ELBRIDGE, N.Y. (July 8, 2017)– American Flat Track was back in action following a two-week haitus for the Rolling Wheels Half-Mile presented by Old Carriage House Apartments, and it was a long two weeks indeed for Jared Mees.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (June 17, 2017)– American Flat Track's return visit to the OKC Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle in Oklahoma City, Okla., lived up to every bit of the hype on Saturday night at Remington Park.
WOODSTOCK, GA (March 27, 2017) – Indian Motorcycle Racing continues its remarkable return to American Flat Track, as Jared Mees, Brad Baker and Bryan Smith sweep the podium at the Atlanta Short Track with first, second and third place finishes, respectively.
Jared Mees took his Rogers Racing Indian Scout FTR750 to a solid win in the opening race of the new era of American Flat Track, the 25-lap Harley-Davidson Daytona Twins TT at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday night. The win was the first success for Indian in the modern era, and gave them a head start in the 20-round 2017 AFT national championship against arch rival Harley-Davidson.
Victory in the first-ever Daytona TT was the 21st Grand National success for Mees, who also earned the Ohlins Award for the fastest Twins lap of the event on the brand new track.
Daytona marked the first time since the Peoria TT in 1983 that twins raced in a TT-style main event, although Daytona’s sole jump was very low key. There are three more TT events this season; another change to recent trends is the requirement that all Twins riders wear leathers rather than motocross gear in 2017.
Second overall in the feature race went to the second works Indian of veteran Bryan Smith, a lengthy nine seconds behind Mees in a race with significant attrition at the front. After starting on the outside of the second row of the grid on his Kawasaki KX-framed twin, Henry Wiles worked his way up to nab third at the finish, just behind Smith.
The best placing liquid-cooled Harley was fourth placed Jacob Johnson, just ahead of fifth overall Bronson Bauman on another Kawasaki Ninja twin.
“The race was great,” explained Mees from the podium. “We were making adjustments, after the heats and semis, and working things through, right until the last minute. I got a great start in the main, and I really think that was the biggest key. I just want to make a real shout out to our entire team. It’s the start we need.”
Reigning champ Smith said that he was happy with his Indian debut. “I really wanted to be the one to get that first win,” Smith admitted, “but we’re all still stoked for Indian. You have to be satisfied with the performance of a brand new bike, with all the unknowns.”
“That race was a lotta fun,” started Wiles, famous for his high fitness level and one of just a couple of riders at Daytona who stuffed a twin engine into an MX frame rather than a conventional ‘framer’ chassis. “We were shooting a little higher, but this was only the second time out with a new bike, and the other guys were a little faster in a straight line. I didn’t even know we were racing for second there at the end, so the podium is a good start.”
Former Canadian Flat Track champ Doug Lawrence was on hand to watch the event. “Fresh” isn’t sure when he will open his 2017 dirt track campaign, since he is focused on his new Suzuki Canada Mopar CSBK road racing program. Lawrence was testing at the Jennings G.P. venue earlier in the week aboard a Jon Cornwell-built older model GSX-R1000, and was happy to be back on track, as well as doing some bicycle training and motocross down south.
“I think the track was pretty good, they did the best with what they had,” said Lawrence of the new Daytona TT layout, pre-built under the just-used Monster Supercross track in the tri-oval area in front of the NASCAR pit lane. “It got to be one line, kind of hard to pass, but if they went the other way it would have been just too rough and gnarly.
“I don’t know if the track was too much fun to ride at the end there, so you had to be impressed with the Indians, and they basically ran what they had been testing last year. Obviously, it was tougher for the Harley guys, and they had their issues.
“You had to like the way the Indians worked,” continued Lawrence. “They had good power, but more than that they had super clean delivery, from really low down, in the tight stuff. That makes things easier. Now everyone has to get used to the new (AFT race) format, but that won’t take long.”
Dalton Gauthier won the 15-lap AFT Singles national aboard a Yamaha YZ450F, taking the lead on the brakes from Wyatt Anderson’s KTM in the last corner and holding on at the finish line. “Tomato Juice” Kolby Carlile was a close third on a brand new Honda, the top three covered by less than a second after a great dice up front.
@AMAProFlatTrack •ELBRIDGE, N.Y. (Aug. 20, 2016) - Defending Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Champion Jared Mees put on a masterclass performance in front of a packed house at the Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on Saturday, Aug. 20 to score his fourth win of the season and extend his championship lead to 16 points over Kawasaki's Bryan Smith.
