1. Jared Mees; 2. Brad Baker; 3. Bryan Smith; 4. Briar Bauman; 5. Jarod Vanderkooi; 6. Sammy Halbert; 7. Davis Fisher; 8. Danny Eslick; 9. Jake Mataya; 10. Brandon Robinson.

AFT SINGLES: 1. Dalton Gauthier; 2. Kevin Stollings; 3. Shayna Texter; 4. Cameron Smith; 5. Jamison Minor; 6. John Vanderlaan; 7. Colby Carlile; 8. Morgen Mischler; 9. Wyatt Anderson; 10. Jeremiah Lindberg.

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Category: Flat Track, National, Short Track

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