The inaugural Buffalo Chip TT presented by Indian Motorcycle this weekend at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was evidently quite the spectacle. This was Round 13 of the 2017 American Flat Track Championship, and the checkered flag was claimed by Briar Bauman racing for Zanotti Racing on a Kawasaki Ninja 650, but not without some drama.
Three red flags, a non-win for the Indian team, and a crash by Bauman thanks to an oil leak from the bike ridden by American Flat Track’s all-time TT king, Henry Wiles.
Wiles started the main race from the pole and was on his way to a record-extending 18th career TT win, even through a pair of red flags, when his bike began leaking oil forcing Bauman to fall and bringing about a third stoppage.
Wiles' bike was too damaged to make the subsequent restart, which put Bauman at the front of the field despite his crash since he didn't cause the incident. Bauman broke away from the pack and picked up his second win of the season.
Title leader Jared Mees finished a strong second while chief rival and fellow Indian Wrecking Crew team mate, Bryan Smith, crashed early and had to settle for 12th place. Jake Johnson finished third to claim the first podium finish of the 2017 season for the works Harley-Davidson team.
Mees now claims an imposing 31-point advantage with seven races remaining to decide the championship.
In the singles class, first place went to national champion roadracer and TT legend Hayden Gillim, second and third place went to 20th-ranked Dan Bromley, and 10th-ranked Jesse Janisch. Shayna Texter did not make the main event, but still sits at the top of the points tally. A fifth place finish in the TT put Kolby "the Flying Tomato" Carlile within 15 points of Texter.
American Flat Track remains at the Sturgis with the Harley-Davidson Black Hills Half-Mile in Rapid City, S.D., this Tuesday night, August 8.
(Photo courtesy of American Flat Track and Scott Hunter.)