AFT at the Yamaha Senoia Short Track. (AFT Photo)

AFT Season Resumes with Yamaha Senoia Short Track

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Progressive American Flat Track, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, returns to action with the second-ever Yamaha Senoia Short Track at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, Ga. on March 23.

Last year’s inaugural visit proved to be a stunner, and this year’s rematch promises to be yet another as the stage is set with the series’ major players arranged in similar positions.

A year ago, reigning Mission SuperTwins champion Jared Mees rebounded in Senoia following a podium-less double opener in Daytona with a virtuoso performance to defeat points leader Dallas Daniels at the stripe by 0.174 seconds.

That kickstarted a season-long duel between the two, ultimately won by Mees who used the Senoia triumph as a springboard to his nine–win, 15-podium season that culminated in a historic ninth Grand National Championship.

Now Mees finds himself equally in need of a bounce back after opening his quest for an unprecedented tenth premier-class crown with sixth- and fifth-place finishes in Daytona. By contrast, Daniels grabbed a share of the points lead with a double-podium opener, highlighted by a victory in the season’s first Main Event.

Mees and Daniels are far from the full story, however, as there is genuine hope that this year’s title fight will not only match last year’s incredible showdown but surpass it with the inclusion of additional contenders.

Chief among the prospective championship hopefuls are two-time Mission SuperTwins king Briar Bauman and co-points leader Brandon Robinson. 

Bauman is in his second season aboard the Rick Ware Racing KTM 790 Duke, although he’s working with a new crew and operating a racebike was heavily overhauled during the offseason. That said, even with those changes, he showed impressive speed in the opener and has the skills to fight up front in any and every given outing.

Robinson, meanwhile, enjoyed a welcome return to form after going winless and finishing outside the championship top five for the first time since 2018 on both counts. His Daytona ST win provided clear evidence that he’s primed for a huge year in ‘24.

At least six brands of motorcycles have a legitimate shot to be in the mix for the top five this weekend considering their respective rider/team representation, which include the likes of Davis Fisher, Brandon Price, Jarod Vanderkooi, Johnny Lewis, and Dan Bromley, along with rookies Trevor Brunner and Max Whale. 

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

Preseason Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER title favorites Kody Kopp and Tom Drane opened their ‘24 campaigns with one win apiece.

Double defending champion Kopp holds down the familiar position of points leader by backing up his win with a third, while Drane finds himself with some work to do after crashing on the final lap of the opener and being credited with 15th prior to his victorious rebound the following night.

While the two will have another opportunity to square off in Senoia, neither enjoyed their finest evening in last year’s inaugural stop at the circuit. Kopp finished fifth despite his usual Short Track supremacy, while Drane could only manage 13th – albeit it’s worth noting the result came before the Australian truly got up to speed and demonstrated his true caliber over the season’s final two-thirds.

While last year’s winner, Max Whale, has since graduated to Mission SuperTwins duty, ‘23 Senoia ST podium finishers James Ott and Dalton Gauthier are back and desperate to finish atop the box this time around.

The class traditionally offers up a bevy of potential race winners. This year is no exception in that respect with Chase Saathoff, Trent Lowe, Evan Renshaw and Logan Eisenhard only but a few of the entrants with the skill and determination to factor up front.