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Briar Bauman (AFT photo)

Bauman Is Clutch At Weedsport

WEEDSPORT, N.Y. — Progressive American Flat Track superstar Briar Bauman (No. 3 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) delivered a timely performance to win the Mission New York Short Track presented by Mad Max Indian Motorcycle at Weedsport Speedway Saturday evening.

The clutch victory was the two-time Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle champion’s first since the ‘22 season opener and required a masterful effort to pull off. 

While Bauman stood in the spotlight when all was said and done, he was mired down in fifth early when reigning class king Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) slid under an on-form Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) and threatened to check out.

Mees had worked up a near one-second advantage by the time Bauman had made his way onto Vanderkooi’s rear wheel in third. The race for victory was back on, however, after Mees made a minor mistake and nearly collided with the Airfence.

Vanderkooi pounced less than a minute later; the Mission Roof Systems’ pilot seemed positioned to finally earn his maiden premier-class victory, but Bauman remained on the charge himself.

Bauman took full advantage of traffic to erase a half-second deficit and ran up alongside the leader as the race entered its final minute. He then executed the race’s decisive maneuver with just over three laps as Vanderkooi had no answer.

The triumph thrusts Bauman right back into serious title contention after his prospects had seemed on the wane in recent weeks. He said, “I had a decent start but kind of got shuffled back. I tried a few lines and found a good one and was able to get past a few guys. It just feels good.”

Mees drifted back to a relatively distant third, while JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) overtook Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) late to steal fourth.

Mees leads by 16 points over both Bauman and Daniels (156-140-140). Beach is just over a race back in fourth at 127.

Defending Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Cory Texter(No. 1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) came from behind to secure his third victory of ‘22, grabbing control of the title fight in the process.

The race was red flagged after Ryan Varnes (No. 68 Schaeffer’s Motorsports/Rausch Fuel & Oil KTM 890 Duke) was involved in an on-track incident. He was transported to the hospital by on-site first responders and additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

When racing resumed following the stoppage, Texter and rival Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) anticipated a head-to-head showdown for supremacy at the front.

Cameron Smith (No. 34 Thee Cathy Gray/Al Barker Royal Enfield 650) had other plans in his debut ride aboard the Royal Enfield Twins FT while riding in place of the injured Johnny Lewis. While Janisch and Texter got away in first and second, respectively, Smith promptly split them to not only snatch away the lead but rip open some space.

Texter needed pretty much the full remaining distance to finally fight his way back into contention, but he arrived in the shadow of Smith’s Royal Enfield just as they opened the final two laps. He then dove under Smith and into first just as they opened the final circulation.

Smith attempted to press back around the outside of Texter, but the champ held firm at the front.

Janisch cruised home in third, while Nick Armstrong (No. 60 Competitive Racing Frames/Lessley Brothers Yamaha MT-07) won out in a five-rider scrap for fourth ahead of Ben Lowe (No. 25 Mission Foods/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R), Billy Ross (No. 109 Mission Foods/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R), James Rispoli (No. 43 Wally Brown Racing/Haversack KTM 890 Duke) and Ryan Wells (No. 94 McGrane Racing/Scott Powersports Kawasaki Ninja 650)

After opening the day with a single-point deficit, Texter now leads Janisch by seven points (156-149).

For the third consecutive race weekend, Kody Kopp (No. 12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) stormed out at the start of the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER Main Event and set sail.

Similar to his previous two demonstrations of domination, Kopp quickly assembled a second-plus advantage and then managed it to the checkered flag.

Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) emerged from a seven-rider pack contesting second and did manage to cut into Kopp’s lead for a time, dipping it back under a second momentarily. That pressure only motivated Kopp to wick it back up, however, and the KTM prodigy ultimately sprinted away to a 1.692-second margin of victory.

When asked how he stays humble in the face of his accumulating success, Kopp said, “I just show up every week at the track to ride my motorcycle. We’re just having a ball this year. I’ve just got to say a big thanks to my team Red Bull KTM, and to my mom and dad. I was so happy to finally take my mom on a victory lap. That was awesome.”

While Brunner’s runner-up result was his first podium of the season, third place was an even more monumental achievement for Hunter Bauer (No. 24 NKR Canada/KTM/Vance & Hines KTM 450 SX-F), who sliced his way up from the fourth row to claim his first-career Progressive AFT podium.

Despite his race-long forward momentum, Bauer had to play defense late as Trent Lowe(No. 48 Mission Foods/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda CRF450R) made a last-lap bid to rob him of the position.

Second-ranked Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) finished fifth as Kopp extended his title lead to a mammoth 42 points (180-138).

 

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