DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 14, 2022) – Despite all the advance hype of a four-way title fight, Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) stole the show by earning his long-awaited maiden Progressive American Flat Track premier-class victory in Friday night’s Mission Volusia Half-Mile Finale I presented by Daytona Dodge and Zo CBD at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
After working past holeshot winner Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) approximately one minute into the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle Main Event, ‘VDK’ spent the remainder of the race with the title contenders packed up close behind him, each one viewing him as a potential points buffer should they prove capable of slotting him between themselves and their rivals.
But after coming oh-so-close so often before, Vanderkooi refused to be their pawn and was instead the king, on this night at least.
“I’ll always remember getting my first win here in Barberville, Florida,” Vanderkooi said. “I’ve been racing here for a long, long time – 85s, 250s, 450s. I’ve got a lot of laps around this place, but that didn’t help my nerves any with two champions right behind me.
“That was awesome. Thank you to everyone who believed in me so much. My mechanic, my girlfriend, my parents, Ben Evans, everyone on the Mission Roof Systems team… I can’t wait to line them back up tomorrow – this was the spark I needed.”
Still, the championship complexion was altered drastically even with the 25-point prize off the board. Daniels ultimately crashed out of fourth with less than three minutes to go. Forced to start from the back of the staggered restart, the rookie ace could manage just 12th and was mathematically eliminated from title contention as a result.
At the same time, Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) pulled off a sensational, around-the-outside overtake on Briar Bauman (No. 3 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) to steal away runner-up honors in the race’s final corner, which all but eliminated Bauman as well.
Just behind, JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) took full advantage of the restart to leap up the order and then hold off Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) for fourth by 0.060 seconds at the checkered flag.
Due to Mees’ last-lap heroics, the reigning champ now leads Beach and Bauman by 23 and 25 points, respectively. That means Mees needs just a 16-place finish to take the title even in the event of a Beach victory. Meanwhile, Bauman’s only hope is to win and beat Mees via the tiebreaker in the unlikely chance that Mees goes home empty-handed tomorrow evening.
Davis Fisher (No. 67 Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750) finished sixth. He was followed to the stripe by Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R), Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Corbin Seats/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07), Brandon Price (No. 92 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07), and Ben Lowe (No. 25 Rackley Racing/Mission Foods Indian FTR750), who rounded out the top ten.
Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines title leader Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) took a major step toward the acquisition of his first-career Progressive AFT championship by scoring his seventh win of the year on Friday night.
Janisch was hounded throughout – yet ultimately aided in his championship aspirations – by a hungry pack of decorated part-timers that consisted of Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Corbin Seats/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07), Kolby Carlile (No. 36 KC36 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XG750R), James Rispoli (No. 43 Wally Brown Racing/Haversack KTM 890 Duke), and Mikey Rush (No. 15 Helipower Racing/Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XG750R).
The Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson ace managed to fight off their advances, placing them between himself and his title rival, defending class champion Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07).
In the end, Texter could only muster a sixth-place finish in a race he really needed to win to retain realistic hopes at the crown. It could have been (slightly) worse. Rispoli crashed out of fourth late, bringing out a red flag and providing Texter another shot with a bunched up field. While he was unable to mount a charge, he did pick up one position due to Rispoli’s absence and still has an outside shot heading into tomorrow’s finale.
Just how far outside? Janisch now leads by 21 points (309-288), which means he needs just a 15th-place result on Saturday to secure the coveted #1 plate.
“Oh, this is a high,” Janisch said. “Today didn’t start well; we were 15th in practice and 10th in the first qualifying session. But the team was awesome. We just kept working at it and ended up getting on pole. I looked over (on the grid) and thought, ‘Today is an awesome day to have good friends,’ because I had a whole front row of people I’m friends with.
“We’re stoked. The Vance & Hines team is amazing. It’s been an unreal year. We’ve got one more. Let’s try to finish it off. Anything can happen, but we just need four more points.”
Runner-up Bromley continued his perfect podium streak on the season, notching up his seventh top-three in seven attempts. Meanwhile, Carlile’s third saw him return to the podium for the first time since the season’s second round after missing ten rounds while recovering from injury.
Rush came home fourth, followed by Bromley’s teammate, Cole Zabala (No. 51 Memphis Shades/Corbin Seats/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07), who kept Texter at bay for fifth.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
With his championship campaign successfully done and dusted, recently crowned Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER champion Kody Kopp (No. 12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) reminded the field exactly why he’s the category’s new master.
Freed up to once again push at his maximum, Kopp made a stunning restart from the second row following an early red flag, winding his way through tight quarters and all the way up into second. Moments later, he executed an aggressive inside strike on Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) to take control of the lead.
Once clear at the front, Kopp set sail toward his seventh victory of the season, moving him to within one of equaling Dallas Daniels’ single-season class record of eight. The triumph was not just Kopp’s first win in six races, but his first podium over that span full stop.
He said, “We went a long three-and-a-half months without a podium or a win. This feels so good. It’s really hard to race a championship and not think about the points. As much as I want to say I wasn’t, the whole time I was. We got that done last time out, and now we just won Volusia. Let’s do it again tomorrow.”
Just as the fight for second place in the championship continues to rage, so it did as well in Friday’s Main Event. Brunner battled hard but was ultimately displaced and left in the wake of Trent Lowe (No. 48 Mission Foods/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda CRF450R) and Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R).
In the end, Lowe edged Gauthier for the position, while Brunner picked up fourth less than a second back. Meanwhile, Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) edged Chase Saathoff (No. 106 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) and Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) for fifth.
As a result, the struggle for second is only that much tighter. Brunner currently leads that effort with 237 points, followed closely by Mischer (233), Gauthier (230), and Whale (220).
The Mission Volusia Half-Mile Finale I will premiere on FS1 on Sunday, October 23, at 11:00 a.m. ET/8:00 a.m. PT, while the Mission Volusia Half-Mile Finale II will air one week later, on Sunday, October 30, at 10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT. Both broadcasts will include exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and expert commentary.
You can catch the livestream of all the weekend’s racing activities on FansChoice.tv
provides free-to-view livestreaming of Practice and Qualifying. FansChoice.tv
ribers will then be able to watch the drama unfold from Opening Ceremonies through the Semis, Main Events, and podium celebrations. FansChoice.tv
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