Daytona Beach, Fla., June 17—Defending Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing SDI Scout FTR750) was at his level best on Saturday night as American Flat Track returned to Remington Park for the OKC Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City. While a packed house looked on in awe, the 2018 AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines points leader put on another impressive performance to take the win.
While last year’s OKC Mile runner-up Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) limped off the line and dropped to the back of the pack, and the only rider to beat Mees’ in a straight fight all season long, Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof-Systems of Dallas/Indian of Metro Milwaukee Scout FTR750), suffered a mechanical on the first lap, Mees immediately set about piling up an insurmountable advantage.
He led by nearly three-quarters of a second following the opening circulation and continued to add to his lead by a similar margin each subsequent time around Remington’s state-of-the-art horse racing facility. Even after settling into cruise mode in the race’s closing laps, Mees still won by a commanding 12.839 seconds at the checkered flag.
Despite lacking last-lap dramatics, Mees’ blowouts are made memorable by the history he’s making with each successive victory, and tonight’s win was no different. He’s now three for three at the OKC Mile and won four of the series’ run of five straight Miles that concluded at Remington Park. As a result, Mees now boasts 37 career victories, moving him equal with Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (No. 2 Nila Racing, Columbia Avionics Indian Scout FTR750) for fifth all-time. The win also gives him 10 career Mile victories, also elevating him alongside Coolbeth to rank eighth all-time in that category.
Not bad for a rider once considered something of a Half-Mile specialist.
Mees said, “None of these races are easy, but I got a good start compared to last year and was just able to run my own race and not get caught up in the spray. I had some really good lines, I guess. I looked back a couple times just to see if somebody was catching me or if other lines were starting to work, but the motorcycle worked so phenomenally tonight. Big hats off to my guys for having the bike totally dialed in, allowing me to check out like that… I get along so well with this motorcycle, and my team gets better and better with it each weekend. Believe it or not, we come back with what we learn and get better each weekend.”
When asked if he could be stopped, he said, “I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong—these guys are strong. These guys are talented riders. I’ve got to come beat them every weekend just like they try to beat me. I can be beat, but I’m just gelling with what I’ve got going, honestly.”
Another rider who continues to break beyond preconceived notions of his talents is Henry Wiles (No. 17 Bandit Industries/Wilco Racing/Willy Built Indian Scout FTR750). Long considered a TT and Short Track ace, Wiles once again demonstrated his long track skills, racing to a clear runner-up result.
Behind Wiles, Baker managed to claw his way all the way up to third after his opening lap disaster, but he was ultimately overhauled by teammate Bryan Smith (No. 4 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) for the position.
Smith was in strong form throughout the day and looked to be on a collision course for victory with Mees in the lead-up to the Main Event. However, the former champ struggled to find his groove over the Main’s opening handful of laps of despite getting a decent start. Once he did rediscover his form, however, he managed to pick his way forward and secure the final spot on the box.
Baker held on for fourth while an impressive Robert Pearson (No. 27 R/J Performance/Hite Trucking Indian Scout FTR750) completed the top five.
Indian Scout FTR750-mounted privateers Davis Fisher (No. 67 Double D Performance/RMR Indian Scout FTR750) and Jake Johnson (No. 5 Estenson Racing/McCandless Truck Center Indian Scout FTR750) came in sixth and seventh place, respectively. Eighth place went to Chad Cose (No. 49 Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City Scout FTR750), who battled his way up from outside the top 10 to give his title sponsor a great deal to cheer about at its home event.
Shawn Baer (No. 32 Schaeffers Motorsports KTM LC8 950) backed up last year’s breakthrough OKC Mile top five with another strong ride on the KTM this year.
Works Harley-Davidson pilot Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) rounded out the top ten.
Not surprisingly, Mees is well on his way to back-to-back AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines titles. He currently leads the championship at the season’s halfway point by 59 points, 195 to Wiles’ 136.