Saddlemen

Wrapping It Up at Perris Auto Speedway

| 31 October 2017 1:12 am

AFT American Flat Track Series
Round 18: Cycle Gear AFT Finals, presented by Indian Motorcycle, at Perris Auto Speedway

Story by Tim Kennedy
Photos by David N. Haughs/www.haughsphotography.com
PERRIS, CA, OCT. 7, 2017

Perris Auto Speedway became Perris Motorcycle Speedway for one night on Saturday, October 7, as the touring AMA American Flat Track Series, presented by Vance & Hines, visited the Riverside County half-mile clay oval for the first time in the track’s 22-year history. The race marked the first visit to Southern California by the AMA National Championship dirt circuit to a track other than the Fairplex in Pomona since the AMA raced in 1990 at the half-mile Ascot Park in Gardena.

Jared Mees (9) captured his fifth National Championship title at the AFT Half Mile National, earlier this year, in Williams Grove, Pennsylvania. By winning on this night in Perris, California, he became the rider with the most podium finishes in a single year. He podiumed at all but one race this year.

Jared Mees (9) captured his fifth National Championship title at the AFT Half Mile National, earlier this year, in Williams Grove, Pennsylvania. By winning on this night in Perris, California, he became the rider with the most podium finishes in a single year. He podiumed at all but one race this year.

The AMA two-wheel equivalent of the World of Outlaws sprint-car traveling series attracted an almost full house (estimated at 6,000 fans in attendance) at Perris. Ticket buyers to the ongoing fair were admitted to the PAS grandstands for an additional $10, or to the first and fourth bleachers for $5. Persons arriving on motorcycles received free parking near the entrance.

American Flat Track race fans packed the grandstands and lined the fences to see the season finale.

American Flat Track race fans packed the grandstands and lined the fences to see the season finale.

A large number of fairgoers took advantage of the offer to watch professional motorcycle racing on dirt once they heard the engines during practice and qualifying in the late afternoon. Radio commercials on local FM stations, an ad in the free fair program, and ads in area newspapers attracted additional spectators to the fair and the motorcycle races.

Nick Armstrong (60) gets a feel for the track in a practice session.

Nick Armstrong (60) gets a feel for the track in a practice session.

The 104th Southern California Fair (which ran from September 30 through October 8) was in progress and helped swell the spectator count. The So Cal Fair started in 1913 as the Riverside County Fair and moved to several sites in the county, including Hemet, prior to making the Lake Perris Fairgrounds its home in 1987.

It was a packed house for the 2017 AFT Championship Season finale at the hugely successful Southern California Fair.

It was a packed house for the 2017 AFT Championship Season finale at the hugely successful Southern California Fair.

The new Perris race gives the AFT the opportunity to attract new fans. Prior to the racing events on Saturday, fans were allowed to visit the pits and talk to the riders and teams. A rarity in the PAS pits was the sight of mothers changing diapers of babies under the canvas sun shelters used by each AMA team to provide shade.

The So Cal Fair board of directors and the AMA sanctioning body co-promoted the 2017 AMA season finale in Perris. It required big bucks to host the premier National dirt-track two-wheel racing sport. Riverside Harley-Davidson and other local firms came on board early to help make the event financially feasible.

The AMA prepared the track and encountered brisk wind and temperatures in the high 90s by mid-day, and in the mid-80s when racing started. It was still 70 when the Twins feature started. The AMA had the track smooth from the inside berm to the crash wall, and cushion-free. The rut-free track developed a blue groove low from tire rubber, but passing was possible. Riders said the track was “slick” early on but that it got better later after a truck sprayed water on it. Riders were most cordial and friendly to all spectators.

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The riders really liked the Perris track and hoped it returns to the AFT schedule in 2018. Riders said the Perris course is similar to that of the Calistoga Half Mile and that both tracks are “much better” than the Williams Grove (Pennsylvania) Half Mile.

