In The Shadow Of Mount St. Helens
Fans were not disappointed by this year’s American Flat Track Castle Rock TT in Washington State last weekend. The Mount St. Helens Motorcycle Club had been working tirelessly to put on a knockout event and welcome back AFT Flat Track fans to their home turf for exciting racing.
Two days prior to the AFT event on Saturday, August 12th, Castle Rock Speed Week was held. This two-day amateur racing event saw local riders, as well as riders from all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond, compete in a TT on Thursday evening, August 10th and then in a ST during the day on Friday, August 11th. Exciting local racing put down a blue groove before AFT began grooming the track for Saturday’s event. Air fences replaced hay bales and a berm encircled the track. AFT haulers rolled in, and the crews began the hard work of setting up for a national event.
“Let me show you my good side!” Brothers and AFT crew members Ryan & Dylan from Texas.
By midday Saturday, August 12th everything was ready to go, and the gates opened to eager fans. Meanwhile, riders, their families, mechanics, and crews were active in the pits working, visiting with each other, and setting up for the night ahead.
Singles riders, #82 Travis Petton IV & #233 Christian Spurgeon, holding a vial of ash from the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s. Castle Rock souvenir! The Spurgeon Family from Lodi, CA.
Riders and motorcycle legends signed programs, event posters, and almost anything else fans requested during the Fan Walk in the pits before the opening ceremonies.
Smiling in 100+ degree heat are Motorcycle legend, #7 Mert Lawwill chatting while signing programs and posters for race fans with Steven Gregory of SDI Racing. Singles rider #55 Tyler Raggio signing a young fan’s helmet.
Fans cheered on their favorite riders as the heat races took place. Riders also watched from the stands nearest the track entrance gate where the pre-grid bikes were assembling. Castle Rock did not have a bad seat in the house for race fans.
Twins rider, #17 Henry Wiles enjoying the racing next to fans.
As the 450 Singles qualifying events took place, it became clear that one of the most exciting action points on the track was the sharp left-hand turn entering the infield prior to approaching the jump. This small piece of racing real-estate would not be easily surrendered by riders.
These next four shots are a series from the Singles qualifying where #51 Cole Zabala went down. He recovered to place 12th in the LQC and finished 17th in the Main.
During the Singles main event, #13 Trevor Brunner was under pressure from the very beginning by last year’s winner, #79 Dalton Gauthier.
Trevor Brunner won the Singles Main. #79 Dalton Gauthier won the Dash for Cash and finished 2nd in the Main. Excited about the Dash for Cash win, Dalton’s father gave #1 Jared Mees a fist bump heading to the pits.
Meanwhile, #16 Tanner Dean held off #18 Max Whale to take the remaining podium spot.
Tanner Dean finished 3rd in the Main. A quiet moment for Tanner watching the action at the track entrance before his race.
As the 750 Twins prepared to do battle with each other, the excitement from everyone watching had been building. Fans anticipating a win by their favorite rider, teams dreaming of clinching the top spot, and all of the hard work over the past few days by Mt. St. Helens club members and AFT crews was about to finally take place.
The 750 Twins riders walking out onto the track for the Main event. The roar we all love to hear on a Saturday night, as the riders exit Turn 1 and head for the right hander!
When the light went green, #95 JD Beach immediately took the lead. #1 Jared Mees, followed by #3 Briar Bauman who crashed trying to defend his third-place position from a determined #32 Dallas Daniels. JD Beach continued to lengthen the gap between Jared Mees and Dallas Daniels until a low side in the tight left hander changed the course of the race. After remounting, JD hunted down Mees and closed the gap to less than a bike length. A slip of the rear tire in the same spot where he went down before prevented him from making the pass. Although Dallas Daniels’ win would secure him an AMA Dirt Track Grand Slam on his riding resume, he was not overly excited that winning his first TT was at the expense of his teammate.
#32 Dallas Daniels found himself in the lead after an unexpected mishap by his teammate #95 JD Beach. #1 Jared Mees and #95 JD Beach battling for second. The intensity on the face of Indian rider Mees, says it all about a rider’s will to win. #95 JD Beach after his Dash for Cash win earlier in the evening.
#17 Henry Wiles, #67 Davis Fisher, and #69 Sammy Halbert were the next three across the line and their TT experience was formidable. Talking with G&G racing team owner L.J. at his pit after the race, he showed Geoff and I the damage to #36 Kolby Carlile’s Yamaha MT-07. As fans left the track, many stated that they would come back for next year’s Castle Rock TT and we agreed!
#36 Kolby Carlise’s iridescent body work under the lights. His gear shift lever, foot peg, and swing arm cover all were bent as evidence of the hard riding at this year’s Castle Rock TT.
Story by Barb Nickless, photos by Geoff Nickless