WEEDSPORT, N.Y. – Briar Bauman rebounded from his worst result of the American Flat Track season in the best possible fashion, scoring a dominant victory in Saturday’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 during 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 campaign.
At the start of the 30-lap Main Event, the recently rejuvenated Jeffrey Carver Jr. squeezed past Bauman and his brother, Bronson Bauman, 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, Briar Bauman blasted back by and ripped open a gap at the front.
Smooth and in control throughout, Briar Bauman took the win with 3.589 seconds in hand.
Despite the result representing his eighth podium in nine main events this season, the victory was Bauman’s first since his triumphant season opener.
“I’ve got to thank my team — they bust their butts during the week,” Briar Bauman said. “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 in third.
Bronson Bauman extended his streak of top fives to three with a fourth-place finish, while Robert Pearson secured his best result of the season in fifth.
Meanwhile, multi-time time defending AFT Twins champ Jared Mees could manage just seventh on the night. As a result, Briar Bauman stretched his advantage back out to 26 points as the title fight reached its halfway point.
Dalton Gauthier took 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 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. 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. Gauthier 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.
“I picked up a lot of confidence tonight, and it’s definitely going to help us with this championship,” said Gauthier. “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 put in a late charge, slashing his way through the same talented pack Gauthier diced through earlier in the race, to work up to second position. Mischler even managed to dramatically close down the gap to Gauthier but ultimately ran out of laps, coming up .413 short of the victory at the checkered flag.
He was followed home by reigning class champion Dan Bromley. Just behind, Kevin Stollings finished fourth while Bromley’s teammate, Shayna Texter, completed the top five.