Races took place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Three main events included eight laps for 12 of 20 “Hooligan” class riders, 15 laps for all 18 Single Cylinder (450cc) riders present, and a 25-lap feature for 18 of the 27 riders of the Twin Cylinders (650 to 999.9cc) present.

Jordan Graham (47) led a swarm of Super Hooligans battling over the narrow groove in turn one at the start of the main event.

Jordan Graham (47) led a swarm of Super Hooligans battling over the narrow groove in turn one at the start of the main event.

After rider interviews, an interesting exchange followed. Fair board CEO Carl Wuersch used the pit mic and asked the large crowd if they wanted to see AMA racing return to Perris. Fans cheered loudly and voiced their approval.

“This is the first year we have had AMA at our fair,” he told the crowd, “and we hope to have them back many more.”

Co-grand marshals for the Perris event were AMA riders Sammy Tanner and Ronnie Jones. They won Ascot’s first and last AMA Nationals, respectively. Sammy won the inaugural 1959 feature and Ronnie won the finale in September of 1990. Both men were interviewed at the starting line prior to the first race. Sammy,78, is the Arai helmet distributor in Southern California.

Among the AMA racing legends from past decades who were introduced were Dallas Baker, John Wincewicz, Gene Romero, Everett Brashear, Keith Mashburn, Tom White, Don Emde, John Hateley, Jim Berry, Chris Cannon, Eddie Mulder, Danny Perkins, Eddie Wirth, C.H. Wheat, Sonny Nutter, Rob Morrison, Jody Nicholas, Dennis Kanegae, Bryan Farnsworth, Tom Horton, and Bobby Sirkegian.

Longtime motorcycle-racing promoter Chris Agajanian helped with the Perris promotion. He had his Ascot Park merchandise trailer parked inside the front gate, and staff sold Ascot merchandise. The $5 AMA program used at all AFT races had a special Perris cover. Its 30 pages included rosters for the Twins and Singles classes, plus recent head shots of 18 Twins riders and nine Singles riders. It also listed the 2017 AFT season’s racetracks.

The AFT seven-month dirt-track season included races at (in order) a TT race in Daytona Beach, Florida; a short-track event in Woodstock, Georgia; the CMS-Charlotte Half Mile in North Carolina; a Mile race at Phoenix, Arizona’s Turf Paradise; the Cal Expo Mile in Sacramento, California; the Springfield Mile in Illinois; a Mile race in Lexington, Kentucky; the Oklahoma City Mile; the Lima Half Mile in Ohio; the Half Mile race in Elbridge, New York; the Calistoga Half Mile in California; the Buffalo Chip TT in Sturgis, South Dakota; the Rapid City Half Mile in South Dakota; the Peoria TT in Illinois; the Springfield Mile II; the Williams Grove Half Mile in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; the TMS Half Mile in Fort Worth, Texas; and the Perris Half Mile.

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Perris was one of the first-time sites this year for AMA National Championship racing. Others were Williams Grove Speedway, Calistoga Speedway, and the Buffalo Chip Campground in Sturgis. The Perris race, like the Sacramento Mile during the California State Fair, had operating Ferris wheels and other typical fair rides and games within view of the track.

Scottie Deubler, the voice of AFT, was in the announcing booth, while AMA traveling pit announcer “Bubba” Blackwell did pit interviews. He joked about his heavy Alabama accent as he interviewed Singles last-chance qualifier winner Antonio “Toni” Elias, the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion. The veteran 34-year-old racer from Manresa, Spain, won the 2016 Superprestigio race. He wanted to race in AFT Singles for fun on his Yoshimura Suzuki 450. Somehow, the racer and the announcer understood each other.

Hayden Gillim (95) gets under 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Tony Elias (324) from Spain.

Hayden Gillim (95) gets under 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Tony Elias (324) from Spain.

Riders
The 27 Twins riders came from 11 states: nine from California; four from Michigan; two each from Florida, Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington; on one each from Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma and Ohio.

Motorcycles raced included 12 Kawasaki 650s, six Harley-Davidson 750s, five Yamaha 750s, and three Indian Scout 750s, and Chad Cose debuted a new Honda 998.

