It looked like the inevitable was just that. Briar Bauman's early-season success in American Flat Track, as he attempts to win his first AFT Twins Championship, got derailed at the previous race due to a flat tire, while defending AFT Champion Jared Mees got the win there and closed up big in the standings. If Mees can get a hook in his young charge, it's over, right? Well, maybe not. Bauman just bounced back with his second win of the season.
Here's American Flat Track's PR with all the info on the race over the weekend.
WEEDSPORT, N.Y.—Briar Bauman (No. 14 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) rebounded from his worst result of the 2019 American Flat Track season in the best possible fashion, scoring a dominant victory in Saturday night’s New York Short Track at Weedsport Speedway.
Bauman saw his hard-earned AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines title lead cut down considerably when his season-long podium streak was snapped by a mechanical DNF last time out at the Lima Half-Mile. But rather than allow the pressure to cause additional difficulties to escalate, the championship leader responded with perhaps the most convincing performance of his standout ‘19 campaign.
At the start of the 30-lap Main Event, the recently rejuvenated Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof-Systems of Dallas/Indian of Metro Milwaukee FTR750) squeezed past Bauman and his brother, Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), to lead the opening lap.
But before Carver could even contemplate the possibility of completing his career Grand Slam with a maiden Short Track win, Bauman blasted back by and ripped open a gap at the front.
Smooth and in control throughout, Bauman took the win with 3.589 seconds in hand.
Despite the result representing his eighth podium (and seventh top two) in nine Main Events this season, the victory was Bauman’s first since his triumphant season opener.
He said, “I’ve got to thank my team -- they bust their butts during the week. The bike was insane… today we showed up and didn’t change a thing and we were good all day. It just feels good. It feels like it’s been a whole season since I got a win. Seconds are really cool… ‘I know there’s nothing’s wrong with silver’ -- said the great Ricky Bobby -- but I’m just glad to get a win again.”
Carver backed up his first podium of the year with a second consecutive runner-up result. He was followed to the stripe by Short Track standout Henry Wiles (No. 17 Bandit Industries/DPC Racing/Wilco Racing Indian FTR750) in third.
Bronson Bauman extended his streak of top fives to three with a fourth-place finish, while Robert Pearson (No. 27 R/J Performance/Hite Trucking Indian FTR750) secured his best result of the season in fifth.
Meanwhile, multi-time time defending AFT Twins champ Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) could manage just seventh on the night. As a result, Bauman stretched his advantage back out to 26 points (170-144) as the title fight reached its halfway point.
Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 D&D Cycles/Gobert Smash Husqvarna FC450) took maximum advantage of the opportunity before him in the 20-lap Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys Main Event.
Pre-race title leader Mikey Rush (No. 15 RMR Honda/Red Riders Rewards Honda CRF450R) was forced to watch from the fences after he failed to make the Main, finishing 0.135 seconds short of a qualifying position in his semi. And since Rush competed in the premier AFT Twins class in 2018, he earned no AFT Singles points and thus had no provisional start to call upon.
As a result, Gauthier fully capitalized. The ‘Comeback Kid’ dropped down the order early despite starting from pole, but he quickly demonstrated the speed he used to earn that starting slot in the first place. He exploded through a tight, back-and-forth pack contesting the lead and escaped from that early chaos to power to his second victory of the season and reclaim the AFT Singles championship lead in the process.
Gauthier said, “I picked up a lot of confidence tonight, and it’s definitely going to help us with this championship. The day went off so good. I was fast in practice and qualifying and felt really comfortable. I can’t thank Jimmy Wood at Öhlins enough for helping us out with our shock and our suspension. He was a gamesaver, and I felt so much more comfortable than I had before on this bike. And my mom’s here for her first National ever -- it’s awesome to win in front of her.”
Morgen Mischler (No. 69 Waters Autobody Racing/D&D Powersports KTM 450 SX-F) put in a late charge, slashing his way through the same talented pack Gautheir diced through earlier in the race, to work up to second position. Mischler even managed to dramatically close down the gap to Gautheir but ultimately ran out of laps, coming up 0.413 short of the victory at the checkered flag.
He was followed home by reigning class champion Dan Bromley (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F). Just behind, Kevin Stollings (No. 99 Roof Systems/Motion Pro Honda CRF450R) finished fourth while Bromley’s teammate, Shayna Texter (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing SX-F 450), completed the top five.
As a result of Saturday’s pivotal outcome, Gauthier now leads Rush in the AFT Singles championship chase 169-156. Defending champ Bromley remains in close contention at 151 points thanks to his remarkable consistency, despite still seeking the first Main Event victory of his title defense.
Be sure to catch the feature broadcast of the New York Short Track on NBCSN with flag-to-flag coverage of both Main Events, enhanced by exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage. The broadcast will debut on Saturday, July 27, at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT and will re-air on Wednesday, August 7, at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m.
Main Image: American Flat Track