The wait is over. American Flat Track is set to kick off the 2019 season under the lights at Daytona International Speedway for the third annual DAYTONA TT presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys this Thursday, March 14.
The Bigger, Better, Faster circuit has been completely redesigned under the expert guidance of some of the sport’s leading legends. The new layout features a higher-speed section utilizing the fabled Speedway’s start-finish straightaway on the banked tri-oval asphalt, along with wide-open corners in the dirt that should maximize passing opportunities along the way.
The focus will shift from the track to the racers navigating it come Thursday evening. No rider has shone brighter under the spotlight than two-time defending AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750).
Mees has established himself as a dominant force, both in the DAYTONA TT -- where he comes in with two consecutive victories -- and the series at large, where he’s won two straight crowns on the strength of a combined 20 victories.
Of course, there will once again be a deep pack of privateer Indians coming off a season in which the manufacturer garnered all but one Main Event victory.
Fans cannot miss the powerhouse Estenson Racing effort that’s set to field a trio of Yamaha MT-07 DTs. Gifted pilots Jake Johnson (No. 5 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07), JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07), and Kolby Carlile (No. 136 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07) are all versatile riders with the potential to break out on any given weekend.
If anything, the Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys contest is even more difficult to predict. The Roof Systems AFT Singles class boasted ten different winners last season, and the DAYTONA TT always elevates the number of variables to consider -- not to mention the talent level -- into the stratosphere.
‘18 class champion Dan Bromley (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) carries in his shiny new #1 plate along with bragging rights as last year’s DAYTONA TT victor. He’s also newly backed by a full-factory KTM effort, where he’s joined by the winningest rider in AFT Singles history, Shayna Texter (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing SX-F 450). Texter’s historical struggles on TT circuits are well known, but perhaps the faster, more wide-open layout of this year’s course will play more into her favor.
A long list of rivals looking to get their title campaigns started off right includes last year’s championship runner-up and ‘16 class champ Ryan Wells (No. 94 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), who moves over to Estenson for 2019.
Highly-anticipated wild cards and all-timers, Jeff Ward (No. 336 Blackmore Ranch/Monster Energy 450 SX-F) and Ryan Sipes (No. 264 Red Bull/Leatt/KTM 450 SX-F), rank among the most decorated motorsports icons on two (or four) wheels.
As one would expect, the off-track attractions and activities for an American Flat Track season opener set in the middle of Bike Week are suitably spectacular:
A Pre-Event Bike Night Kickoff Party at ONE DAYTONA gets the celebrations rolling on Tuesday, March 12, from 6:00-8:00 pm, which includes a Rider Meet & Greet and Q&A session. The stars of AFT are bringing their race bikes and rigs along and the admission is free, so that’s a no-brainer for AFT fans.
On race day -- as if the action on track wasn’t enough -- the UNOH Fanzone will features vendors, motorcycle displays, Kid Zone with inflatables and rock wall, trike racing and live music from Beartoe and Friends. A fireworks display will follow the AFT Singles and AFT Twins Main Events to close things out right.
Meanwhile, Super Hooligans Round 2 will take place on a custom-built short track inside the tri-oval. Of particular note, the RSD-sponsored Super Hooligans will race on new, customized Indian FTR 1200 machines. World-famous freestyle motocross icon and founder of Nitro Circus, Travis Pastrana, will make his return to DAYTONA as part of the Super Hooligan roster.
Founder of RSD and ringleader of the Super Hooligans, Roland Sands, will serve as the DAYTONA TT Grand Marshal.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at www.americanflattrack.com. Tickets start at just $35 online ($45 at the gate), and upgraded options include the amazing Trackside Bleachers on Pit Lane and President’s Row VIP (climate-controlled, dinner buffet included, cash bar and premium second-floor views) packages.
If you can’t make it to DAYTONA, FansChoice.tv has you covered beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET with Opening Ceremonies (featuring Billy Lane, Scott Parker and Jay Springsteen) scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET at www.fanschoice.tv.
Finally, be sure to tune into the feature broadcast of the DAYTONA TT on NBCSN with flag-to-flag coverage of both Main Events enhanced by exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage. It will debut on Saturday, March 24 at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT and will re-air on March 28 at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT.
Looking for the in-depth analysis of what to anticipate about the DAYTONA TT?
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