Fort Worth, Tex., Apr. 28—Defending Grand National Champion Jared Mees earned some much-needed redemption in a drama-filled night of American Flat Track racing at Texas Motor Speedway for the Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys Texas Half Mile presented by Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda.
That drama was effectively guaranteed even before the day’s racing activities began, coming only one day following the announcement that Mees had been disqualified and stripped of his win at the previous round in Atlanta for using a chemically altered tire.
But the twists only stacked up from there. The entire evening program was loaded with thrills and spills, the implication of which are almost certain to be felt throughout the remainder of the 2018 title fight. Big name after big name was eliminated from competition even prior to the Main, including Mees’ fellow Indian Wrecking Crew members Brad Baker and Bryan Smith.
Baker went down hard in his Heat and could not continue, and then Smith lost the front in Semi 1, initiating a spectacular, multi-rider incident that also collected Jake Johnson and Stevie Bonsey, who was launched several feet into the air in terrifying fashion. Adding more drama, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr.—the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines points leader coming into the weekend—simply failed to make the Main, finishing outside the top nine in Semi 2.
Meanwhile, Mees hardly put a wheel wrong aboard his Indian Scout FTR750 all night long. He was momentarily squeezed out at the start of the Main, briefly dropping to third, but he systematically worked his way past Chad Cose and early leader Briar Bauman to grab the lead. Once established in front, Mees was in complete control of the contest to the checkered flag.
The triumph was a double dosage of redemption for the defending champ; Mees finished second in Texas last year—the only time in the most recent seven Half-Miles in which he failed to stand atop the podium.
After the race Mees said, “First off, thoughts and prayers to all the downed riders. I don’t know the condition of any of them, but we had a lot of downed riders tonight and nobody wants to see that. [All riders were reported to be awake and alert afterward.] On my end, we just came out and were really focused on getting this win, and we made it happen. We were fast right out of the gate. Huge hats off to my entire team for just sticking behind me and making it happen for me week-in and week-out. The Indian motorcycle is a phenomenal bike for me.”
Zanotti Racing ace Bauman came home second while Cose held onto third aboard his Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City Scout FTR750 to earn his first-ever AFT Twins podium.
And just like that, Mees is back in a familiar position—leading the AFT Twins championship table with 50 points—despite his Atlanta DQ. Henry Wiles, who finished fifth tonight, is second, followed by Bauman in third.
American Flat Track will be back in action next Saturday, May 5, for the Calistoga Half-Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle in Calistoga, Calif. Live coverage can be viewed on FansChoice.tv beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET with Opening Ceremonies scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Calistoga Tix.