DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – American Flat Track is on the verge of crowning a new AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion as it arrives in Shakopee, Minn., for Saturday’s Indian Motorcycle Minnesota Mile presented by Law Tigers.
With a 35-point advantage and two races to go, AFT Twins title leader Briar Bauman has battled back and forth with multi-time defending champion Jared Mees all season long and moved himself within touching distance of his first premier class crown.
The two have combined to claim 11 out of possible 16 victories this season. And while Mees leads in wins with six of those 11, Bauman’s remarkable week-to-week consistency has him just 16 points away from securing the title.
That means a pair of 11th-place finishes would be good enough to do the trick, but Bauman will almost certainly be gunning to seal the title with his 15th podium finish in 17 races this season at Canterbury Park. Better yet, the 24-year-old California native could take the title with his sixth win of the season, earning a second career-long achievement in the process by scoring his maiden Mile win and completing the Grand Slam.
Mees, seemingly unstoppable on these Mile tracks, can be relied upon to do what he does – apply immense mental and on-track pressure through his outright pace – in search of another win. A win backed by the determined pursuit to extend his quest for a third-straight title.
Besides Mees there’s a stacked field of gifted pilots in the class who will do everything in their power to push Bauman’s celebrations back at least one more round.
Chief among them is rookie sensation Brandon Price, who has looked like one of the paddock’s top riders over the past two rounds. Price came up just 0.169 seconds short of victory at Springfield II and then gave Bauman all he could handle in a battle for the win last time out at Williams Grove. All that’s left on Price’s rookie checklist is a first-career AFT Twins Main Event triumph.
Meanwhile, Dalton Gauthier and Dan Bromley also bring their Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys title fight into the Minnesota Mile.
Gauthier grabbed the upper hand with his Williams Grove win and now leads the reigning class champ by 15 points. That margin is close enough that even a pair of podium finishes in the final two rounds wouldn’t necessarily be enough to guarantee him the crown, so there’s little room to ease up now.
While still mathematically alive in the championship chase, the odds are stacked heavily against Mikey Rush. That said, unlike Gauthier and Bromley, Rush has taken a victory on a Mile already this season and should be expected to be in contention for the top step on the podium again this weekend.
The ultimate spoiler, however, could be Shayna Texter. Texter boasts eight career Mile victories among her 17 AFT Singles wins. It’s very possible that she’ll have the speed to aid teammate Bromley’s cause – if he has the speed to keep her behind him.
Texter’s older brother, Cory Texter, continues to lead the AFT Production Twins championship standings, although his advantage has been whittled down since he opened the season with three consecutive victories.
Cory Texter now leads two-race winner Ryan Varnes by 16 points, while Kolby Carlile and Dalton Gauthier also remain in contention.