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TOPIC: Weekend at the Races

Weekend at the Races 16 May 2019 19:56 #91

  • Tom S.
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On Saturday, March 27, the day after I saw all of those cool airplanes, the American Flat Track national championship series visited Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (formerly Firebird Intl. Raceway) in Chandler, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix. Wild Horse is a big multi-use facility, with a man-made lake for boat races, a drag strip, large paved areas for drifting and road racing, and a dirt track for off-road truck racing. That dirt track was used for the Arizona Super TT motorcycle race. The racing surface is wide and smooth. There are left and right hand turns and multiple jumps. There are four TT events on this year's eighteen race AFT schedule.

As usual, there were two classes for twin cylinder and single cylinder bikes. Both classes were won by Yamahas. The twins class win gave Yamaha its first victory in flat track racing's top class since 1981. Rider JD Beach (95) came from far behind on his Yamaha MT-07-powered machine to pass the Indian FTR750 of Briar Bauman (14) by a narrow margin. Beach is originally from Snohomish, Wash., but now lives in Kentucky. Being from the Pacific Northwest myself, I've known Beach and his family since he was a child. In addition to the AFT championship, Beach is also pursuing the MotoAmerica road racing championship. He won a Superkike race in Virginia one week after the Arizona event.

The singles class was won by Wisconsin rider Jesse Janisch (132) on a Yamaha YZ450F. Janisch has multiple race wins to his credit and led this one from flag to flag.

Former motocross, supercross, and supermoto champion, off road and Indy car racer Jeff Ward (336) is contesting the TT rounds of this year's AFT series. 57-year-old Wardy ran well with the youngsters in the singles class, but did not make the main event. He finished two positions out of a transfer spot in his qualifying race.















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Last Edit: by Tom S..

Weekend at the Races 16 May 2019 21:01 #92

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Thanks for posting all this, just great. I live in the wrong part of the world.
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Weekend at the Races 16 May 2019 22:56 #93

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WOW, that Indian is one bad ass lookin' bike eh? Looks fast just sittin' there!

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Weekend at the Races 17 May 2019 04:32 #94

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As always, your pictures are awesome! Thank you for sharing them.

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71 Z50 Minitrail
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Weekend at the Races 17 May 2019 11:43 #95

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I used to watch Jeff Ward race XR75s on a TT track in Blythe, CA in the early 70s. His biggest west coast rival at that time was a kid from Parker, AZ where I lived at the time named Dougie Beard, I was friends with his older brother. I have a Mini bike magazine somewhere from that era with a feature on their rivalry.

I got to watch Ward race Indy a few times which was a thrill seeing someone I saw as a kid racing in the big time.
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68 DT1, 70 DT1C MX, 71 CT1C, 71 RT1B, 71 DT1E MX, 73 AT3MX, 70 Husqvarna 250 Cross, 57 Matchless G80CS, 76 Honda Elsinore; 2015 Yamaha FZ-09

Weekend at the Races 17 May 2019 13:27 #96

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Didn't the magazines dub Jeff Ward "the flying freckle" back in his mini days?

Jeff's eventual father-in-law and my Dad have been good friends for 50 years or more... Gerald used to come by where I worked in Corona all the time...

Gerald is quite a character... his Dad was a poor Italian immigrant who started out picking fruit and ended up building a small empire in the Corona area in the clay business. Real "American dream" rags to riches story.

Gerald built and owns the Supercross practice tracks in Corona that the major teams rent... He let me practice on one of the tracks when I was racing Glen Helen and eventually Mickey Thompson Superlites. Really helped me dial-in my suspension as the Stadium bike tracks were WAY rougher with monster jumps compared to the Stadium Car and Truck tracks... especially since I could only practice after the factory teams used the track and before it was groomed again for their next practice. I spent hours and hours and hours after work taking apart my shocks and re-valving them. He even pulled out a roll of bills and gave me a few hundred dollars for the entry fee money to sponsor my first Mickey Thompson races. Great memories.

Jeff was running Indy at the time... Gerald spoke highly of him all the time... unfortunately I never got to meet Jeff.
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1963 YG1-T, 1965 MG1-T, Allstate 250, 1970 CT1b, 1971 R5, 1973 AT3MX, 1974 TS400L, 1975 RD350, 1976 DT175C, 1976 Husqvarna 250CR, 1981 DT175G, 1988 DT50, 1990 "Super" DT50, 1991 RT180, 2017 XT250

Weekend at the Races 17 May 2019 13:41 #97

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What and experience, great story Mark!

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Weekend at the Races 17 May 2019 14:48 #98

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Mark, I don't remember when the flying freckle came about, sorry, I am hoping to find the magazine when I start going through some of the crap I have after I retire, I'm not even sure Jeff raced XR75s, I know there were JT1s and XR75s and both could be really fast.

Another story I recall about Ward was I think SuperHunky talking about what they did with rental cars. They would rent them and use the hand brakes to perform what sounded like the precursor to drifting on the way to races.

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68 DT1, 70 DT1C MX, 71 CT1C, 71 RT1B, 71 DT1E MX, 73 AT3MX, 70 Husqvarna 250 Cross, 57 Matchless G80CS, 76 Honda Elsinore; 2015 Yamaha FZ-09

Weekend at the Races 17 May 2019 15:25 #99

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I remember those rental cars stories too Mike... I remember them talking about throwing it into reverse at 60 mph and flooring it to see who could do the best powerslide... all kinds of crazy stuff...

There were some really good "bench racing" stories in those 1970's magazines... Super Hunky was always great fun to read...

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1963 YG1-T, 1965 MG1-T, Allstate 250, 1970 CT1b, 1971 R5, 1973 AT3MX, 1974 TS400L, 1975 RD350, 1976 DT175C, 1976 Husqvarna 250CR, 1981 DT175G, 1988 DT50, 1990 "Super" DT50, 1991 RT180, 2017 XT250

Weekend at the Races 17 May 2019 19:44 #100

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All of these great stories about Jeff Ward...and I forgot to post the photo.

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