It was a tough home race for Estenson Racing at the Arizona Mile as Jake Johnson DNF’d in the Main and Kolby Carlile in his Semi. In spite of the best efforts of American Flat Track’s track crew, riders were met with poor track conditions in the desert heat at Turf Paradise. So, although the results of the day were disappointing, Johnson and Carlile were happy to leave round five of the American Flat Track Championship healthy.
The up-and-down day saw the two-time Grand National champ finish fifth in his Heat and just make the final cut in the Semi. Unfortunately that put Johnson near the back of the pack on a racetrack where you needed to lead to have good vision. That poor vision in the dust combined with the waning light of an early-evening AFT Twins race had the veteran choosing to pull out of the race.
Still hard at work developing the Yamaha MT-07, Johnson and his crew were not really able to gain a whole lot of headway on such a slick, inconsistent track, but there were moments where Johnson saw some of the speed that he was looking for on the big tracks, so he looks forward to a better track in Sacramento.
The day wasn’t much better for the reigning AFT Singles Champion. In spite of the rough track conditions, Carlile felt good and scored a third-place finish in his Heat. It all went pear-shaped, though, in the Semi when the “Flying Tomato’s” day ended early with a mechanical. Eager to get his first win on the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F, another stroke of bad luck was disappointing. But Carlile and crew are going back to the drawing board, putting Arizona behind them, and heading to Sacramento more motivated than ever.
Jake Johnson – AFT Twins #5:
“It was tough all day. The track was not ideal. It was dusty and bad all day long, and we struggled. We kind of had some ups and downs. We kind of showed a little speed here and there. When the track had moisture in it, we were good, but the moisture only lasted two laps.
“The Main Event, I actually got a decent start. Same thing, while there was a little bit of moisture in the track I was able to kind of hang somewhere inside the top 10 for a little bit, but it just got to the point where the track was getting drier, and I was getting worse. Going into both corners, the back straightaway… I just couldn’t see anything. So I figured instead of trying to kill myself for 12th place, just to pull her in. Looking forward to a better one next week in Sacramento.”
Kolby Carlile – AFT Singles #1:
“It was a pretty treacherous racetrack, so I’m happy to leave safe and healthy. It’s disappointing that my bike didn’t make it through the whole day and that I was cut short in the Semi and wasn’t able to make the Main Event. It’s just a bummer deal, but that’s racing. We’ll figure it out and move forward.”
Relive the action of the Arizona Mile on NBCSN, May 26 at 3:00 p.m. ET.