The 18 Singles riders came from 13 states and three foreign nations: two each from California, Pennsylvania and Washington, and one each from Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Oregon, South Dakota and Texas. Three came from England, Holland and Spain.

Motorcycles raced included 10 Honda CRF450Rs, four Yamaha YX450Fs, two Kawasaki KX450Fs and two Suzuki RMZ450s.

The 20 Hooligan-class riders were led in time trials by past AMA champion Joe Kopp, who rode a Triumph Street Twin. Other Hooligan bikes used included 11 Harley-Davidson 1200s, five Indian Scouts, one Ducati Pantah Super, one Ducati Scrambler, and one Harley-Davidson 750.

Jordan Baber (72) rode his Harley-Davidson 1200 to a victory in the Super Hooligans main event.

Jordan Baber (72) rode his Harley-Davidson 1200 to a victory in the Super Hooligans main event.

Jordan Graham (47) was the runner-up in the Super Hooligans main event on his Indian Scout, just ahead of third-place finisher Jimmy Hill (62), on a Harley-Davidson 750.

Jordan Graham (47) was the runner-up in the Super Hooligans main event on his Indian Scout, just ahead of third-place finisher Jimmy Hill (62), on a Harley-Davidson 750.

Jimmy Hill (88) looks for an opportunity to overtake A.J. Kirkpatrick (69). He was successful, finishing in fifth place, just ahead of Kirkpatrick, in the Super Hooligans main event.

Jimmy Hill (88) looks for an opportunity to overtake A.J. Kirkpatrick (69). He was successful, finishing in fifth place, just ahead of Kirkpatrick, in the Super Hooligans main event.

Jordan Baber (72), winner of the Super Hooligans main event, takes a victory lap.

Jordan Baber (72), winner of the Super Hooligans main event, takes a victory lap.

Qualifying differences were close between the fastest and slowest in both the Singles and Twins classes. In Singles, it was only six-hundred-ninety-eighths of a second between fastest rider Tanner Dean (20.196 seconds) and slowest (20.894 seconds). It was 1.381 seconds between Twins fastest qualifier Jared Mees (20.047 seconds) and the 27th-quickest rider (21.428 seconds).

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TV Coverage
The AFT Series visited 14 states and ran 18 main events in Singles and Twins classes. Each event was telecast live on the Internet on fanschoicetv.com. From July 3 through October 7, NBCSN carried one-hour taped telecasts of all 18 events, including rider pre- and postrace interviews, rider profiles, and series news. Telecasts had TV cameras mounted on several bikes, putting viewers in the middle of the action. TV coverage was excellent, featuring announcer Jason Weigandt, Pro rider Larry Pegram, and pit reporter Heather Debeaux. These shows should help make new fans for AFT dirt-track racing.

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Racing
Feature fields in both the Singles and Twins classes started 18 riders in three rows, with six riders per row.

Front-row starter Jared Mees got the holeshot heading into turn one and led all 25 laps of the Perris AFT Twins feature. The rider from Clio, Michigan, steadily built his lead to 3.464 seconds (a full straightaway) by lap 18. He admitted he backed off a bit in the turns and that his advantage slipped each lap on the way to the finish.

Jared Mees (9), the 2017 American Flat Track Twins Champion, got a great start: Heading into the first turn, he took the lead, which he would retain for the entire main event.

Jared Mees (9), the 2017 American Flat Track Twins Champion, got a great start: Heading into the first turn, he took the lead, which he would retain for the entire main event.

Mees, 31, led by 30 yards on lap 22 and by 20 yards at the white flag. He held only a 10-yard lead at the checkered flag. He took a victory lap with a passenger. Then he put his front wheel against the crash-wall and did a smoky burnout. He did a wheelie on his back tire to the first turn to salute the fans and celebrate his amazing year.

