In spite of tough conditions at round two of American Flat Track, Jake Johnson was able to leave the Atlanta Short Track with some valuable championship points for the Estenson Racing squad. Unfortunately, his teammates JD Beach and Kolby Carlile were unable to score a transfer spot from the Semi to the Main Event.
The clay short track at Dixie Speedway has been known to present slick conditions, something that has not typically favored the newly developed Yamaha dirt tracker. However, the team was hopeful that the track would have more traction than in the past and that perhaps some of their off-season testing would prove to be helpful. Unfortunately, it was not a best-case scenario with slick conditions from the start and limited track time for the Twins with no Heat races before the Semi.
Beach and Carlile were up first in Semi 1, finishing just outside the transfer positions, ninth and 10th, respectively.
Johnson on the other hand was able to squeak through to the Main, finishing eighth in his Semi. The two-time Grand National Champion was able to get a good start from 15th to 13th and make progress forward just outside the top 10. Johnson found a line with fresh dirt that worked for him and the Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT. Unfortunately, before the halfway mark, the grip he found on track went away and he continued to lose positions, ultimately finishing 16th.
At the end of the day, the team was able to take away some information from it, and they hope to expand on that at their half-day post-race test, Sunday, March 24 at Dixie Speedway.
Jake Johnson – AFT Twins #5:
“It was a tough day right from the get-go. The track was slick right off the bat. It looked like they had a lot of moisture in it but we went out for the track walk and I was like, man, this thing is going to get slick quick, and it did. Everybody was thinking the sun goes down, moisture comes up, but it just didn’t happen. It seemed like it just got slicker and slicker as the night went on.
“The Main Event started out okay. Got a decent start and kind of dove to the bottom and was just kind of riding in the fresh dirt where really nobody had ridden all day. It seemed like I was close to the top ten, at one point, but each lap, I could see that line just getting blacker and blacker and blacker. After about lap eight, ten, no matter where I went on the track, it felt like I was on ice. I kind of moved all over the track, tried a lot of different things, and it didn’t seem to help me. I just steadily went backwards. But we learned a lot today, and it could have been a lot worse. We were able to leave with some points and have three weeks or so until Texas, so hopefully we learn some more tomorrow at the test.”
JD Beach – AFT Twins #95:
“It was definitely a rough night, but we kind of knew coming into this race we were going to struggle a little bit with the track. We were just kind of chasing the track all night and chasing the bike. With how slick it was, it made it real hard to get grip. It definitely didn’t turn out the way we had hoped, but we’ve got a month off now, three weeks or something like that. So we’ll go back and try again in Texas.”
Kolby Carlile – AFT Twins #136:
“Even though we did not make the Main Event, I’m happy with the progress we continue to make. I felt really good in that Semi; that was the best I felt all day. We just lacked track time. The shortened schedule really, for lack of a better word, sucked. Not being able to have a heat race and having to going straight into a semi is not ideal. But like I said, I’m happy that we continue to make progress and learn. I look forward to our test tomorrow and finding out some new setups.”