The sport of flat track motorcycle racing will be featured on the world stage tonight, June 2, when America’s original extreme sport makes its second appearance in ESPN’s popular action sports showcase, the X Games. Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing will help kick off the extreme sports spectacular on its opening day from Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Many of the top AMA Pro Flat Track riders will be competing for a chance to stamp their names in the history books forever, and fans can catch all of the action live on ESPN tonight at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT).
All but two of the 23 riders invited to compete in the X Games are active AMA Pro Flat Track riders in the premier Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class. Reigning GNC1 champion Jared Mees will be challenged by Factory Harley-Davidson riders Brad Baker and Davis Fisher, Kawasaki pilot Bryan Smith, three-time champion Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. and other elite riders selected from the best flat trackers in the world.
Mees will race his Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XR750 with a vengeance this year. After dominating much of the X Games competition last year, the Michigan native suffered from a dramatic mechanical while leading on the last lap of the race, handing the victory to archrival Smith. No stranger to the half-mile circuit at Circuit of The Americas, Mees secured an AMA Pro Flat Track win here in April and is determined to pull off another win tonight.
Smith enters the X Games as the defending gold medalist and one of the hottest riders on the planet right now. Smith took the checkered flag in last year’s summer shootout in Austin, he’s coming off three straight wins in AMA Pro Flat Track competition and he’s leading the series point standings. The Flint, Mich. native will look to continue his streak of dominance in Austin this weekend aboard the powerful No. 42 Crosley Radio Kawasaki Ninja 650.
Coolbeth is another rider expected to be among the favorites at the X Games. At 39 years old, he’s the veteran of the field in AMA Pro Flat Track, has more wins to his credit than any other active rider and is not showing any signs of backing down. Coolbeth has scored six victories over the last three seasons on his No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson.
Teammates Baker and Fisher will carry the flag for Harley-Davidson aboard the No. 6 and No. 67 factory machines. Baker will pilot the legendary XR750, while young gun Fisher will compete aboard Harley-Davidson’s next generation twin-cylinder flat track racing machine, the XG750R. Last weekend at the Springfield Mile I, Fisher proved the power of the new bike during its competition debut and secured a top 10 finish.
Last year, Cory and Shayna Texter made X Games history by becoming the first brother and sister to compete against each other. Shayna Texter, who will ride the No. 52 Kawasaki Ninja 650, is the first female rider to win an AMA Pro Flat Track event, which she did in Knoxville, Iowa, in 2011. Cory Texter will race the No. 65 Kawasaki Ninja 650.
Adding international flair to the Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing is Michael Kirkness and Doug Lawrence, who hail from Australia and Canada, respectively. Kirkness will race the No. 87 Harley-Davidson XR750 and Lawrence will pilot the No. 73 Kawasaki Ninja 650.
Road racing superstar Larry Pegram has established himself as a prominent racer at both the national and global level, and on Thursday night, he’ll put his dirt track skills to the ultimate test when he takes to the track in Austin. Pegram is the oldest Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing athlete competing at X Games Austin in 2016, and the 23-year road racing veteran will look to run with the young bucks this weekend.
The Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing will broadcast live on ESPN tonight, June 2 starting at 9 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT). In addition, X Games Austin will be televised globally in 193 countries and territories to more than 534 million home, including live coverage in Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Latin America, the Middle East, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Asia.
Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing Entry List:
- No. 1 Bryan Smith – Kawasaki Ninja 650
- No. 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 5 Jake Johnson – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 6 Brad Baker – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 9 Jared Mees – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 10 Johnny Lewis – Ducati Hypermotard 1100
- No. 14 Briar Bauman – Kawasaki Ninja 650
- No. 16 Wyatt Maguire – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 17 Henry Wiles – Kawasaki Ninja 650
- No. 20 Jarod Vanderkooi – Kawasaki Ninja 650
- No. 23 Jeffrey Carver, Jr. – Kawasaki Ninja 650
- No. 27 Robert Pearson – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 44 Brandon Robinson – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 49 Chad Cose – Kawasaki Ninja 650
- No. 52 Shayna Texter – Kawasaki Ninja 650
- No. 55 Jake Shoemaker – Triumph Bonneville
- No. 65 Cory Texter – Kawasaki Ninja 650
- No. 67 Davis Fisher – Harley-Davidson XG750R
- No. 69 Sammy Halbert – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 72 Larry Pegram – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 73 Doug Lawrence – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 87 Michael Kirkness – Harley-Davidson XR750
- No. 98 Kayl Kolkman – Kawasaki Ninja 650