HAMPTON, Ga. – The Yamaha Atlanta Super TT could not have been scripted more perfectly for title sponsor Yamaha at its home race in what proved to be a historic evening of Progressive American Flat Track racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Just miles from its American base of operations, Yamaha became the first manufacturer sweep all three classes in a single evening thanks to the virtuoso performances of Estenson Racing’s J.D. Beach and Dallas Daniels.
Beach completed the remarkable triple win in absolutely crushing form aboard the No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT in the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle Main Event.
The multi-time national champion road racer and TT race winner came into Atlanta considered the race favorite and that status only increased with each session. By the time the main rolled around, Beach made real the fears that the remainder of the field was relegated to a fight for second. He tore open up a sizable lead by the time the pack hit the jump for the first time and piled it on from there.
After earlier opening up an full straightaway’s advantage, Beach cruised home to a near-five-second margin-of-victory in the end.
“This feels amazing,” Beach said. “I can’t thank my team enough. Through the tough times, they’re always working. I have to thank my trainer, Ty Kady, too; coming into this race, I was kind of in a dark spot just because I felt like I had so much pressure on me to do good. We were able to pull it through. This race went smooth for me — it was my best race ever. Just like (Supercross racer) Jett Lawrence said after his win a few weeks ago, ‘You’ve got to let the big dogs eat!”
While Beach put a quick conclusion on the chase for the win, an entertaining melee for second took shape behind him, featuring Sammy Halbert, Briar Bauman, Jarod Vanderkooi and Davis Fisher.
Bauman put a move on second-placed Halbert with eight minutes to go, only to see Halbert immediately counter. That sequence then allowed Vanderkooi to slip under Bauman and do the same to Halbert a few short laps later.
Bauman worked past Halbert and did what he could to pressure Vanderkooi. But ultimately the defending Grand National Champion could climb no higher than third as Vanderkooi put the finishing touches on his best-ever premier-class result.
Fisher took fourth, while Beach’s teammate, Kolby Carlile, was the beneficiary of a late mistake on Halbert’s part, allowing Carlile to sneak through and take fifth at the flag.
Title contender Jared Mees made a courageous attempt to fight through the pain and compete after recently injuring his knee in a motocross training accident. Unfortunately, he was forced to pull out early in the main event and will now look to heal up with a few weeks off to rest.
Daniels added to his quickly burgeoning legend, not only winning in his Progressive AFT twin-cylinder debut but flat-out dominating the AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event.
Daniels stormed away from pole and was never bothered as he made relatively easy work of an extremely challenging circuit. Like his premier-class teammate Beach, Daniels’ sublime blend of elite dirt track and road racing chops proved unbeatable on the hybrid Atlanta Super TT course.
“The Single is our main priority; that’s our championship goal, but tonight I wanted to get the win on the Production Twin,” Daniels said. “The track is amazing — it’s so much fun. My roadrace and supermoto experience really plays well into this, and it’s been a blast riding this thing. I thought maybe it would take a little longer getting used to it, but it was great right from the beginning.”
Dalton Gauthier came home a clear second despite struggling in his Semi and starting on row two.
Dan Bromley tracked down and ultimately out-dueled Kayl Kolkman to finish third as the most recent AFT Singles champions went 1-2-3 on the evening.
Daniels’ task was made a bit easier immediately after the restart when fellow Semi winner Johnny Lewis suffered a huge opening-lap high side, which brought out an immediate red flag.
Lewis was able to make the restart, albeit from the back of the pack. Shaken but not deterred, the former factory AMA Supermoto star slashed his way back through the field to finish a gritty fifth at the checkered flag.
The most difficult component of a potential Yamaha triple-class sweep was widely expected to be the AFT Singles Main; while Mikey Rush won his Semi, teammate and defending class champion Daniels was beaten in a thrilling straight fight in his Semi by Spanish flat track superstar Ferran Cardús.
Rush and Daniels managed to get away 1-2, but their dream start was quickly erased due to a red flag following a lap one crash by Trent Lowe.
Daniels took the holeshot in the restart but with Cardús right on his tail. After the Spaniard had earlier demonstrated he had the lines and skills necessary to overtake him on multiple occasions in the Semi, Daniels put his head down in an attempt to not allow Cardús an opportunity when it mattered the most.
Daniels slowly opened a small advantage, eventually forcing Cardús into a mistake, which put Rush on his case. That development proved pivotal, allowing Daniels to suffer no real consequences when he later made a significant mistake of his own, and giving Yamaha the added joy of a 1-2 finish after Rush made his way through into second.
Despite coming up short in his bid for the win, Cardús did earn the first Progressive AFT podium in third.