The Yamaha Atlanta Super TT could not have possibly been scripted more perfectly for title sponsor Yamaha at its home race in what proved to be a historic evening of Progressive American Flat Track racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Just miles from its American base of operations, Yamaha became the first manufacturer to ever pull off a victory sweep across all three classes in a single evening thanks to the virtuoso performances of Estenson Racing’s JD Beach and Dallas Daniels.
Beach completed the remarkable triple win in absolutely crushing form aboard the No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT in the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle Main Event.
The multi-time national champion roadracer and TT race winner came into Atlanta considered the heavy race favorite and that status only increased with each successive session. By the time the Main rolled around, Beach made real the fears that the remainder of the field was relegated to a fight for second. He tore open up a sizable lead by the time the pack hit the jump for the first time and piled it on from there.
After earlier opening up an full straightaway’s advantage, Beach cruised home to a near-five-second margin-of-victory in the end.
“This feels amazing,” Beach said. “I can’t thank my team enough. Through the tough times, they’re always working. I have to thank my trainer, Ty Kady, too; coming into this race, I was kind of in a dark spot just because I felt like I had so much pressure on me to do good. We were able to pull it through. This race went smooth for me -- it was my best race ever. Just like (Supercross racer) Jett Lawrence said after his win a few weeks ago, ‘You’ve got to let the big dogs eat!”
While Beach put a quick conclusion on the chase for the win, an entertaining melee for second took shape behind him, featuring Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750), Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), and Davis Fisher (No. 67 BMC Racing/Dick Wall 60 Indian FTR750).
Bauman put a move on second-placed Halbert with eight minutes to go, only to see Halbert immediately counter. That sequence then allowed Vanderkooi to slip under Bauman and do the same to Halbert a few short laps later.
Bauman worked past Halbert and did what he could to pressure Vanderkooi. But ultimately the defending Grand National Champion could climb no higher than third as Vanderkooi put the finishing touches on his best-ever premier-class result.
Fisher took fourth, while Beach’s teammate, Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), was the beneficiary of a late mistake on Halbert’s part, allowing Carlile to sneak through and take fifth at the flag.
Title contender Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) made a courageous attempt to fight through the pain and compete after recently injuring his knee in a motocross training accident. Unfortunately, he was forced to pull out early in the Main Event and will now look to heal up with a few weeks off to rest.
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07) added to his quickly burgeoning legend, not only winning in his Progressive AFT twin-cylinder debut but flat-out dominating the AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event.
Daniels stormed away from pole and was never bothered as he made relatively easy work of an extremely challenging circuit. Like his premier-class teammate, JD Beach, Daniels’ sublime blend of elite dirt track and roadracing chops proved unbeatable on the hybrid Atlanta Super TT course.
Daniels said, “The Single is our main priority; that’s our championship goal, but tonight I wanted to get the win on the Production Twin. The track is amazing -- it’s so much fun. My roadrace and supermoto experience really plays well into this, and it’s been a blast riding this thing. I thought maybe it would take a little longer getting used to it, but it was great right from the beginning.”
All-around ace Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) came home a clear second despite struggling in his Semi and starting on Row 2.
Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) tracked down and ultimately out-dueled Kayl Kolkman (No. 98 B&L Plumbing/Uncle D Yamaha MT-07) to finish third as the most recent AFT Singles champions went 1-2-3 on the evening.
Daniels’ task was made a bit easier immediately after the restart when fellow Semi winner Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield Twins FT) suffered a huge opening-lap high side, which brought out an immediate red flag.
Lewis was able to make the restart, albeit from the back of the pack. Shaken but not deterred, the former factory AMA Supermoto star slashed his way back through the field to finish a gritty fifth at the checkered flag.
The most difficult component of a potential Yamaha triple-class sweep was widely expected to be the AFT Singles Main; while Mikey Rush (No. 15 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) won his Semi, teammate and defending class champion Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) was beaten in a thrilling straight fight in his Semi by Spanish flat track superstar Ferran Cardús (No. 377 Roof Systems of Dallas/Vanilla Cycles Honda CRF450R).
Rush and Daniels managed to get away 1-2, but their dream start was quickly erased due to a red flag following a lap one crash by Trent Lowe (No. 48 WBR/Suzuki Motor of America RM-Z450).
Daniels took the holeshot in the restart but with Cardús right on his tail. After the Spaniard had earlier demonstrated he had the lines and skills necessary to overtake him on multiple occasions in the Semi, Daniels put his head down in an attempt to not allow Cardús an opportunity when it mattered the most.
Daniels slowly opened a small advantage, eventually forcing Cardús into a mistake, which put Rush on his case. That development proved pivotal, allowing Daniels to suffer no real consequences when he later made a significant mistake of his own, and giving Yamaha the added joy of a 1-2 finish after Rush made his way through into second.
Despite coming up short in his bid for the win, Cardús did earn the first career Progressive AFT podium in third.
After becoming the first rider to win two classes at a single event since the inimitable Ricky Graham, Daniels said, “As soon as I finished my interviews for Production Twins, they were firing bikes up for Singles. I got my stuff back on and thought to myself, ‘I just have to get a good start and stay with the guys and do something with them in the end.’
“But I got the holeshot and knew I was the guy -- I just needed to maintain. I was kind of nervous, and I was like, ‘Put in laps, put in laps, hit your marks.’ As I was going into the last corner, the sound was kind of going away. I looked at the jumbotron and saw I had a little gap. I knew I had to keep going fast but I thought I could relax a bit. But then I went into the righthander and ended up going off the track and had to go through the mud. My heartrate was back up, so I almost went off the track again with two laps to go. I just had to calm down. But this is awesome.”
Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) finished fourth, while TT legend Henry Wiles (No. 17 American Honda/United Rentals CRF450R) narrowly edged rookie prodigy Kody Kopp (No. 143 Smartop/Jones Honda/Latus Motors CRF450R) for fifth.
Ryan Sipes (No. 264 Red Bull/Troy Lee Designs GASGAS MC450F) won his $1 bet with fellow future Hall of Famer Travis Pastrana (No. 199 Red Bull KTM 450 SX-F), as the two-wheeled icons finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Pastrana will look to get his revenge as the two will compete in the Hoosier GNCC on Sunday.
The Yamaha Atlanta Super TT will air on NBCSN on Sunday, May 2, starting at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT. The broadcast will include exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and expert commentary.
Progressive AFT will be back in action on Saturday, May 22, for the Mission Foods Texas Half-Mile presented by Roof Systems at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Tickets are already available for purchase by visiting https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3326/#selectTickets
. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT with Opening Ceremonies set to begin at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. For those viewing from home, live coverage will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.