AFT champion Bryan Smith
Defending Grand National Champion Bryan Smith took home his fourth-straight win of 2017 at the Springfield Mile.Photo: Andrea Wilson
Hayden Gillim
In the AFT Singles class Hayden Gillim dominated the Springfield TT.Photo: Andrea Wilson

American Flat Track's defending Grand National Champion Bryan Smith has yet to be defeated on a Mile in 2017. He's also won the last four races, putting him into a club of only five Grand National Championship riders to do so. But while history and record books are important to the Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by All State rider, wins are important as well to Smith's campaign for a second-straight Grand National Championship.

It was another hard-fought battle. It came down to the wire, crossing the line a mere .005 of a second over rival and fellow Indian Wrecking Crew rider Jared Mees on the Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing FTR750. But adding some spice to the mix of Indian Motorcycle dominance of late was Sammy Halbert on the Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07. Halbert had the crowd on their feet as he challenged the top two riders in the championship standings, but admittedly didn't play his cards right and got shuffled back to fourth.

Bryan Smith and Jared Mees
The title chase in the AFT Twins class is owned by these two: Smith (right) and Jared Mees (left). The pair are separated by 10 points with 12 rounds to go.Photo: Andrea Wilson
Henry Wiles
Even though the Springfield TT was not a part of the National Championship for the premier class, guys like Mees (9) and TT specialist Henry Wiles (17) pulled double duty and raced Steve Nace's All Star Expert class on Saturday.Photo: Andrea Wilson

"I've never won here at Springfield by being able to get away, so I put my head down (at the start),” Smith said. “I was hoping to break away but I saw Jared trying to reel me in so I chilled. I wasn't sure if we were cooking the tire or not. In the shootout, Sammy got up there and made it interesting for me and Jared. Heck, I didn't know who won until I came around and they handed me the checkered flag."

While the Springfield Mile is a bucket list item for American Flat Track, the Springfield TT is also a classic and made its return to the calendar of the National Championship after a five year absence.

Jesse Janisch
Jesse Janisch (132) and Gillim (95) won their Semi races, but Gillim was unbeatable in the Main.Photo: Andrea Wilson
Harley-Davidson
It wasn't all Indian dominance on the Mile.Photo: Andrea Wilson

That return was a bit more prominent on everyone’s minds after the passing of Nicky Hayden last week from injuries sustained from a bicycle accident in Italy. The 2002 Hayden Springfield TT sweep has been a part of the event’s folklore for years; within and outside the sport. So it was only fitting that a Hayden was on the top step of the podium – Hayden Gillim. Cousin of the Hayden brothers, Gillim dreamed of Springfield TT glory of his own. He achieved that dream on Saturday night, having the best night of his professional flat track career – leading every session, dominating the AFT Singles field and managing to win the race by a healthy margin, in spite of a loose brake lever.

Davis Fisher
Davis Fisher impressed at Springfield, the 2015 GNC2 Champion scored his best finish (fifth) in the premier class.Photo: Andrea Wilson
Sammy Halbert
Sammy Halbert also impressed on the Yamaha FZ-07, nearly taking the win from the Indian Wrecking Crew.Photo: Andrea Wilson

“Never had that before. I don’t know how or why, but tonight went as good as it possibly could have,” Gillim said. “I’m really happy to come in here and walk away with the win. It’s been a long time me wanting to get a national win at Springfield TT, so to actually do it, it’s a big weight off my shoulders. Now I got to come back again next year and try and do it, but we’ll see. It was honestly the best night I’ve ever had on a dirt track bike, other than when I was on like 65’s. I don’t know how it could have been better, other than maybe my front brake lever not coming loose on the warmup lap and flapping all over the place. It was an awesome night.”

Kenny Coolbeth Jr.
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. showed strength at Springfield, taking his Semi win before bad luck struck in the Main.Photo: Andrea Wilson
Brad "The Bullet" Baker
Brad Baker's still chasing his first win of 2017 and looks forward to the Red Mile this weekend, a track that suits his style.Photo: Andrea Wilson