In spite of challenges, Estenson Racing’s JD Beach and Jake Johnson ended Tuesday night at the Black Hills Half-Mile with top-10 finishes. Roger Hayden crossed the line 12th, while Twins Rookie Kolby Carlile scored valuable points in the AFT Production Twins class with a 7th-place result.
Slick, clay Half-Miles have been the team’s Achilles’ heel all season long with their all-new flat track machine. The team continues to put in the hours to overcome these challenges, so although anything short of a win is disappointing, progress was made with all four riders making the Main Event.
Beach, fresh off his win Sunday night at the Buffalo Chip TT, got a good start behind his teammate Johnson and moved his way up a couple positions into 13th. After the restart, the road racer/flat tracker made more forward progress and ultimately crossed the line in ninth. Two-time Grand National Champion Johnson was right behind him to round out the top 10. In just his fifth race back to flat track racing in the premier class, retired road racer Hayden crossed the line in 12th.
Meanwhile, in the AFT Production Twins class, Carlile put together a solid effort in spite of the challenges on the clay. The 2017 AFT Singles Champion finished third in his Semi, but unfortunately did not get the start he was looking for in the Main Event and crossed the line eighth. At the end of the day, it was still an important points-haul in the championship.
The Estenson Racing squad now heads west for the third American Flat Track race in six days, the legendary Sacramento Mile, Saturday, August 10, at the Cal Expo.
JD Beach – AFT Twins #95:
“It was a tough day. We tried some new stuff with the bike and haven’t really made too much headway with it, but we’re figuring out stuff that doesn’t work, at least. It sucks because the whole team is working so hard. We’re not making the gains that we had hoped for, but we’ll keep trying. To come home with a top 10 is good, but we definitely want more. So we’ll just keep pushing.”
Jake Johnson – AFT Twins #5:
“We struggled from the first practice until the last lap of the Main Event. I just couldn’t get anything going. The track was pretty slick. I think everybody felt that. Slick is not good for us on these oval tracks. I don’t know. We have to find something. Being so good on TT’s… You would think it would be simpler going around on a circle, but we just struggled. We’ve tried a lot of different things. Each guy on the team is kind of trying different things at the same time kind of with the same results. I think we’re just going to have to start looking elsewhere and trying some different things. Next week, Sacramento, horsepower, straight-line speed, we could use that to our advantage. We haven’t really had a true Mile yet this season, looking forward to seeing how we go there.”
Roger Hayden – AFT Twins #195:
“I was a lot closer all day than I have been in the previous weeks. The Main Event didn’t go that great. I didn’t get a good start like I wanted, but all in all the day has been OK. Even though I did better in the other races, I think today was the most positive day as far as learning about the bike and getting confidence in it and stuff like that. We would have liked to have been a little quicker, but definitely considering the race at Weedsport and then here, I was a lot better off. I’m definitely improving and figuring things out. Obviously, we’re not happy with 12th, but I learned a lot. Plus, getting the Main Event experience is huge for me.”
Kolby Carlile – AFT Production Twins #136:
“I gave it everything I had today. We’re all just struggling a little bit with the same issue. It’s frustrating, but we’re all putting forth a lot of effort. We’ll keep working, push forward and hopefully get back on the podium where we belong next weekend at the Sacramento Mile.”