Kolby Carlile made a late-race charge to earn his third podium this season in American Flat Track’s Production Twins class on Saturday night in tough conditions at the Sacramento Mile. His teammates Jake Johnson and Roger Hayden had a tough night on the challenging track, with Johnson ending the night 11th and Hayden coming just short of a transfer spot to the Main Event.
Although the day didn’t start out as well as he hoped, Carlile and his team put their heads down and worked hard to make progress. He finished third in his Semi, but unfortunately got shuffled back to sixth in the Main Event. As the laps wore down, Carlile was able to make the move into the top five. Things started clicking and on the last lap he caught up with the three-rider group battling for the final spots on the podium. The 2017 AFT Singles champ was able to use his talents on the Mile to move into third in the drag race to the checkers. His podium performance at Cal Expo helped him in the title chase, moving him up to third in the standings.
In spite of the challenging track conditions, Johnson was having a decent day crossing the line fourth in the Semi. With riders opting out of the inside spot on the front row, qualifying eighth, the veteran decided to give it a go. It didn’t pan out as he was unable to get on the groove, putting him back into 11th. He worked his way up to 10th and had a solid grasp on that position until the final moments of the race when he lost grip, ultimately settling for 11th.
As for Hayden, he continued to make progress with the team in just his second Mile race of the season. The newly retired road racer’s comfort level on the Yamaha Twin continues to grow and he was able to put in some solid times, but unfortunately was unable to transfer to the Main.
The Estenson Racing squad now heads to Thunder Valley for the 73rd Peoria TT on Saturday, August 17, in Peoria, Illinois.
Kolby Carlile – AFT Production Twins #136:
“I’m super-excited about my podium finish. The day turned out way better than I thought it was going to. I came in here with expectations to win, as I do at every race, but the track was pretty rough. We kept trying different things today. In the Semi, we had a good result and we finished third. I had a bad start, so I was a little ways back, but I knew I had the speed to win.
“In the Main Event, we almost didn’t even make it out. The bike wouldn’t fire up. I went out there blind without a lap, and they had watered the track. So I was kind of nervous. I got an okay start, but they had a red flag so that was good. I had time to calm down and collect myself. Then I got a good start on the restart, but I just fell back to sixth, and I couldn’t do anything with it. I sat there for more than half the race, and then I passed for fifth with about five laps to go. At that point, I just completely dropped a second off my lap time and I just ran down second, third, and fourth out of nowhere. I was able to make a last-lap, final straightaway pass to get third place. The bike was working really good. The crew did awesome today, so I have to thank them a lot.”
Jake Johnson – AFT Twins #5:
“Coming into this race, I knew it was going to be tough for us early on… just the way this place is. It’s kind of slick and skittery until it gets a groove laid down. It was weird all day. To me it didn’t seem like a typical Sacramento. The corners were kind of broken up and dusty. It never really got a good, solid, hooked-up groove on it. We just struggled all day.
“In the Main Event, I felt okay the first third of the race. I was back, but it was kind of a big, long train. I was kind of hanging there with it, then it seemed like one lap it was okay and the next lap all of a sudden, the track just completely dried out. In the middle of the corners, what was there for a groove was gone and it was just a dry dust. I pretty much just hung on. We’re back to a TT again next weekend. We know how to turn right. We’ve just got to keep working on turning left.”
Roger Hayden – AFT Twins #95:
“Yeah, it was tough one. I made a lot of improvements throughout the day and actually was going pretty good in the Semi. There were just a lot of fast guys in there, and I missed the Main. I’m getting better and more comfortable. Even though I didn’t make the Main, my lap times were pretty good in my Semi. I’m definitely disappointed, but Peoria is next week. We get to try again. Being able to get the track time and get more comfortable on the bike has been huge. I had fun. I would just like to do a little better, but that’s part of it.”