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AFT Action at the Rally Continues with the Harley-Davidson Black Hills Half Mile

| 8 August 2017 3:59 pm

AFT American Flat Track
Round 13: Black Hills Half Mile at Black Hills Speedway

Courtesy of American Flat Track
Photo by Scott Hunter/American Flat Track
RAPID CITY, SD, AUG. 7, 2017

Just two days removed from the wild race environment provided by a memorable Buffalo Chip TT, the 77th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will again serve as a pitch-perfect backdrop for American Flat Track, as the series takes on the Harley-Davidson Black Hills Half Mile in Rapid City, South Dakota, today, Tuesday, August 8.

Jake Johnson (5) in action.

Jake Johnson (5) in action.

Of course, no team figures to have a larger fan base among the hundreds of thousands of rally attendees than Harley-Davidson. The decorated trio of Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (on the number-two Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R), Jake Johnson (on the number-five Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) and Brandon Robinson (on the number-44 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) just might give them something to shout about, as the three have largely been at their best this season at the Half Miles. Together, they own 29 career victories on the Half Miles, led by Coolbeth’s fourth-best all-time mark of 23 wins.

Johnson also comes riding into Harley’s turf with extra confidence after scoring his first AFT Twins, presented by Vance & Hines, championship podium finish of the year on Indian Motorcycle turf – the Buffalo Chip TT.

“This is definitely a big confidence booster,” Johnson said about his podium finish on Sunday night. “I’m looking forward to Tuesday’s Harley-Davidson Black Hills Half Mile. I think having some extra confidence going into there is going to help a lot.”

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Of course, there’s no looking past the Indian Wrecking Crew, particularly considering that championship leader Jared Mees, pilot of the number-nine Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750, and second-ranked Bryan Smith, on the number-one Indian Motorcycle Racing, backed by Allstate, Scout FTR750, have split the last two victories at Black Hills Speedway.

The title rivals expect to fight for top honors again this season. Mees comes into the Black Hills Half Mile with two of the season’s four wins at the Half Miles, including the last two in succession. A win in South Dakota on Tuesday night would see Mees move ahead of Steve Morehead to claim sole possession of sixth-place in all-time AFT Twins Half Mile victories, at 20.

While Mees is well known for being the “Half Mile guy,” Smith is no slouch on them either. The defending champ regained some momentum with a big win at the Black Hills Half Mile last year, and is looking for a repeat in 2017.

“Sunday night was rough, with my crash at the TT,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to returning to the Black Hills Half Mile and bouncing back with a win.”

Other riders to watch include Brad Baker, on the number-six Indian Motorcycle Racing, backed by Allstate, Scout FTR750; Sammy Halbert, on the number-69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07; and Jeffrey Carver Jr., on the number-23 Carver’s BBQ Kawasaki Ninja 650; all of them have podiumed at Half Miles already this season – not to mention Lima Half Mile victor and Sunday night’s Buffalo Chip TT winner, Briar Bauman, on the number-14 Zanotti Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650.

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AFT Singles
AFT Singles championship leader Shayna Texter, on the number-52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R, will be returning to her comfort zone with the Black Hills Half Mile after her TT woes continued at the Buffalo Chip. Texter ranks as the winningest Half Mile rider in AFT Singles history, with 10 such victories on her record, including her walk-away win at the Rolling Wheels Half Mile earlier this year.

However, despite her past success, a serious challenge could be provided by any number of riders. Already this season, Brandon Price (on the number-92 Brandon Price Racing, backed by Parkinson Brother’s Racing/ DPC Racing/ Don’s Kawasaki Honda CRF450R), Parker Norris (on the number-24 Goodroe Racing Honda CRF450R), and Tanner Dean (on the number-138 Walrath Racing Honda CRF450R) have racked up Half Mile wins.

Additionally, Kolby Carlile (on the number-36 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), Kevin Stollings (on the number-99 Ben Evans Honda CRF450R), Ben Lowe (on the number-20 Bruce Lowe Excavating Honda CRF450R) and Wyatt Anderson (on the number-120 Waters Autobody Racing KTM 450 SX-F) have all finished on the podium at Half Miles while flashing the speed to win one before the year is out.

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Exclusive Entertainment
American Flat Track racing action during the 77th annual Sturgis Rally will continue tonight at Black Hills Speedway, with fun for the whole family. Kids 12 and under will be admitted free in General Admission areas, and there will be a Strider give-away for American Flat Track’s youngest fans.

On-track action will begin with the AFT Twins and AFT Singles practice sessions at 2 p.m. MT, with the opening ceremonies commencing at 5:30 p.m. MT. Tickets for the Black Hills Half Mile are now on sale and can be purchased at https://www.showclix.com/event/black-hills-half-mile.

Catch all the Action on NBCSN and FansChoice.tv
As part of American Flat Track’s television broadcast package with NBCSN, the cable network will air back-to-back Sturgis Rally action in a primetime telecast on Thursday, September 14, with the Buffalo Chip TT at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT and the Harley-Davidson Black Hills Harley-Davidson Half Mile at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT. Both one-hour shows will feature flag-to-flag coverage of the main events, along with exclusive features giving fans a behind-the-scenes window into the sport. To check out the complete NBCSN schedule, please visit http://americanflattrack.com/events-nbcsn.

Live-streaming coverage of every second from the Buffalo Chip TT, presented by Indian Motorcycle, can be viewed on FansChoice.tv at www.fanschoice.tv/watch-live/american-flat-track.

Fans can keep up to date with American Flat Track on Facebook (@American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack). AFT mobile apps are available for iPhone on the App Store and for Android at Google Play. For more information, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com.

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 Harley-Davidson Daytona TT to the American Flat Track finals in Southern California, will air in one-hour primetime telecasts throughout the summer and fall on NBCSN. FansChoice.tv remains a cornerstone of AFT’s digital strategy and provides live-streaming coverage of every event.

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

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