@AMAProFlatTrack •OKLAHOMA CITY (June 18, 2016) - No. 1 Jared Mees dominated the inaugural Oklahoma City Mile at Remington Park on Saturday, June 18, making it his first Mile victory of the 2016 AMA Pro Flat Track season.
@AMAProFlatTrack •@XGames •AUSTIN, Texas (June 2, 2016) - Jared Mees claimed redemption in Thursday night's Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing main event during the opening night for ESPN's Summer X Games at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
Newly crowned AMA Pro Grand National Flat Track Champion Jared Mees of Clio, Mi, came to Las Vegas, gambled and won. Big time. In Friday’s final event in the AMP Flat Track National Tour at a new, ultra-short track at the Orleans Casino Arena, Mees scored a safe third in the Feature race and clinched his third overall National crown.
This Saturday night on the same track, Mees worked through a crazy-busy set of Heats and Semi races to be one of four Flat Trackers to start the main event, then defeated his Flat Track peers and the top racers selected from other disciplines (“All Stars”) to become the first winner in the new all-comers Invitational Superprestigio of the Americas presented by Yamaha.
Aboard his Las Vegas Harley-Davidson backed Honda single, Mees placed second in the 12 Lap final Q race for Flat Trackers, behind Brad Baker of Eatonville, WA, to earn one of the four spots for “his kind” in the Superprestigio race.
In the 15 lap Main Event, Mees ran second early, then cut under Baker when the just-back-form-injury rider clobbered the plastic wall on the outside of the front straight. Baker, frequently millimetres from the barrier, continued in second but Mees was solidly in first.
Mees won over Baker by a second and a half, with Kenny Coolbeth Jr. taking third, another second back. Honda swept the podium. For much of the race, Coolbeth staged a great dice with top “All Star” class competitor Roger Hayden on a Suzuki, but road race ace Hayden fell in the final turn and was classified seventh.
Top “All Star” class Feature race finisher was veteran 40 year old Larry Pegram in fourth with the Foremost Insurance Honda. Teen-aged road race sensation Joe Roberts was fifth, while top young Brit road racer Oliver Brindley placed very worthy sixth on his Kawasaki single.
The Superprestigio concept was relaunched two years ago in Spain, and while three Spanish road racers took part in Las Vegas, none made it to the main event. This was mostly due to bad luck – only four riders from each category could take part in the final, out of an entry of 15 per division.
“What a way to top things off at the end of a great year,” began Mees post-race. “I’m almost at a loss for words, it’s really a big deal, winning a Superprestigio. I knew Brad would be tough, he got the best of me in the race before, but I kept my focus. Now Brad and I are heading over to Spain to represent the American dirt trackers.”
“I don’t think they could have designed a better track to create chaos,” joked Mees after his win. “Any time you do something different, it’s fun. The whole thing was hectic, but it was nothing compared to what we go through in Spain. It’s really cool that it was so fast paced.”
“The way the track was set up, it was racy,” continued Mees. “You could stick somebody, really go hard, like you were racing 100s in my back yard with my buddies. With us having the event the night before, it gave us an advantage, we knew what was going to happen, how the track would change. In the future maybe this can be a stand-alone race.”
Second placed Baker admitted that “I definitely had a wild wall ride, for a flat track style bike! To ride clean on this track is tough, but that’s the goal. It was really fun racing Jared, he rode so good, and I made too many mistakes. I had a bike break, I got hung up on the starting gate in one of my heats – I really can’t complain after coming back on such a rough night!”
Third placed Coolbeth said that “I had a really awesome fight with Hayden, we were really back and forth, it was really aggressive, it was real short track racing. I got to third and I just stayed there. The track was kind of slick, kinda dry, we slowed down our bike so we could go a little faster.”
The sole Canadian invited to the first Superprestigio of the Americas was newly crowned Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence of Mississauga, ON. After adjusting his bike after Friday’s racing, Lawrence had nothing but bad luck in his heats. Although Lawrence got close to making the cut in is Flat Track Semi qualifying race, he stalled his Town Moto Honda in a tight turn while battling for position and was unable to Qualify for his Main.