The 2017 champion had already clinched his fourth AFT championship two races earlier on September 9 at Williams Grove. The 5-foot-5-inch, 160-pound, muscular rider stated that his prior title years (2012, 2014 and 2015, on Harleys) came down to the final race, usually in Pomona. This year at Perris, he scored his 10th victory of the season and reached his record-breaking 17th podium finish in his 17 starts. (He didn’t qualify for the main event at the June 24 race in Lima, Ohio – a race that he promoted.) He broke a three-way tie for most podiums in a season with past champions Scott Parker and Ricky Graham.

“I knew the holeshot was going to be important, and I got it,” Mees told the crowd. “I tried to be smooth in the corners for the last six laps. We don’t get to race motorcycles until we are 50. I opened the season with a win at Daytona and closed it with a win here. I look forward to being with Indian for a long time. I’m looking forward to next year, but I’m scared, too. I don’t know how we can top this year.”

He said that the Perris track: “is very technical; you have to go slow to go fast.”

Mees then thanked his chief mechanic and tuner, Kenny Tolbert; team owner Craig Rogers; his wife, Nichole; and the Indian factory.

Jared Mees (9) celebrated a record-breaking season with two victory laps. The second was with his wife, Nichole, on board.

Jared Mees (9) celebrated a record-breaking season with two victory laps. The second was with his wife, Nichole, on board.

In addition to his 10 victories, Mees finished second six times and third once (at the Phoenix Mile). He usually ran in the top three, along with his Indian Scout teammates Bryan Smith and Brad Baker. The weekend before Perris, Mees won both lucrative Open comp main events at the three-eighths-mile dirt Walt James Stadium at the Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, California. Many AFT riders came directly from the September 23 Texas race to California and raced both weekends in So Cal.

Mees married fellow AMA Pro Nichole Cheza at the starting line of the Springfield Mile on race day in September of 2013, prior to the first race. The ceremony was shown live on www.fanschoicetv.com. They are known affectionately as “AFT’s first couple.” They now have a four-month-old daughter who accompanies them to the races. Nichole’s father and uncle were tuners of her 750cc Harley. The now-retired 30-year-old new mom – who also hails from Clio, Michigan – was a respected main-event rider.

Privateer Johnny Lewis (10), riding an Indian Scout FTR750, held second place for much of the main event, followed by Briar Bowman (14), Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23) and Steve Bonsey (80).

Privateer Johnny Lewis (10), riding an Indian Scout FTR750, held second place for much of the main event, followed by Briar Bowman (14), Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23) and Steve Bonsey (80).

Jeffrey Carver Jr. got off the front row in fourth and trailed fellow front-row starters Johnny Lewis and Sammy Halbert to lap six. Then Carver went deeper into turn one, under Halbert, and moved him up the track, dropping him two positions. Second-place rider Lewis (who was on softer Dunlop tires than those his competitors used) clearly backed up the nose-to-tail five riders behind him as Mees steadily opened up a 50-yard lead by lap 14.

Briar Bauman (14) prepares to pass Johnny Lewis (10). Bauman got by Lewis but made contact with Lewis in the process, and both Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23) and Steve Bonsey were able to pass the two of them.

Briar Bauman (14) prepares to pass Johnny Lewis (10). Bauman got by Lewis but made contact with Lewis in the process, and both Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23) and Steve Bonsey were able to pass the two of them.

On lap 18, the frustrated Carver finally used the same inside high-speed pass he’d used on Halbert for third to get under Lewis entering the first turn. The decisive pass was so sudden that Lewis rode up the track and lost four positions, with Stevie Bonsey, J.D. Beach and Halbert also advancing. Once he secured second place, Carver ran the fastest lap of the race.

Bonsey, a 27-year-old rider from Salinas, California, who was making his comeback following a year-and-a-half injury-related absence, ran third, with Beach, Halbert and Lewis following.

Returning to AFT championship racing after a serious injury sidelined him for a year and a half, Steve Bonsey (80) just missed making the podium, finishing fourth in the Twins main event.

Returning to AFT championship racing after a serious injury sidelined him for a year and a half, Steve Bonsey (80) just missed making the podium, finishing fourth in the Twins main event.

