The two-part Springfield Mile I was a bag of mixed results for the Estenson Racing Team, with an impressive ninth-place finish for semi-retired racer Ronnie Jones and disappointing results for the team’s regulars – Jake Johnson and Kolby Carlile – at round seven of the American Flat Track AFT Twins Championship.
In just his third ride on the Estenson Racing Indian Scout FTR750 after more than three years away from AFT Twins racing, Jones sure hit the ground running at the World’s Fastest Dirt Oval. The 57-year-old finished third in his Heat on Sunday, then carried that momentum into the rain-delayed race on day two with a fifth-place finish in his Semi before scoring a top-10 finish in the Main. It was no surprise for Jones to improve on his 14th-place finish at Sacramento a week earlier. The more the veteran rides, the better he gets.
As for Jake Johnson, it’s been a case of growing frustration. He had a good showing in the Heat race on the Yamaha MT-07, finishing fourth. But on Monday, the two-time Grand National Champion was searching for better and decided to pull out all the stops in the Semi. Unfortunately, it backfired on Johnson when he blew the groove and took himself out of the running for a Main transfer. Now the next step for Johnson and the Team is to go back to the drawing board and come back swinging as the series gets closer to the halfway mark.
Joining the AFT Twins veterans on the big track was a new kid, the defending AFT Singles Champion. Although low on energy from a grueling day at the Springfield TT the day before, Carlile was reinvigorated by the joy of his debut AFT Twins ride, made possible by opting to use his provisional status. The “Flying Tomato” was comfortable straight away on his Estenson Racing Indian Scout FTR750 and showed great promise running amongst the world’s best flat track racers. Unfortunately for Carlile, his day was cut short by a mechanical during his Heat race.
Jake Johnson – AFT Twins #5:
“Don’t really have a whole lot to say. The weekend was going about normal. I was a bit off the pace, as usual. Had a decent result during my Heat on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, I kind of got tired of riding around mid-pack, so I made a few moves in the Semi that caused me to blow the groove and cost us a spot in the Main Event. It was a little bit of impatience on my part, but I wanted to lay it all out there and see what happened; it backfired.”
Kolby Carlile – AFT Twins #36:
“I felt really good. I think the Twin suits me a little more because I’m kind of a bigger rider. I feel good on it. The Indian and me really connect well. In my Heat race, I was running fourth briefly before my mechanical. I think we got cut a little short there. It kind of stinks, but it is what it is. We’ll move on. We know now the most important thing — that I have the speed and capability to run at the front of the Twins class. At least we’re in the hunt.”
Ronnie Jones – AFT Twins #266:
“With as little racing as I do — a couple times a year — every time I ride I keep saying the rust falls off and then I go a little faster. I guess that’ll be true until there is nothing left but rust; when everything falls off I’ll be too old and won’t have anything left. At least at this point I’ve been able to, the more I ride, get up to speed. Even to me it’s somewhat surprising to feel as comfortable as I do. I’m thankful to have finished this well, but I expected to do better than I did at Sacramento. “
Relive the action of the Springfield TT and Springfield Mile on NBCSN, June 9 at 5:00 p.m. ET.