Flat Track is Back!

Johnny Lewis’ Flat Track Futures event went down in late May at Travelers Rest Speedway, and the thunder of racing motorcycle engines has never sounded so good

Words and photos by Sammy Sabedra

If there ever was an event to showcase flat track’s recent rise in popularity and how much we’ve all missed racing since the coronavirus shut things down in March, the Flat Track Futures 3rd annual “Thunder on the Mountain” event at Travelers Rest Speedway over Memorial Day weekend was it. The sun was shining, the mountains were green and the sound of motorcycles in anger could be heard for the first time in a long time. 

The factory Harley-Davidson/Vance & Hines team showed up with its newly massaged (and beautiful) XG750Rs. This is Dalton Gauthier’s #79 machine.

Racers both amateur and pro came from all corners of the country do to battle on the banks of the TR’s red clay oval. Some fans drove as far as 15 hours just to watch the long-anticipated action. With nearly 300 riders in attendance, the races ran well into the night, and the latest main events had riders crossing the finish line well after 2 am. But the racing was well worth the wait.  

Brothers Briar (1) and Bronson Bauman (37) are back in black for 2020 on the fiercely competitive Indian Motorcycle team, and showed their championship-level stuff once again.

With Harley-Davidson, Indian Motorcycle, Estensen Racing and Richie Morris Racing Honda all in the house, all attention was on the three pro classes, which were split into three different divisions: Expert/Pro Twins, 450 Expert Production Frame (Singles) and an Open Expert/Pro class, where both single and twin cylinder motorcycles raced together. The three big winners were Bronson Bauman in the Pro Twins main event, while brother – and new AFT National number 1 for 2020 – Briar Bauman won the Open Pro class, both riding for the Factory Indian team. In the 450 Expert class it was Estensen Racing’s young phenomenon Dallas Daniels pulling off the win.  

It’ll be interesting to see how Harley-Davidson’s Bryan Smith does on the revised XG racer when the AFT season kicks off in July.

When the racing ended, I think everyone – racers and fans – was just happy to be back doing what we all love…being at a motorcycle race. I know I was! American Flat Track’s COVID-delayed series begins in July at Volusia Speedway. Hope to see you there!

Sammy Sabedra 

Insta: @doinitdude

Dalton Gauthier grabbed the XG’s first twins-class wins during 2019. He’s hoping for more.
Mood lighting and a last-second tire-pressure change for Singles rider Ryan Varnes.
With very few Miles on the schedule this year, JD ‘Jiggy Dog” Beach should be a contender on the Estenson Racing Yamaha.

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