Henry Wiles at Buffalo Chip in Sturgis
Henry Wiles was the man to beat, until misfortune struck the TT-specialist in the Main.Andrea Wilson

There were a host of unknowns going into the inaugural Buffalo Chip TT. It was American Flat Track's first purpose built TT track inside a rock concert venue: the legendary Buffalo Chip Campgrounds in Sturgis, South Dakota. It was the first time turn one was a right turn. In fact there were two right turns and a lot of corners for flat track regulars; it was really a road course on dirt. It was also the opening act for a rock concert, so timeliness was of the essence.

Buffalo Chip TT winner
Briar Bauman took home his second win of the season.Andrea Wilson

No one really knew what to expect, but it’s rally time in Sturgis and it was a safe bet that rock n’ roll and flat track go well together. And boy did it. American Flat Track’s best put on a great display of racing in front of a packed house. The crowd was electric and there was plenty of action, drama and great racing.

DPC Racing’s Henry Wiles, the winningest TT rider in the history of the sport, was poised for another dominant TT victory. After the third restart, disaster struck Wiles when his machine started leaking oil after a hard landing, Briar Bauman, right behind Wiles, subsequently was launched into the air fence. Wiles night was done, but Bauman’s was just beginning. The Zanotti Racing rider was able to restart the race at the front (since his crash was no fault of his own) and went on to score his second win of the season.

Jared Mees at Sturgis
Jared Mees (9) was hoping for better, but a second-place finish paid dividends as his rival Bryan Smith (not pictured) struggled.Andrea Wilson
Sturgis flat track rock and roll show
The atmosphere was befitting of the Sturgis Rally’s reputation for a good time as fans flocked to the Chip for a night of racing and rock n’ roll.Andrea Wilson

It was also a big night for Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team's Jake Johnson who scored his first podium with a third-place finish. The win was a big boost for Johnson and the Harley factory squad as a whole, who have been in the doldrums while they've been hard at work to develop the new XG750.

The night had championship implications as well. Although Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing's Jared Mees was hoping to take home another TT win, a second-place finish was a valuable-points haul since his title rival Bryan Smith had a rough night, coming in 12th after a crash early on in the race. Sitting 31 points behind Mees, the Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate rider needs to rebound at the Harley-Davidson Black Hills Half-Mile Tuesday night, August 8.

Harley-Davidson XG750 flat track bike
Jake Johnson (5) had solid night with a Semi win and his first podium finish of the season. It was a much-needed boost for Johnson and his Harley-Davidson Factory squad who have been in the development phase with the XG750.Andrea Wilson

X Games winner Sammy Halbert had a rough night as well, suffering a broken chain on the final lap of his Semi race. But with some last-minute heroics, the Estenson Racing rider ran his ailing bike across the finish line to score the final transfer position to the Main. Halbert carried that motivation over to the Main, and worked his way up from the back of the grid to cross the finish line fourth. Halbert’s push to the front on the Yamaha also made it four manufacturers finishing in the top four.

Buffalo Chip TT crash
On the flip side, teammate Brandon Robinson’s night ended early with a crash in the Semi.Andrea Wilson

The AFT Singles race was less dramatic, but not without entertainment. Hayden Gillim put on an absolute masterclass performance take his third-career win, all of which were on TTs. Joining the Cycle World Suzuki rider on the podium was privateer racers Dan Bromley on the Big Momma & Daddy Deep Pockets Racing KTM and Jesse Janisch on the West Bend Harley-Davidson Yamaha.

Brad "the Bullet" Baker at Sturgis
Brad Baker and his Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate squad struggled as well, but they were able to make improvements in time for the Main, and for Baker to finish sixth.Andrea Wilson
Bryan Smith at Sturgis flat track race
Baker’s teammate Smith had a roller coaster night, finishing second in his Heat but crashing early in the Main.Andrea Wilson
Slammin Sammy Halbert at Sturgis race
Sammy Halbert’s never-give-up attitude won over more fans as he ran his bike across the finish line to take the last transfer spot to the Main.Andrea Wilson
flat track framer
11- Nothing like jumping a 300-plus-pound framer under the lights at the Chip.Andrea Wilson
Cycle World Suzuki rider Hayden Gillim
Hayden Gillim schooled the competition, with an over four-seconds cushion across the line.Andrea Wilson
American Flat Track Sturgis podium
Jesse Janisch (132) and Dan Bromley (92) joined Gillim on the AFT Singles podium.Andrea Wilson