Excitement abounds at Turf Paradise
Phoenix, Ariz., May 12—I don’t think that I could have picked a better “first-ever” American Flat Track race for me to attend than the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona.
The weather was warm and sunny, and the spectators were plentiful, as were the cool refreshments. Vendor Row was laid out well, and the air conditioning was kicking inside for those that wanted to stay out of the heat. More importantly, the riders were all chomping at the bit to get out on the track and see who would take the podium!
After the qualification runs Ari Levenbaum, chief operations officer of Law Tigers, and Adam Sandoval, the Arizona Mile grand marshal, pulled out onto the track to commence the opening ceremony ending with Buddy Stubbs himself running a couple of laps on one of his old XR750s to get things going! Having just met Buddy Stubbs earlier in the month at the dealership in Phoenix, it was also a cool sight to see.
Between the heats and the main event the crowd had the option of keeping busy by watching a mini-bike race with Ari Levenbaum, Adam Sandoval, Buddy’s son Frank Stubbs, and three other racers battle it out on the mini- bike track. Frank kept to his racing roots by finishing at the top of the podium followed by Barry Caraway and Ari Levenbaum, leaving the grand marshal last in the pack due to a late crash in the second turn. All in all, it was enough excitement to keep some of the crowd’s attention as the track was freshened up for the final heat.
The AFT Twins took to the track for the final race, engines roaring, and then it went quiet. A safety break was called as the sun was setting and the racers would have been blind in the first turn. On a mile, at triple-digits speeds, that would end in disaster. The one wreck of the day had netted in no injuries and it needed to stay that way!
At the end of the day, Jared Mees took the top of the podium for the season’s AFT first Mile race with just under a second lead followed by fellow Indian Scout FTR750 riders Brad Baker and Henry Wiles. Zanotti Racing’s Briar Bauman took fourth on a Kawasaki Ninja 650, while Works Harley-Davidson racer Brandon Robinson on an XG750R finished fifth.
Needless to say, this was an amazing experience for my first AFT race, and I am hooked! This year’s season of American Flat Track racing continues at venues across the country, including two dates during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (August 5 at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip and the 7th at Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City) and finishing with a new AFT location, the Meadowlands Mile in Rutherford, New Jersey, on October 6. A huge “Thank you!” to Law Tigers, Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson, and American Flat Track for a great event. (americanflattrack.com)