The Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. Flat Track program held its first full-grid race of the 2022 season at I-70 Motorsports Park in Odessa, Missouri, where seven returning riders and eight new faces took to the track.
The larger field of racers combined with a new American Flat Track venue and some wild weather conditions created a whole new race dynamic, but in the end, there was a familiar face atop the podium —Jaycee Jones topped the first 2022 BTR Flat Track race featuring the full roster, storming to victory ahead of newcomer Zaria Martens and BTR veteran Jillian Deschenes.
The women of BTR Flat Track were looking forward to a test day I-70 Motorsports Park as a final test-and-tune session ahead of the season. But due to strong winds and track equipment issues, the program was abbreviated, only leaving the women with two test sessions. From there it was trial by fire as the BTR Flat Track field took to the grid for the first official round of the season (following the "BTR Select" exhibition at the Volusia Half Mile).
Jones led the way from start to finish, never relinquishing control of the eight-lap race. Behind her, the battle to watch was between Martens and Deschenes. The two dueled throughout the race, much to the Missouri crowd's delight, with 18-year-old Martens besting veteran BTR racer Deschenes at the checkered flag.
“It was flawless racing by all 15 BTR Flat Track women, and a great start to the season,” said Breeann Poland, marketing and communications lead for Royal Enfield Americas. “Despite limited track time and the ladies not being able to get ample time on their bikes, they supported each other, offered each other advice and feedback, and went out there and put on a great race. Having 15 women from various backgrounds and personalities all under one canopy, working together with a shared competitive spirit is what we’ve always strived for.”
Through the combination of seasoned veterans and newcomers, and an overall faster field of riders, the night proved to be particularly challenging for Gabrielle Hughes, who was faced with the challenge of improving her lap times in order to line up for the main event. Through teamwork and perseverance, Hughes summoned the fortitude to slash several seconds off her lap times to card her best-ever performance.
“It was a rollercoaster of emotions for me,” Hughes said. “Our seven-session practice the day before the race but cut short after only two. The racetrack was a completely different beast the next day and the rough track terrified me. But Jillian and Zaria helped me get my head straight, and Bree lit a fire under my butt. My awesome team wouldn’t leave me behind and I went out and beat two girls. I am hungry to keep pushing forward, and each race I am going to come back stronger this season.”