There’s no place like home. So it would be extra-sweet for riders Jake Johnson and Kolby Carlile to take the win in Estenson Racing’s backyard at Turf Paradise this Saturday, May 12, on the Arizona Mile.
Leading the charge in the AFT Twins class, it will be Johnson’s first go on a Mile aboard the Yamaha MT-07, and he looks forward to seeing his machine get the chance to really stretch its legs on the big track. However, Arizona isn’t really your typical Mile. Mother Nature tends to turn up the heat and challenge both riders and the track alike, making for a technical race surface that rewards those who get a good start. Johnson, who’s had another week of rest after his big crash in Texas, is looking to prepare for the elements and get a top result at the team’s home race.
Across the tent to the AFT Singles camp, Johnson’s teammate Kolby Carlile is really looking forward to kicking off a string of Mile races in Phoenix, a place he now calls home. The New Yorker made the move to Phoenix in the winter to train, and he has spent most of his time at the team’s home base. The defending champ looks forward to being able to sleep in his own bed during the race weekend and hopes that his time in the desert will give him an extra edge over the competition to put his Yamaha YZ450F on top of the box.
Jake Johnson – AFT Twins #5:
“Arizona is always tough. Looking at the weather, it’s going to be 100-plus degrees. It’s just a tough track. It tends to be pretty technical, one-lined and it’s been fairly bumpy and rough in the past. That’s just one of those tracks where a (good) start really matters. For Miles, typically, starts aren’t that big of a deal, like Springfield, or somewhere like that where you can kind of be within the top 10 off the start and still have a chance at the end, being able to draft. But with Arizona, it’s kind of a different thing, it is a little more of a rider/setup kind of track. It’s going to be tough. So we’ll just prepare for it, drink some water, and get ready for that heat and dust. And get through there hopefully with a good finish for the team at the home race.”
Kolby Carlile – AFT Singles #1:
“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve kind of moved to Phoenix now, and I love it there. For me to be able to get up in my own bed in the morning and drive across town to the racetrack, that’s awesome. That doesn’t happen very often.
“Hopefully I got a little advantage being acclimated to the weather there compared to most of the riders, being so hot there in Phoenix. It’s a Mile. It’s the first one of the year. Usually the nerves are up a little bit. These 450’s are so strung out on these miles that it’s kind of more about riders just being safe and smart than the bikes. Anyone can win on the Mile. I’ve got a lot of fans in Phoenix and I’m hoping I can put on a strong showing and get on the box there.”
The Arizona Mile is streamed live, Saturday, May 12, on FansChoice.TV starting with practice at 2:00 p.m. ET, followed by Opening Ceremonies at 5:00 p.m. ET, Heats at 5:30 p.m. ET and the Main Events at 7:26 p.m. ET. Catch the race on NBCSN, May 26 at 3:00 p.m. ET. For tickets and additional information about the event: https://www.americanflattrack.com/events/default/view/arizona-mile-2018.