The Arizona Mile – Daredevil Track Stars Light up Turf Paradise
What went down at Turf Paradise recently was nothing short of death-defying, mechanical mayhem.
The thunder and pageantry of AMA’s American Flat Track series blew into Phoenix, Arizona’s Turf Paradise a few weeks back creating a buzz heard ‘round the Valley of the Sun. The fourth stop on the American Flat Track schedule, The Law Tigers Arizona Mile marked the second consecutive year at the popular desert horse track. The racing, the party atmosphere and the sheer excitement of watching these brave men and women hurl themselves around a one-mile dirt oval at speeds approaching 150 mph at the Arizona Mile made for an awesome day.
American Flat Track racing is making a strong comeback seeking to enjoy the national prestige it had in the 60s, 70s, and 80s when stars like Kenny Roberts, Jay Springsteen, and Chris Carr ruled the landscape. To be more accurate, AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) organized flat track racing goes back nearly a century.
Everything about Flat Track racing is different from MotoCross, Moto GP and other forms of two-wheeled competition. The bikes make a guttural and downright wicked sound when opened up down the stretch. The riders are not only bold, they cheat death at every hi-speed turn sliding their bikes sideways to find the right groove. They are masters at weaving, darting, drafting and knowing precisely when to dart out of the draft for a pass. In that regard – the Arizona Mile is a lot like NASCAR.
American Flat Track has two classes. The up-and-coming “singles” class as it’s commonly referred to, is geared toward young men and women aspiring to move up the horsepower ladder one day. The bikes are powered by production-based 450CC engines and race at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Needless to say, these are not pit bikes that just look the part. These bikes haul the mail.
The big dogs, the premier class and the kings of the track are the “Twins” – referring to custom built twin cylinder engines. These are the stars of the show and what brings fans to their feet each time they roar by the flag stand. Riders like Jared Mees, Bryan Smith and Brad Baker (BradtheBullet) of the dominant factory Indian Motorcycle team are very similar to the Harley Davidson teams of the 70s and 80s. They are the team to beat every time the bikes roll into the pit gates at racetracks across the country. Other riders such as Sammy Halbert, Jarod Vanderkooi, Jacob Johnson and Ryan Wells are always looking to break up that party.
Female star Shayna Texter from Willow Street, Pennsylvania has been on a podium hot streak of late as she was able to take the win at Turf Paradise edging out Tristan Avery of Chesterfield, Virginia by 0.041 seconds both riding Honda CRF450R’s. Shayna is a fan favorite among males and females alike and became the first female rider ever to win a main event back in 2011.
Heading into the sunny weekend the “Indian Wrecking Crew” as they are affectionately known, held a stranglehold on the competition thus far in the twins class. Opening the season with a win at Daytona, sweeping in Atlanta, taking the top two out of three in Charlotte – the brought the brooms out once again in Phoenix. Bryan Smith on his Indian Scout FTR750 was able to hold off BradtheBullit by 0.057 earning his second win in a row here with Jared Mees 0.566 behind Smith.
With all three within a second of each other, it’s clear to see that they’re the team to reckon with this season.
Ashley, Gabby and Victoria of Lane Splitters Garage were here to help sell some swag.
Lots of takers here! LOL
Cody Johncox crashed into the air-filled safety barriers on his Yamaha FZ-07. He was ok and was able to get back on and continue. Back in the day – these walls were simple hay bails.
The last lap of the AFT Singles had Shayna Texter narrowly edging out Tristan Avery and Brandon Price for the win. You can see how close this racing is from green to checkered flag.
Brad Baker on his Indian Scout FTR750 riding on the edge of those Dunlop tires.
Bryan Smith and his tuner Ricky Howerton enjoying a victory lap after a hard fought race.