American Flat Track riders braved the banks of the frontstretch for the first time in the Daytona International Speedway TT and when the checkers waved, Briar Bauman scored the opening victory in Round 1 of the season.
If one looked at only the box score, he appeared to have an easy time of it. Bauman beat Henry Wiles by more than five seconds after his challenger got mired in traffic during the first half of the race. The roadblock came in the form of Briar’s brother, Bronson Bauman.
Wiles was finally able to get into second on Lap 11, but was six seconds behind the leader at the time.
The Daytona TT shaped up as a battle between Bauman and Wiles. Wiles beat Briar Bauman in Heat 1. They both won their semi and were well positioned to challenge in the feature.
Jake Johnson stood on the final step of the podium.
Jarod Vanderkooi advanced to fourth at the checkers after crashing in his semi. Bronson Bauman held on to finish fifth
Jared Mees had his own adventure during the race – crashing twice during his semi. He benefitted from a complete restart to overcome the first accident and later survived a last-lap tangle with Kayl Kollman to advance to the Main. He was off his bike for the third and final time when it lost power midway through the event.
JD Beach had an even worse outing. He threw his semi away on Lap 1 in Turn 1 when he went down with too much brake on the front.
After winning Heat 2 and his semi-feature, Jesse Janisch grabbed the early lead of the 15-lap feature and never looked back. With the flagman waving the checkers from the bottom of the banking, Janisch had enough of an advantage that he pulled a wheelie down the length of the frontstretch.
Janisch had only one victory in 2018, so he has already matched that performance.
By a margin of 2.577 seconds, he won over Dalton Gauthier, who advance to the feature after winning his semi.
Dan Bromley took the last rung of the podium.
Mikey Rush and Max Whale rounded out the top five.
Oliver Brindley won Heat 1, but while leading his semi, he crashed on Lap 1 and fell to last in the field, which forced him to take a provisional to start the feature. Provisionals can be used only once a year, so Brindley is out of mulligans for the rest of the season.
James Rispoli took a tumble and went head over teakettle on Lap 2 and finished 17th.
The Daytona TT presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys can be seen March 24 on NBCSN at 4 p.m. ET.