Courtesy of Yamaha Racing
Mikey Rush bounced back Friday night to score his first win aboard the Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F at the Williams Grove Half-Mile I in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Teammate Dallas Daniels followed him across the finish line for a stellar 1-2 finish, which tightened up the points gap in the American Flat Track AFT Singles Championship as the series approaches the halfway mark. On the AFT SuperTwins side of the tent, JD Beach and Kolby Carlile had a challenging day in slick conditions, finishing 14th and 15th, respectively.
The day got off to a difficult start as Rush struggled to find comfort on a challenging Williams Grove track. He qualified in the top 10 and earned a fourth-place finish in his Semi. When it came time for the Main Event, the high line on the track began to work its way in, and the team made some changes to the bike that paid off.
Rush got off to a flying start from the second row into the runner-up position behind his teammate. The Californian lost a position a couple of laps later, but regained it and knocked down some consistent laps behind the leader. With four laps to go, Rush made his move going into turn three, taking over the lead and holding onto for his first win of 2020. The victory helped springboard him back into the championship hunt with a 20-point gain, putting him fourth in the standings and 14-points behind the leader.
Daniels showed speed from the start, qualifying second and taking a dominant win in his Semi to start the Main Event in pole position. The 17-year-old led the first four laps before the competition took over. He countered and retook the lead, but made an error that dropped him back to fourth. Daniels regrouped and with three laps to go, made the pass for third, and took over the runner up spot on the final lap. The Illinois rider’s hard work paid off for his championship hopes, moving him to five points behind the championship leader.
The AFT SuperTwins team worked to make gains in the challenging track conditions. JD Beach got off to a good start from the fourth row of the grid to 11th. He was in a multi-rider fight for the top 10, but an error had him losing ground and out of reach of that pack, and crossing the line in 14th. His young teammate Carlile laid down some consistent laps and made some forward progress, but ultimately finished behind his teammate in 15th.
The Estenson Racing returns for more action at the Williams Grove Half-Mile later today for Round 8 of the American Flat Track season in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
Tommy Hayden – Estenson Racing Team Manager
“The AFT Singles race was a great race for the team for a lot of reasons. To finish 1-2, we’re really happy about that, really proud. It showed the strength of the team and was one of the goals for this season. Mikey has been doing such a good job for the team. I felt like a win was right there. He just had some bad luck and some silly stuff that has kept him from winning before now. Dallas was fast all day. He got behind a little bit during the race, but regrouped and rode a very mature race. The result was also really good for us points-wise. Some of the guys close to us had a bad day, so we were able to close the gap. We get to come back tomorrow and hopefully do it all over again.
“The Twins race, was definitely not what we were looking for. We tried a few different things but didn’t quite make the gains we had hoped to accomplish. Everyone is kind of putting their heads together right now to see what we can come up with for tomorrow. Hopefully, we can make some improvements and be a little stronger in race two.”
Mikey Rush – Estenson Racing AFT Singles
“We struggled a little bit earlier in the day, trying different things with the setup. We ended up making a suspension change for the Main Event, and I guess it paid off. I watched the race before ours and I saw that the top of the track was coming in. I just told myself before we took off that I would go to the top and see what happens. I started on the second row and ended up getting a great launch. I got up there, put in some smooth laps, and got by a few guys and took the lead. From there, I just kept trying to hit my marks. I couldn’t have done it without the team. It feels so great to get the win. I really wanted to do that for the guys. They work so hard during the week and over the winter. For me to get this opportunity with the Estenson Racing crew was a dream come true. It feels so great to finally get that win for them.”
Dallas Daniels – Estenson Racing AFT Singles
“I was kind of struggling at the beginning of the year with these two-day races, so I was happy to be up on the front row and be on pole. I got off to a really good start. I knew the track was changing a little bit and the top would come in towards the end of the race. When the guys came by me, I was kind of surprised. It wasn’t the guys on the front row, Ryan (Wells) and Mikey, who were on the second row, and Morgen (Mischler), who was on the third row. On a track like this, you have got to be thinking the whole race and be able to adjust. I adjusted my line and tried to make a pass on Morgen going into three, and I ended up drifting up wide. I kind of lost everything I made up. I was looking at the clock, and I didn’t have much time so I started tracking him down and made a pass on him. I knew I didn’t have enough time to catch Mikey. I think if I would have been a little smarter at the beginning of the race, I could either have been with him or been out front, but it’s all good. I was happy to bring it home in second for our first 1-2. It’s awesome for the team. I think we made a statement tonight that we’re still a force to be reckoned with in this championship, both of us. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
JD Beach – Estenson Racing AFT SuperTwins
“The track was a lot drier than I thought it would have been. So that definitely didn’t help us. We struggled in the Main. We tried some stuff, but it was just didn’t make the improvements we were hoping for. Luckily we have another day tomorrow. We’ll keep working and see what happens.”
Kolby Carlile – Estenson Racing AFT SuperTwins
“It was kind of a classic Williams Grove. It’s such a tight track on corner entry on exit, so there’s a different way that you have to approach it. You almost have to ride slower to go faster. We struggled a bit with the bike, but I’m happy with how I rode. I dug deep in the Main Event, and my laps were pretty consistent the whole way through. My fitness is really good, and at the end of the day, that’s all we can do. Just keep digging and working on getting the bike better. Eventually, we’ll have some success.”