As Carver reeled in Mees, the battle for third through sixth intensified. Beach, the 2015 MotoAmerica SuperSport champion and road-racing specialist, took third from Bonsey on the inside by a wheel’s length at the finish line.

Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23) had switched from a Kawasaki Ninja 650 to a Harley-Davidson XR-750 two weeks before at the Lone Star Half Mile in Fort Worth, Texas. He captured his first Twins main-event victory at Fort Worth. Riding the XR-750 again on this night, he came from fourth place to catch Jared Mees, securing an impressive second-place finish.

Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23) had switched from a Kawasaki Ninja 650 to a Harley-Davidson XR-750 two weeks before at the Lone Star Half Mile in Fort Worth, Texas. He captured his first Twins main-event victory at Fort Worth. Riding the XR-750 again on this night, he came from fourth place to catch Jared Mees, securing an impressive second-place finish.

Without interruptions, the race took eight minutes and 43.283 seconds, and 17 of the 18 riders in the field finished within 11.902 seconds of one another.

The fifth- through 17th-place finishers were Halbert; Lewis; Robert Pearson; Davis Fisher; 2016 AFT Singles champion Ryan Wells; Briar Bauman of Salinas, California; Bryan Smith; Jake Johnson; Henry Wiles; Mikey Rush; Nick Armstrong; Kayl Kolkman of Ventura, California; and Kenny Coolbeth Jr. Brandon Robinson’s H-D factory bike failed to start from his inside row-two starting position.

Johnson and Coolbeth rode the other two factory Harleys.

Wells won the 2017 Twins Rookie of the Year award with 93 points and is a fast-rising star in the sport. He is sponsored by the Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka, Kansas.

Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23) takes the inside line to pass Johnny Lewis (10) in the first Twins semi.

Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23) takes the inside line to pass Johnny Lewis (10) in the first Twins semi.

Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23) passes Brandon Robinson (44) on his way to a second-place finish in the first AFT Twins semi. Robinson went on to finish the semi in fourth place, behind Johnny Lewis.

Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23) passes Brandon Robinson (44) on his way to a second-place finish in the first AFT Twins semi. Robinson went on to finish the semi in fourth place, behind Johnny Lewis.

The Perris event saw several riders fall, but no serious injuries resulted. In the second Twins semifinal, Davis Fisher, on the number67 Kawasaki, had his back wheel-brake lock, sending him at reduced speed into the protective airfence barrier. In the Twins LCQ, James Monaco broke a shifter-shaft and fell at 80 mph into the third turn’s protective airfence. On the first lap of the Singles main, bikes collided in the second turn near hay bales in front of the wall; six bikes from rows two and three crashed and hit the ground. Only two of them were sidelined.

Always a fan favorite, Sammy Halbert (69) finished third in the second Twins semi but could only manage a fifth-place finish in the main event.

Always a fan favorite, Sammy Halbert (69) finished third in the second Twins semi but could only manage a fifth-place finish in the main event.

Pit Notes
Mees and Smith rode the fast, new-for-2017, purpose-built factory Indian Scout. Long-dominant Harley-Davidson and other manufacturers used production-based bikes. The third Indian factory rider, Brad Baker (the 2013 AFT National Champion, on a Harley) was absent; he broke his jaw in an off-road crash after the 16th race at Williams Grove. Baker, who hails from Dryad, Washington, was replaced on the third Indian in Texas by NBCSN AMA color analyst Larry Pegram, who raced it to 10th at that event.

Jarod Vanderkooi from Ohio had the third Indian factory ride in Perris. He set the 13th-fastest qualifying time, but a burned-out clutch caused his DNF in a semifinal race and he missed the feature.

Lewis raced an Indian Scout, purchased recently from a dealer, for an independent team; he set the ninth-quickest qualifying time.

In 2017, Indian won 14 of the 18 Twins features; Kawasaki had three victories with two riders (a pair of TTs and a Half Mile); and Carver’s privateer Harley earned one win at race 17. Indian became the first “new player” manufacturer to dominate AFT competition since 1984, when Honda won 19 of 33 GNC races with Ricky Graham and Bubba Shobert. Look for more teams to switch to Indian Scout in 2018.

