PORT ROYAL, Pa. — Progressive American Flat Track star Briar Bauman (No. 3 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) scored his second straight victory at the Mission Port Royal Half-Mile presented by Appalachian Harley-Davidson Saturday at Port Royal Speedway.
The two-time Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle champion had suffered through something of a wins drought by his standards after taking last year’s Port Royal Half-Mile, claiming just one triumph in the following 15 races.
However, Bauman looks to be well and truly back to peak form now, adding a second consecutive win to record this season.”
The 22nd premier class win of Bauman’s career carried some extra significance, coming on an evening in which the paddock earlier paid tribute to Ryan Varnes by donning his number No. 68 en masse for a memorial lap led by the late rider’s family.
After taking the checkered flag in the event, Bauman took Varnes’ girlfriend, Jennifer Hoshauer, for the victory lap.
“Honestly, it’s an emotional day for the sport of flat track,” Bauman said. “I can’t thank everyone who participates in flat track enough right now. I can’t believe how strong the Varnes family is… All the fans were supporting us during our lap of honor. I don’t normally do burnouts – I don’t know if I’ve ever done one – but I just felt like we needed to do it. It was for Ryan.”
Reigning Mission SuperTwins champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) pushed Bauman early before falling into the clutches of Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750).
Following some back-and-forth, Vanderkooi expertly exploited the extreme high line to rail around Mees with a minute remaining on the clock and then held strong to secure his second runner-up result in a row.
While unable to respond, Mees still powered to his third third-place finish in succession. As a result, Mees continues to lead the title fight but by just eight points over Bauman (173-165).
Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) outlasted Dan Bromley(No. 62 Memphis Shades/Corbin/Vinson Yamaha MT-07) to score his third win of the Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines season.
Bromley announced at Port Royal that he was back for the remainder of the season and proceeded to prove in the Main Event that he was back in a big way. The home-state hero stormed to the holeshot and worked up a gap of nearly a half second over Janisch by the race’s mid-distance with the rest of the field even further back in his wake.
Rather than fold, Janisch mounted a comeback, reeling Bromley back in and arriving at his side with just over two minutes remaining. At that point, both riders bucked and weaved mere inches apart, with Bromley even reaching over and giving Janisch a friendly tap.
Janisch finally completed the extended overtake and then put his head down to claim a clear victory with almost two full seconds in hand.
With title rival Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) finishing a couple more seconds back in third, the win saw Janisch retake the championship lead by a single point (174-173).
For the fourth consecutive round, runaway Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER title leader Kody Kopp (No. 12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) went wire-to-wire to victory.
In what has to pass as a form of consolation to the field, Kopp’s dominance was held somewhat in check at Port Royal Speedway. In contrast to the previous three lopsided affairs, a group of four riders managed to keep Kopp in sight for race distance.
Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R had the pace to keep Kopp honest, consistently fighting back the gap whenever Kopp threatened to shake free. But in the end, the KTM ace hit the stripe to claim a .646-second margin of victory over his American Honda-backed adversary.
Kopp’s teammate, Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE), earned his first podium since returning from injury. Whale battled with Gauthier early before being forced to shift his attention to fending off Gauthier’s rookie teammate, Chase Saathoff (No. 106 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R), to hold onto the final spot on the box.