The Legendary Sacramento Mile is up next for AFT. (AFT Photo)

AFT Title Fights Arrive At Sacramento

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – An intense four-way championship battle headlines Progressive American Flat Track’s arrival at Cal Expo in Sacramento, California, for this weekend’s Mission Legendary Sacramento Mile powered by Law Tigers on Saturday, August 20.

Four Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle superstars are separated by less than the 25 points that will be awarded for this weekend’s Main Event win, led by defending class champion Jared Mees.

The Sacramento Mile has long been ruled by experienced aces who are able to successfully merge innate skill with strategic acumen. Mees’ effectively took the baton from Bryan Smith in that regard to become the venue’s reigning chess master in 2018, following up Smith’s stretch of seven consecutive wins from 2011-2017 with his own active streak of four Sacramento Mile victories in succession. The factory Indian hero’s Cal Expo exploits are representative of his broader Mile mastery in recent seasons, and he’ll be eyed as the favorite heading into the weekend for good reason.

However, it’s been a while since Mees stood atop the podium this season, his last win coming seven races ago at the Mission Red Mile II. And it’s worth recalling that Mees was pushed to the absolute limit in Lexington by Estenson Racing Yamaha teammates Dallas Daniels and J.D. Beach. Both riders could easily prove to be contenders again this weekend aboard a pair of very fast Yamahas.

Of course, second-ranked Briar Bauman should not be discounted either. Bauman has long sought to unlock the secrets necessary to overcome Mees’ Mile advantage, but he’s been riding as well as anyone in the paddock over the season’s second half.

Meanwhile, teammates Jarod Vanderkooi and Brandon Robinson are locked in a tight intra-team fight for fifth in the points and both have the potential to factor up front this weekend. Bronson Bauman is not far behind them in the standings and no doubt eager to claw his way back up into podium contention.

Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines

Over the past four rounds, momentum in the Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines class has shifted decidedly in favor of Jesse Janisch.

The Wisconsin native has been in commanding form during that run, topping five of five practices, eight of eight qualifying sessions, three of four Semis, and three of four Main Events. As a result, he’s transformed what was a seven-point deficit into a 14-point advantage.

In fact, it’s a credit to the tenacious Cory Texter that Janisch doesn’t have a bigger lead as a result of his remarkable recent form. Considering all that, the Sacramento Mile couldn’t have come at a better time for defending champion Texter, who enjoyed Janisch-like dominance at Cal Expo a season ago en route to a doubleheader sweep.

While the championship has been rendered a two-rider affair, several others have the capability to play the role of spoiler, including race winners Michael Rush, Johnny Lewis, Billy Ross, and Nick Armstrong.

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

Despite still enjoying a massive 46-point Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER championship advantage, Kody Kopp could use a big weekend following three consecutive weeks of logging season’s worst results.

It’s more a matter of stringing together a solid Main Event than it is a search to rediscover pace, as Kopp has been more than quick enough to continue his winning ways in recent weeks, even if the races didn’t play out that way.

Kopp, along with teammate, Max Whale, will be expected to contend for victory again this weekend, although they may not go in considered as the leading race favorites for a change.

In last season’s Sacramento Mile, Turner Racing Honda and then-pilot Trevor Brunner were the preeminent force at the track, combining to sweep both Main Events.

Despite now being adversaries, both the team and the rider come back to Cal Expo in top form. Estenson Racing ace Brunner has a win, a second, and a third in his last three outings, while his former teammate, Dalton Gauthier happens to be the rider who edged him for victory this past weekend.

And while Brunner is Estenson Racing’s sole rider in the class, Gauthier is joined by a pair of extremely talented teammates in Morgen Mischler and Chase Saathoff, who could also contend for victory.