Story and photos by Michael Marino
BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Bradon Pfanders and Colton Smith won multiple championships as the three-round 2019 AMA Daytona Bike Week Flat Track Championship Series, an AMA Major Event, concluded on Tuesday.
Pfanders and Smith were among 18 riders to win a total of 23 AMA No. 1 plates at the only AMA Major Event in a track racing discipline.
The last round of the series took place on the short track at Volusia Speedway Park. The first round took place on the half-mile track at Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Pooler, Ga., on March 9. The second round took place Monday on Volusia Speedway Park’s half-mile track.
Bradon Pfanders (No. 88) edged out Evan Renshaw (No. 65) for the win in Tuesday's 85cc Modified (7-11) race
Pfanders, of Bethlehem, Pa., won the 65cc Modified (7-11), 85cc DTX (7-11) and 85cc Modified (7-11) titles. He rode a KTM 85 SX in the 85cc classes and a Kawasaki KX65 in the 65cc class.
He said it was a difficult path to one of his three championships.
“Yesterday, the engine failed on my 65cc bike, and we had to swap the motor,” he said. “We got third on the half mile yesterday and got a win today on the short track.”
His won his 85cc Modified (7-11) class title in dramatic fashion. Not content to settle for a championship-winning second place, Pfanders made an aggressive last lap, last corner move to sweep all three victories in that class.
Pfanders’ father Rich was impressed with his son’s performance in the series.
“I saw a tenacity from him that I never expected,” he said. “He told me before we came down here that he was coming here to make a statement to the kids we race with back home. It definitely wasn’t easy on our end, but he got it done out on track.”
Colton Smith won two AMA No. 1 plates when the 2019 AMA Daytona Bike Week Flat Track Championship Series wrapped up on Tuesday
For Smith, who hails from Street, Md., his championships in the 450cc Modified and 450cc Open Singles classes were far from easy.
“It was a very stressful week of racing, especially with the short track being the last race,” he said. “I’m not exactly a half-miler and I’m on a bike that’s 14 years old, which is probably older than some of the kids I was racing.”
The series marked Smith’s return to racing from a serious injury.
“I was not expecting to win this at all,” he said. “I had broke my back, and am just now getting back into it. It felt great to be out there again.”
Two other riders, Aiden Roosevans and Christoper Achatz, also won two championships a piece.
The AMA Vintage Flat Track National Championship Series was also in action on the short track at Volusia Speedway Park on Tuesday
The third round of the AMA Vintage Flat Track National Championship Series also took place on the short track at Volusia Speedway Park on Tuesday.
Riders Johnny Bova Li of Wadsworth, Ohio, and Tommy Hannum of Wayne, Pa., each took two wins and were among 10 riders to score race victories on the day.