After seeing the back end of an Indian Scout FTR 750 for the majority of last season, 37 AFT Twins riders headed to Daytona International Speedway to take part in the Daytona TT, the season opening AFT event.
While 36 riders were hoping for a different outcome from last season, when the dust finally settled it was reigning series and Daytona TT champ Jared Mees on his Scout, who once again made his way to the top of the box by race end.
Early in the race it was fellow Indian rider Brad Baker with the lead as five riders broke away from the pack. As Mees tried to make his way to the front, he appeared to come into contact with Baker on a couple of occasions before making his decisive move a few laps into the race on the small chicane immediately after the jump. Mees spent the rest of the race out front despite briefly having the gap to second place close to about half a second before twisting the throttle a little harder and widening the gap once again at the finish. Mees admitted he “got a little physical” with Baker to make the pass and credited a great line over the jump which allowed him to get aggressive.
Full time roadracer and part time flat tracker JD Beach had an impressive ride aboard a Yamaha FZ-07 to take the second spot on the podium. Perhaps riding the momentum of his Superprestigio victory in Barcelona a few months ago, Beach was on a tear all day and looked like a legitimate contender until the very end. TT specialist Henry Wiles rounded out the top three on a Ninja 650 but his shot at victory was marred by a bad start.
Bike Week offered some other flat track events on the way to Daytona and a few Canadians did quite well against some stiff competition. Former Flat Track Canada champion Doug Lawrence took part in a couple of practice days as well as a couple of All-Star series events at Oglethorpe Speedway Park and Volusia Speedway. Hoping to shake out some bugs on his Kawasaki before the season really gets rolling, Lawrence won his Semi at Oglethorpe and then had a great ride from the back row in the final to take fourth. At Volusia Lawrence took third in his heat before settling for sixth in the main event against some of the best flat trackers North America has to offer.
Fifteen-year-old roadracer Alex Dumas out of Quebec had a great week as well. Taking part in some flat track races before his regular season gets underway, Dumas took a victory in the Amateur class in Volusia and also managed to grab a second place before the week was over. Bike Week regular Don Galloway kept his string of impressive finishes going as he took a first and a third in the Open Vintage class as well as a third in the plus 40 division. Joining Galloway in the plus 40 class was Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame member John Kehoe who pulled of a sixth place finish at Volusia.
Former Canadian champion Tyler Seguin had planned on running the AFT Singles class in Daytona but his week got derailed in the race at Oglethorpe Speedway. While running in his Singles main event, Seguin was tagged from behind by another rider and went down on the wickedly fast track. The end result was a broken collarbone and an early flight home for Seguin.