Courtesy of American Flat Track
It took James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) more than ten years to return to the top of the dirt track podium but only two races to get back there again. The AFT Production Twins points leader extended his championship advantage on Sunday with a victorious ride in an absolute stunner at the Springfield Mile.
Reigning champion Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) stole the holeshot but was quickly eclipsed by the twin XG750Rs of Rispoli and Chad Cose (No. 49 Wally Brown Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R).
During the opening few minutes of the race, those three were in control; Cose did the bulk of the leading over Rispoli, with Texter keeping the honest from close behind in third.
However, when Ben Lowe (No. 25 Roof Systems of Dallas/Bruce Lowe Excavating Yamaha MT-07) blasted around the outside to move into second and then Hayden Gillim (No. 159 Burcham & Glidden Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) went way low to drive under the entire pack and briefly move into the lead, all bets were off.
An astonishing final five minutes saw eight riders within a half-second of the lead, trading positions in a relentless, nearly un-trackable fashion. Virtually every line was in play and none of the eight seemed any more likely than another to get to the checkered flag first.
The wild Main Event took another twist with less than a minute remaining on the clock when Patrick Buchanan (No. 175 Parkinson Brothers Racing/PRO 1 Industries Kawasaki Ninja 650) went down and brought out the red flag.
After a short stoppage, the melee picked up right where it left off. At the restart, Varnes seized control of what had become a four-lap sprint to the stripe. Saturday’s winner held the lead spot until the clock hit 0:00 — indicating that two laps remained — and Cose and Lowe stormed up alongside.
Rispoli re-entered the picture as the white flag waved, diving under Cose to take the lead on the final lap. A perfect launch off of T4 secured the win, while Lowe and Cose also overhauled Varnes to finish in second and third, respectively.
Gillim finished fifth with Texter, Danny Eslick (No. 64 Scott Powersports/R&D Machine Kawasaki Ninja 650), Nick Armstrong (No. 60 Lessley Brothers Racing/Competitive SheetMetal Yamaha MT-07), Ryan Wells (No. 94 Parkinson Bros./Waters Autobody Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R), and Kevin Stollings (No. 99 Roof Systems/Motion Pro Kawasaki Ninja 650) finishing 6-10, all within one second of the win.
Race-winner Rispoli said, “Man, I am so stoked! I love it! I got second here last year and finished fifth yesterday and we were in a bit of a dismal place. We had to respond, and the whole Latus Motors team put together a great package today. We made a lot of changes to get in the hunt.
“It was a carnage race — absolute carnage. In the end, I fired it up the inside in Turns 3 and 4, was able to get a little bit of a gap, tucked for dear life, and no one came by. I’m fired up.”
This weekend’s races will air on NBCSN, with the Springfield Mile I set to air on Saturday, September 19, starting at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT, and the Springfield Mile II to follow on Sunday, September 20, at 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. PT. The broadcasts will include exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and the expert commentary of AFT legend Chris Carr.