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Victory Totals
Mees had 20 AFT (or GNC) feature wins prior to the 2017 season and ranked 16th in career victories. His 10 wins this year upped his total to 30 and he now ranks ninth of all time in GNC victories. He has passed legends Joe Leonard (the first AMA National dirt-track champion in 1954), Dick Mann, Bart Markel and Steve Morehead.

Bryan Smith’s four 2017 feature triumphs also gave him 30 career GNC victories, tying his Indian teammate and rival Mees. There are no competitors they would rather beat than each other.

Other still-active top winners on the list are Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (who is fifth on the list, with 36 feature wins), and 29-time winner and Peoria TT king Henry Wiles (with 13 consecutive victories at Peoria through 2017 and counting).

The list of most career GNC feature victories is topped by Scott Parker (who was active from 1979 to 2000), with 94 triumphs. Next best is Chris Carr (who was active from 1986 to 2008), with 78 wins. Jay Springsteen (active from 1975 to 2000) has 43 wins, and Ricky Graham (active from 1980 to 1994) has 39. Bubba Shobert has 34 wins, Kenny Roberts has 33, and Will Davis has 31. Clearly, Mees and Smith should move up the list of winners in 2018.

Mees’ 10 victories in one season this year tied the great Scott Parker for second most in a season. Series champion in 1984 and 1993 Ricky Graham’s 12 victories in 1993 is still the GNC gold standard. Mees’ four AFT National Championships has him tied with Carroll Resweber (who was active from 1958 to 1961) for third position, behind only nine-time champion Parker and seven-time champion Carr.

Five riders won the 18 Twins features during 2017. The personable Bryan Smith, the 33-year-old 2016 Twins champion, won four; Salinas-based Briar Bauman won two; and Carver and Wiles each won one. Forty-six AFT Twins riders scored at least one point.

Rivals in the 2017 AFT Singles Championship race, Shayna Texter (52) and Kolby Carlile (36) battle for the lead going into turn one at the start of the Singles main event.

Rivals in the 2017 AFT Singles Championship race, Shayna Texter (52) and Kolby Carlile (36) battle for the lead going into turn one at the start of the Singles main event.

AFT Singles
Brandon Price, 17, passed the leader of laps one through 11, Ben Lowe, with an inside move entering turn one on lap 12 and led to the checkers. He won the Singles feature by six-hundred-fifty-seven-thousandths of a second over Lowe. First-time Singles champion Kolby Carlile, 20, from Canandaigua, New York, rode his Yamaha to third place.

After knocking Shayna Texter off the groove on the first lap, an aggressive Brandon Price (92) chased down and passed Kolby Carlile (36) on his way to winning the AFT Singles main event.

After knocking Shayna Texter off the groove on the first lap, an aggressive Brandon Price (92) chased down and passed Kolby Carlile (36) on his way to winning the AFT Singles main event.

Brandon Price (92) takes a victory lap after fighting his way to the front and winning the AFT Singles main event.

Brandon Price (92) takes a victory lap after fighting his way to the front and winning the AFT Singles main event.

The friendly Carlile, known as “The Flying Tomato” (for his long red hair), clinched his initial Singles championship after several years on the circuit. He scored 267 points, to 244 by Price.

“I can’t quite comprehend what’s going on,” Carlile confessed. “I couldn’t be more ecstatic! I raced tonight on a brand-new 2018 Yamaha we got out of a crate last week. I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a little kid. I won this championship without winning a race, like some others – but I’m going to win races next year.”

He thanked his parents and his mechanic Andrew.

Fifth-place finisher Shayna Texter, 26, led the Singles points chase for most of the season. She entered this race in second place, 17 points behind Carlile, with 18 points being awarded to the race winner. They started alongside each other on row one, and both riders had on-board TV cameras. Price passed Texter for second in the final standings by four points. Texter is the first female AMA Singles dirt feature winner.