Brian Bauman of Salinas, Ca took victory in in the final AMP Pro Flat Track Grand National of the season, piloting his Honda for a green lights to chequered flag win in Harley-Davidson sponsored GNC1 class action, presented by Vance and Hines, at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas on Friday night, November 20. 20-year-old Bauman wound up 2.445 of a second ahead of the runner-up after 25 laps, a solid margin around such a tight, hockey rink-sized venue.
Unretired 47 year old Joe Kopp of Mica, WA made his sole start of the AMA Pro National Dirt Track season a success, the Triumph Team Manager piloting a unique Husqvarna FC450 to a solid second place.
Third overall belonged to Jared Mees, the popular Clio, MI racer having earlier in the evening clinched his second straight, and third Grand National career, overall National Title.
Fourth went to Sammy Halbert on a Yamaha, Jake Johnson fifth on a Honda and up-and-coming Yamaha rider Dominic Colindres earned sixth.
In what turned out to be a somewhat processional race around the very dusty, tenth of a mile oval, Bauman took control early and was never seriously challenged.
“I really don’t know if I should cry or scream with joy,” explained Bauman form the podium, emotional after his second career National feature victory. “The track was insane, so small and tight, really something with the performance of the bikes we were using. I basically raced all night without changing a single thing, we just checked the tire pressures.”
“Some of the best laps I did all night were in the final,” continued the victor. “I made a few mistakes, but I did well when it counted, I did well with the lapped traffic. I’m really excited that this result gets me in tomorrow’s race.”
After a first ever National Championship round at the new Orleans racing venue, the double header winds up on Saturday night with the first-ever invitational Superprestigio of the Americas event, with the star dirt trackers facing off against top riders from other disciplines of two-wheeled sport.
“I came here to have fun, I’m not really racing for a paycheck anymore,” smiled Kopp post-race. “It was my only outing of the year with these guys, and I wanted to make it count. The Husky worked really well, it was just awesome. Maybe now the Promoter will invite me to ride in the Superprestigo tomorrow.”
Mees explained that it was nice that the title battle pressure was diminished after arch rivals Bryan Smith and Kenny Coolbeth fell during Semi qualifying action, ending their chances for the crown. However Mees “came up a little short, Bauman split so quick, and it took me about five laps to get down to the bottom (racing line), really get into the groove.”
“It was really backyard racing, so I built a track in my backyard to get ready,” stated Mees. “It really was lots of fun preparing for this race. But my biggest fear was what happened to (title rival) Bryan, and I’ve been there racing little tracks, on concrete, on ice.”
“It’s great to finish up the year with the number one plate, we only got the one win, but we were always competitive, and consistency is what gets you Championships. Consistency pays off.”
Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence earned third in his heat race and fifth in his semi in the final round of the Harley-Davidson GNC1 AMA Flat Track Championship presented by Vance and Hines, but it wasn’t enough to get him into the 13th and final main event of the 2015 National season at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, November 20.
In his Heat, Town Moto backed, Honda mounted Lawrence got a poor start, but managed to work his way up to place a respectable third behind winner Brandon Robinson and runner-up Kayl Kolkman. That result moved Lawrence onto the front row of the crowed 12 rider Semi race, and the Champ needed to place in the top two to make it to the main.
While Lawrence again moved through the field, it wasn’t enough to earn him a spot in the 12 rider Main vent. Instead, Lawrence’s effort moved him on to the GNC1 “B Main,” and after a rough start, he worked his way up to net sixth.
“The track slowed down a lot, we changed the gearing, we were trying to work it,” explained Lawrence post racing. “My races went Ok, but just Ok – positioning is everything. The track was getting rutted, and you really needed to hit things straight, and when you’re in traffic, that’s hard to do.”
Lawrence will return to the same tenth of a mile, custom designed dirt oval tomorrow, since the Northern National Champ earned an invitation to take part in the first ever Superprestigio of the Americas. This unique event, based on a recent Spanish format, has a ladder system for flat track stars and a separate series of qualifying and heats for non-dirt trackers, leading to a combined “world” final.
Meanwhile, a series of bizarre events mean that heat six victor and reigning Champ Jared Mees of Clio, MI has clinched the American National Flat Track crown, before the final event has even taken place. As with most of the field, Mees was mounted on a Honda CFR450R single, but is backed by big local dealer Las Vegas Harley-Davidson.
Potential points rivals in the Championship chase, Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Hon) and Brad Baker (Hon), both fell in their Semi, meaning both are mathematically eliminated from the title battle.