Ryan Wells rode a superb race to score his first AFT Singles Main Event win with the Estenson Racing team to cap off a perfect night at the So-Cal Half-Mile, round five of the American Flat Track season.
Victory was sweet for the 2016 Singles Champion and his new team who have had a roller-coaster ride of the season. The podium finish at the team’s home race in Chandler, Arizona, for the Super TT was a nice boost, and Wells and crew were happy to build on that to get the results they were aiming for – the top step of the podium aboard the Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F.
The cherry on top was a Heat win, a Semi win and the win everyone lines up for, crossing the line with a healthy gap to take his eighth Main Event win in the support class.
Meanwhile, the team’s AFT Twins riders had a day of mixed blessings. It was a struggle in tough track conditions, but also a step forward in developing the all-new Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT. JD Beach, fresh off of his win at the Super TT, was the fastest qualifier in the AFT Twins class. It was a big boost for the team, which is in the early stages of development for their new flat track racer.
Two-time Grand National Champion Jake Johnson also made forward progress with the new machine, but felt that tire choice hurt him early on. It was stiff competition on the timing sheets, and Johnson had a tough start in the Semi on a track that made it difficult to pass, which left him out of the Main and unable to use his provisional.
Beach finished fourth in his Semi and had a good position for the start of the Main Event, but he got penalized for a jumped start and was put on the back row. That did not stop him from getting a flying start from the back of the row to seventh as the pack crossed the line on the first lap. He got a second chance on the restart but his leg got snagged in a hole on the track and slowed his forward progress.
The Estenson Racing squad heads to Northern California for the legendary Sacramento Mile on Saturday, May 18.Ryan Wells – AFT Singles #94:
“I won seven races in the Singles class before this one, and this was by far the coolest one. After all that we’ve been through, all that we battled against at the beginning of the year, and finding ourselves digging a huge hole from the start… To come out today and win the Heat, win the Semi, and win the Main, it was just unbelievable. Everything was perfect. There was never a time when we came off the track and doubted anything. I knew we were capable of winning, but it just seems like we fought against ourselves. We weren’t letting everything flow together like we knew it should. So, for us to finally click it off, it feels awesome. I think this is the first of many to come this year.”
JD Beach – AFT Twins #95:
“I think our result didn’t really show how much we improved with the bike. It was feeling good. In the Semi, I felt really good. Every time I got on the bike, we kept improving it. I think we learned a lot tonight. In the Main, I feel like we had a bike that we could have fought for a top five or so, or at least been close. I was feeling good in the race and then I caught my foot in a hole going into turn three and it ripped it back hard. I think I got passed by about three guys or so. I took a few laps and kind of gathered myself a little bit. I thought my hotshoe came off, so I was trying to check for that. It was good. I kept trying to push through it but my leg was pretty sore.
“I’m always out there looking to win, but I’m happy because I think we have learned some stuff with the bike, and the bike has gotten better. We’re taking small steps. I’m looking forward to next weekend to get on the Mile and see what we can do there.”
Jake Johnson – AFT Twins #5:
“I guess you can say it was kind of a disaster. It was definitely not what we were shooting for, but it was a weird night. There were a lot of guys struggling; a lot of the guys who are winning every week and were mid-pack. It was definitely a weird night, so you can’t get too discouraged.
“There were some positives in the day. We’re making a lot of progress. I’m ready to just go into the Miles. All year, I think that’s what we have felt was going to be one of our stronger points. We’ll see. Going to forget about this weekend and head into Sac.”