DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – American Flat Track is set to kick off the season under the lights at Daytona Int’l Speedway for the third annual Daytona TT presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys this Thursday.
The circuit has been completely redesigned under the guidance of some of the sport’s leading legends. The new layout features a higher-speed section utilizing the speedway’s start-finish straightaway on the banked tri-oval asphalt, along with wide-open corners in the dirt that should maximize passing opportunities along the way.
The focus will shift from the track to the racers navigating it come Thursday evening. No rider has shone brighter under the spotlight than two-time defending AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Jared Mees.
Mees has established himself as a dominant force, both in the Daytona TT – where he comes in with two consecutive victories – and the series at large, where he’s won two straight crowns on the strength of a combined 20 victories.
There will once again be a deep pack of privateer Indians coming off a season in which the manufacturer garnered all but one Main Event victory.
The powerhouse Estenson Racing effort will see a trio of Yamaha MT-07 DTs track to the track. Gifted pilots Jake Johnson, J.D. Beach and Kolby Carlile are all versatile riders with the potential to break out on any given weekend.
If anything, the Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys contest is even more difficult to predict. The Roof Systems AFT Singles class boasted 10 different winners last season, and the Daytona TT always elevates the number of variables to consider – not to mention the talent level – into the stratosphere.
Reigning class champion Dan Bromley carries in his new No. 1 plate along with bragging rights as last year’s Daytona TT victor. He’s also newly backed by a full-factory KTM effort, where he’s joined by the winningest rider in AFT Singles history, Shayna Texter. Texter’s historical struggles on TT circuits are well known, but perhaps the faster, more wide-open layout of this year’s course will play more into her favor.
A long list of rivals looking to get their title campaigns started off right includes last year’s championship runner-up and 2016 class champ Ryan Wells, who moves over to Estenson.
Highly-anticipated wild cards and all-timers, Jeff Ward and Ryan Sipes, rank among the most decorated motorsports icons on two (or four) wheels.
Super Hooligans round two will take place on a custom-built short track inside the tri-oval. Of particular note, the RSD-sponsored Super Hooligans will race on new, customized Indian FTR 1200 machines. World-famous freestyle motocross icon and founder of Nitro Circus, Travis Pastrana, will make his return to Daytona as part of the Super Hooligan roster.
Founder of RSD and ringleader of the Super Hooligans, Roland Sands, will serve as the Daytona TT Grand Marshal.