Oliver Brindley (124) from England chases Shayna Texter (52) in the Singles main event. Texter ended up with a fifth-place finish, ahead of Brindley.

Oliver Brindley (124) from England chases Shayna Texter (52) in the Singles main event. Texter ended up with a fifth-place finish, ahead of Brindley.

The blonde, 5-foot-tall, 110-pound Shayna Texter (formerly number 25 but now number 52) dates AMA Twins rider Briar Bauman. Her older brother Cory Texter races AMA Twins. Their father, Randy, also raced motorcycles. Singles feature winner Price wants to date Shayna’s little sister, but big sis may not approve; on lap two in the fourth turn, Price bumped Shayna out of third and back to fifth en route to his Perris victory.

Nine riders won the 18 Singles features in 2017. Texter, who hails from Willow Street, Pennsylvania, won five (three at Mile venues and two at Half Mile venues), but she did not qualify for six main events.

Carlile did not win a feature, but he was on the podium eight times and did not qualify for only one main (in Lima, Ohio); he scored three runner-up finishes, five thirds, three fourths and two fifths. His lowest feature finish was an eighth. He said he will return to AFT Singles in 2018 to win main events and the championship.

Price won three times and had five podium finishes in his 18 feature starts. He said Perris was “a crazy race” for him.

“I came off the starting line sixth and kept making passes,” he said, and thanked his sponsors and “the huge crowd of fans who came out tonight.”

Two-time AFT Singles 2017 winners were Hayden Gillim, Dalton Gauthier and Kevin Stallings. Solo winners were Dan Bromley, Tanner Dean, Jesse Janisch and Parker Norris. Sixty-five riders scored at least one point in 2017 Singles racing.

Hayden Gillim (95) slides under Beau Thompson (193) on his way to a ninth-place finish in the Singles main event.

Hayden Gillim (95) slides under Beau Thompson (193) on his way to a ninth-place finish in the Singles main event.

Perris Auto Speedway
Perris, California
Results: October 7, 2017 (Round 18 of 18)

AFT TWINS: 1. Jared Mees (Ind); 2. Jeffrey Carver Jr. (H-D); 3. J.D. Beach (Yam); 4. Stevie Bonsey (H-D); 5. Sammy Halbert (Yam); 6. Johnny Lewis (Ind); 7. Robert Pearson (H-D); 8. Davis Fisher (Kaw); 9. Ryan Wells (Kaw); 10. Briar Bauman (Kaw); 11. Bryan Smith (Ind); 12. Jake Johnson (H-D); 13. Henry Wiles (Kaw); 14. Mikey Rush (Yam); 15. Nick Armstrong (Yam); 16. Kayl Kolkman (Yam); 17. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (H-D); 18. Brandon Robinson (H-D) (DNF).
25 Laps
Race Time:
8 minutes, 43.283 seconds.
Margin of Victory: 0.516 of a second.
Best Race Lap: Jeffrey Carver Jr. (20.436 seconds).

AFT SINGLES: 1. Brandon Price (Hon); 2. Ben Lowe (Hon); 3. Kolby Carlile (Yam); 4. Cameron Smith (Hon); 5. Shayna Texter (Hon); 6. Oliver Brindley (Kaw); 7. Jay Newton (Yam); 8. Dawson Schieffer (Yam); 9. Hayden Gillim (Suz); 10. Tanner Dean (Hon); 11. Beau Thompson (Hon); 12. Toni Elias (Suz); 13. Matthew Guenther (Yam); 14. Chris McDougal (Hon); 15. Michael Hill (Hon); 16. Maikel Dijkstra (Kaw); 17. Aidan Brown (Hon); 18. Dan Lowther (Hon) (DNS).
15 Laps
Race Time:
5 minutes, 16.182 seconds.
Margin of Victory: 0.657 of a second.
Best Race Lap: Brandon Price (20.694 seconds).

[For more from this event, please see “Mees Ends the Season on Top at the AFT Finals”… Editor]

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