AFT Bound for the Sacramento Mile!

| 18 May 2017 3:52 pm

AFT American Flat Track Series
Round 5: Sacramento Mile at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds

Courtesy of American Flat Track
Photo by Tom Stein/American Flat Track

For its fifth round, the American Flat Track Series is approaching turn two on its dash around four Mile tracks in four weeks, beginning with the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile, presented by Cycle Gear, at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, California, this Saturday, May 20. Bryan Smith will be looking to score his seventh straight Sacramento Mile win. Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson’s Factory Flat Track Team is ready to fire back.

Get ready for the 2017 edition of the legendary Sacramento Mile!

Get ready for the 2017 edition of the legendary Sacramento Mile!

AFT Twins
Located in one of flat track’s traditional hotbeds, the Sacramento Mile is rich in Grand National Championship history and has been the site of many thrilling down-to-the-wire battles. The dominant force over the decades, Harley-Davidson, has claimed an impressive 39 victories out of the 51 races held since the event joined the series calendar in 1959.

This year, the decorated Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team – comprised of Jake Johnson, on the number-five Harley-Davidson XG750R; Kenny Coolbeth Jr., on the number-two Harley-Davidson XG750R; and Brandon Robinson, on the number-44 Harley-Davidson XG750R – heads to Sacramento poised for a comeback.

At the same time, Bryan Smith, pilot of the number-one Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750, returns to Sacramento justifiably confident and surrounded by something of an aura of invincibility. Yes, the reigning Grand National Champion recently took a share of the AFT Twins, presented by Vance & Hines, title lead, and yes, he’s riding a two-race win streak. But Smith’s recent sterling form barely hints at the full extent of his overwhelming status as the race favorite this weekend, when he’ll attempt to claim a seventh consecutive Sacramento Mile victory.

Smith, who earned his first Sacramento Mile victory in 2011 on the legendary Harley-Davidson XR750, has proved his mettle with success on multiple manufacturers’ marques over the years. If the Michigan native is victorious this weekend, he’ll set a Sacramento Mile record by claiming victories at Cal Expo on three different makes: a Harley-Davidson (2011), a Kawasaki (2012-2016), and an Indian Motorcycle.

Lesser riders might crumple under the weight of those expectations, but Smith embraces the opportunity.

“I wouldn’t call it pressure – every race I go to, I want to win,” he said. “I want to win all the Miles. I want to win all the damn races, let alone the Miles. So going there, it’s going to be cool if I can get the seventh win. I’ll be going for it just like it’s any other race.”

The primary threats to score the upset and snap Smith’s Sacramento streak are his fellow Indian Wrecking Crewmen, Jared Mees (on the number-nine Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) and Brad Baker (on the number-six Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750).

Mees retained a piece of the 2017 AFT Twins championship lead by upping his season-long string of podium performances to four with a third-place run last weekend at the Arizona Mile. Perhaps even more encouraging than his actual placement was the fact that he pushed both Smith and Baker to the checkered flag in the main event, displaying that he has the capacity to steal one of these upcoming Miles.

“We’re definitely going to Bryan’s hometown place,” Mees said. “That’s his race. I’m pretty excited to go to Sacramento. We’re dead even. I won the first two, he won the next two. It’s going to be fun.”

While some early misfortune cost him dearly in the points race, Baker makes it three factory Indian Motorcycle pilots inside the championship top five, in fifth. Despite some inconsistent results in 2017, Baker remains a rare talent, and his two recent runner-up finishes suggest that he’s on the verge of claiming a victory of his own aboard the Scout FTR750. Baker narrowly missed grabbing that win last weekend in Phoenix, and he will be motivated to get some payback in Sacramento.

Slotting in between the Indian Wrecking Crew in the title fight are third-ranked Sammy Halbert, on the number-69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07, and fourth-ranked Jarod Vanderkooi, on the number-20 Richie Morris Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650.

Halbert has not finished any lower than seventh yet this season, while teenager Vanderkooi is knocking on the door of his first career AFT Twins podium finish.

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AFT Singles
Shayna Texter, rider of the number-52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R, storms into the Sacramento Mile with the AFT Singles championship lead on the strength of her first race victory in years. Texter doesn’t expect to wait so long to claim another win, and the Sacramento Mile should play directly into her strengths as a rider.

Kolby Carlile, pilot of the number-36 Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda CRF450R, continues to hold down the runner-up position following yet another steady ride.

Brandon Price, on the number-92 DPC Racing/ Don’s Kawasaki KX450F, is on the rise in third, with two podium finishes, including a win, in his last two outings.

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Exclusive Entertainment
In addition to the racing, the opening ceremonies for the Sacramento Mile will be action-packed. Legend Kenny Roberts and Kenny Roberts Jr. will be on hand as the grand marshals of the event. The pair are the only father-and-son duo to win premier Grand Prix World Championships and be inducted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame.

Also making a special appearance is a legendary machine – the infamous Yamaha TZ750. The legend of the TZ750 was spurred by Roberts Sr.’s epic win at the 1975 Indy Mile. A&A Racing’s Ray Abrams, a longtime supporter of Roberts Sr. and instrumental in the TZ750 project, will be on hand with his famous motorcycle. Joe Kopp, the 2000 Grand National Champion, will mount the beast to show off the raw power of one of flat-track racing’s most legendary builds. Following Kopp’s ride on the TZ, the action will continue with the Joe Leonard Memorial Dash For Cash, honoring the sport’s first Grand National Champion, who recently passed away at the age of 84. Roberts Sr., a two-time Grand National Championship himself, will wave the green flag to start the race.

Another longstanding tradition – the seventh annual Alamo Alarm Night Before the Mile at the Lodi Cycle Bowl – will take place on Friday, May 19. For the first time ever, will live-stream the event, with opening ceremonies kicking off four hours of coverage beginning at 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET.

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American Flat Track’s on-track action will begin on Saturday, May 20, at 2 p.m. PT/ 5 p.m. ET with the AFT Twins, presented by Vance & Hines, and AFT Singles practice sessions. Opening ceremonies will start the night’s racing action at 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET, and the main events are slated to begin at 8:30 p.m. PT/ 11:30 p.m. ET.

Tickets for the Sacramento Mile are now on sale and can be purchased at

Catch all the action on NBCSN and

As part of American Flat Track’s television broadcast package with NBCSN, the cable network will air flag-to-flag coverage of both main events from the Sacramento Mile in a one-hour telecast scheduled for early August. The complete television schedule for American Flat Track on NBCSN will be released in the coming weeks.

Live-streaming coverage of every second of race action from the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile, presented by Cycle Gear, will be aired on at The stream will begin at 2 p.m. PT/ 5 p.m. ET and will also be simulcast on Facebook Live.

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 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 provides live-streaming coverage of American Flat Track events. also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series. Catch all the action at and

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, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, live-stream the events at and catch all the American Flat Track racing action on NBCSN.

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