Jared Mees wins inaugural Superprestigio of the Americas in Las Vegas

Jared Mees wins inaugural Superprestigio of the Americas in Las Vegas
Jared Mees wins inaugural Superprestigio of the Americas in Las Vegas

Jared Mees capped off a weekend for the record books tonight, as he took home the inaugural Superprestigio of the Americas checkered flag less than 24 hours after capturing his third Grand National Championship in four seasons.

Mees failed to get the holeshot on lap one, a mistake that’s proved costly for hopeful winners throughout the course of the weekend. However, the Michigan native continued to fight and eventually regained the lead by the time he finished the second lap.

Mees and Brad Baker went on to fight neck-and-neck during the next two laps, but when Baker came out of turn four on lap five, he went too high and nearly crashed into the wall. Baker’s error proved to be the pivotal moment in the race, as he was never able to regain the lead and ended up finishing second behind a charging Mees.

Though it’s always bittersweet to finish second-best, Baker was happy to put together the performance that he did Saturday night, as it’s been over four months since his last podium. Baker’s effort is a good indication that he has completed healing from injuries sustained at Black Hills Speedway earlier this season.

Kenny Coolbeth Jr. bounced back after a tough night on Friday with a third-place finish in the Superprestigio of the Americas on Saturday night, while Larry Pegram led the charge for the All Stars category comprised primarily of road racers, finishing fourth in the main.

Joe Roberts, Oliver Brindley and Roger Hayden rounded out the remaining All Star road racers in the eight-rider field, while Bryan Smith finished last after a crash early in the race.

One of the most noticeable names missing from this list is Friday night’s Flat Track Season Finale winner Briar Bauman. Bauman looked flawless yet again early on in the day, as he was the fast qualifier out of every rider that participated in the Superprestigio of the Americas. However, Bauman missed the main event cut line by a single position in the second-to-last race of the night, ending his chances of repeating victories.

Other AMA Pro Flat Track riders who barely missed the cut were Davis Fisher, Stevie Bonsey and Dan Bromley.

All in all, the evening lived up to the momentum that it had gained over the last several months ever since the Superprestigio of the Americas was first announced to the world. The specially-designed race track, which was roughly a tenth of a mile, provided some of the most adrenaline-charged racing that has been seen all year, a fitting end to a 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track season that will not soon be forgotten.

Results of the Superprestigio of the Americas, Orleans Arena, Nov. 21, 2015
  1. Jared Mees, Honda
  2. Brad Baker, Honda
  3. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., Honda
  4. Larry Pegram, Honda
  5. Joe Roberts, Yamaha
  6. Oliver Brindley, Kawasaki
  7. Roger Hayden, Suzuki
  8. Bryan Smith, Kawasaki

Jared Mees earns third Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines championship in four years

Briar Bauman wins AMA Pro Flat Track Season Finale in Las Vegas

Jared Mees finished third in the AMA Pro Flat Track Season Finale on Friday night at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, but it didn’t matter, as he had already clinched the 2015 Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines championship before the main event had even started.

Jared Mees earns third Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines championship in four years
Jared Mees earns third Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines championship in four years

Mees was able to secure his third Grand National Championship in four seasons on Friday night a lot easier than he had expected going into the event. He held a mere seven-point lead over rival Bryan Smith and the two have been the center of attention leading up to the Flat Track Season Finale in Las Vegas. However, Smith failed to secure a spot in the main event through his heat race and then he crashed during his Semi, which resulted in him missing the final race altogether.

Although he missed his chance at winning his first Grand National Championship, Smith still put together a stellar 2015 campaign. He finished with 181 points, 23 shy of Mees.

Consistency has always been the name of the game for Mees, and this season proved to be no different. The Clio, Mich., native notched nine podiums and a single victory this season, which are numbers that reflect his previous champion-winning seasons almost to a tee.

“It’s awesome to get this championship,” said Mees. “Last year when I won it, I remember saying that that one meant the most to me. But now here I am and it just gets sweeter and sweeter every year. There was a lot of pressure coming into this race tonight. It’s a short track and what ended up happening to Bryan was my biggest fear of happening to me. Anything can happen in this type of race. I’ve run a lot of these types of races and I’ve felt what it’s like to run into some bad luck. I’m just glad I was able to come away with this championship, it feels awesome.”

There’s no doubt that Mees owned the majority of the limelight and attention on Friday night, and deservedly so, but the second biggest story of the evening was about the man who finished on top of the box Friday night. Briar Bauman won his first race of 2015 and he looked incredible from start to finish in doing so.

Bauman got the ever-so-important holeshot out of the gate and led for the duration of the race. It was a great ending to a great season for the young rider, who finished third or better in three total races this season, making 2015 far and away his best season in GNC1 yet.

Bauman shows great promise for himself and for the sport of AMA Pro Flat Track racing, as he’s not only a rising star on the track, but a well-rounded soul off the motorcycle as well, as evidenced by his quote during the post-race press conference where he dedicated his win to the late Jethro Halbert.

“This win was for Jethro Halbert,” said Bauman. “He was an awesome friend and you can bet all the money you got that he would have been running with all of us at the front. This was his kind of race track and he would have been glass smooth. I rode with him all night. This was for Jethro.”

Bauman’s win on Friday ensured him a spot in the highly-anticipated Superprestigio of the Americas on Saturday night.

Finishing second on Friday night and making a surprise visit to AMA Pro Flat Track competition was Joe Kopp. Kopp, a 22-year veteran of the sport, made his only start of 2015 in Vegas and his second-place finish is a clear indication that there’s still a lot left in the tank for the 46 year old.

Finishing fourth on Friday night was Sammy Halbert, who capped off a solid 2015 campaign by finishing third in the standings.

Jake Johnson continued his impressive run of solid finishes during the back-half of the season with a fifth-place finish on Friday.

GNC2

Davis Fisher had the GNC2 championship all nailed down before he even started packing for Vegas, but he still wanted to make a good showing during the Flat Track Season Finale on Friday night and again on Saturday at the Superprestigio of the Americas. He’s 0-1 so far, as he failed to make the main event on Friday for the first time in 2015 and he’ll look to bounce back tomorrow night when he faces off against even stiffer competition.

Fisher’s night wasn’t all that bad, though, as he was presented the GNC2 championship No. 1 plate during Opening Ceremonies as he was greeted by thousands of fans in attendance cheering his name.

There’s no denying that Fisher was the star of the 2015 GNC2 season, but Dan Bromley was the star of Friday night.

The Warrington, Pa., pilot finally put all the pieces together during the night’s main event, as he walked away with his first victory of the season. Bromley has been close all year, recording four podium finishes, but until now, he had never been able to win.

Bromley finished second in the GNC2 point standings behind only Fisher, and he’ll look to carry over the momentum he’s gained from 2015 over to next season.