Daytona Beach, Fla., May 11—After a five-week break, American Flat Track returns with four straight Miles. Kicking off the month of action on the big tracks is the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 13.
Picking up where they left off at the Charlotte Half-Mile, the battle for the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines title resumes between rivals Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) and Bryan Smith (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750). Last year, Smith scored a dominant victory in front of a sold-out crowd at the inaugural event in Phoenix, a win that helped launch his campaign for the Grand National Championship. The champ looks to repeat that success and make history in 2017.
“I’m going to Arizona to win,” Smith said. “My team has got my Indian FTR dialed in, and I would love to give Indian their first mile track win in the modern era. Also, winning a Mile on three different brands would be a pretty cool feat for me personally.”
While it’s hard to bet against Smith on a Mile, Mees lines up against Smith on the same machinery this year. The three-time Grand National Champion looks to dethrone the Mile-specialist and score his third win of the season to expand his eight-point lead in the championship.
“After five weeks off, our season gets going again this weekend in Arizona, and then it’s non-stop racing all summer, with just a couple of weekends off,” Mees said. “Last year was our first time at the Arizona Mile and I basically got my butt kicked by Smith, who looks to be the biggest thorn in my side this season; at least so far. Both of us are on the new Indian Scout FTR750 and I’m excited to open it up on a string of miles. Kenny Tolbert and Bubba Bently have been working hard to make sure we’re as prepared as possible to keep racking up wins.”
The third member of the Indian Wrecking Crew—Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750)—is eager to score his first win for the Indian Motorcycle brand. The 2013 Grand National Champion ended the 2016 season by schooling the competition on the Santa Rosa Mile. Baker looks to repeat that success and get his season back on track after some bad luck at Daytona and Charlotte.
Also eager to get their season back on track is the Harley-Davidson Factory squad, led by Jake Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) who sits fourth in the points standings. Teammates Kenny Coolbeth (No. 2 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) are no slouches on the Mile tracks and would love to pull off the upset.
Another rider looking to spoil Indian’s win streak is Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07). Halbert, who holds third place in the championship, is motivated to score that first win on the Yamaha FZ-07.
Completing the top five in the points standings is up-and-coming rider Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Richie Morris Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650).
Control of the AFT Singles championship is up for grabs going into Arizona following Dalton Gauthier’s suspension. Poised for taking that lead is Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda CRF450R). Second in the championship, he returns with an ace up his sleeve: a championship proven team in Parkinson Brothers Racing. Trailing Carlile in the points are Ben Lowe (No. 20 Bruce Lowe Excavating Honda CRF450R) and Shayna Texter (No. 52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R).
On-track action begins with the AFT Twins and AFT Singles practice sessions at 11:00 a.m. PT (2:00 p.m. ET) with Opening Ceremonies commencing at 2:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. ET). Live coverage of the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle can be viewed on FansChoice.tv. Tickets for the Arizona Mile are now on sale and can be purchased here.