Jares Mees takes American Flat Track series lead with Texas Half Mile win

Defending Grand National Champion Jared Mees earned some much-needed redemption while AFT Singles rising star Morgen Mischler earned his first professional win 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.

Sammy Halbert tussles with Doug Lawrence
Sammy Halbert tussles with Doug Lawrence

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.

Briar Bauman got off to a brilliant start
Briar Bauman got off to a brilliant start

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.

Briar Bauman and Jared Mees tussle at the Texas Half Mile
Briar Bauman and Jared Mees tussle at the Texas Half Mile

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.

Jared Mees

“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.”

Jared Mees
Jared Mees

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.

AFT Twins Main Event - Texas Half Mile 2018 Jared Mees Indian Scout FTR750 Briar Bauman Kawasaki Ninja 650 1.337 Chad Cose Indian Scout FTR750 3.054
AFT Twins Main Event – Texas Half Mile 2018
Jared Mees Indian Scout FTR750
Briar Bauman Kawasaki Ninja 650 1.337
Chad Cose Indian Scout FTR750 3.054
AFT Twins Main Event – Texas Half Mile 2018
  1. Jared Mees Indian Scout FTR750
  2. Briar Bauman Kawasaki Ninja 650 1.337
  3. Chad Cose Indian Scout FTR750 3.054
  4. Brandon Robinson Harley-Davidson XG750R 3.216
  5. Henry Wiles Indian Scout FTR750 6.577
  6. Jake Shoemaker Kawasaki Ninja 650 6.642
  7. Sammy Halbert Harley-Davidson XG750R 7.061
  8. Johnny Lewis Indian Scout FTR750 7.313
  9. Doug Lawrence Harley-Davidson XR750 8.130
  10. Jeffrey Carver Harley-Davidson XR750 10.879

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.

2018 AFT Twins Championship Points
  1. Jared Mees 50
  2. Henry Wiles 46
  3. Briar Bauman 44
  4. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. 36
  5. Jeffrey Carver Jr. 33
  6. Jarod Vanderkooi 28
  7. Brandon Robinson 28
  8. Sammy Halbert 28
  9. Brad Baker 27
  10. Johnny Lewis 26

AFT Singles

Earlier in AFT Singles action, Morgen Mischler narrowly fended off a hard-charging Shayna Texter to secure his first-career professional victory by a scant 0.094 seconds. At the start, Texter slashed her way forward aboard her Husqvarna FC 450, picking off several rivals on a track where most struggled to overtake. However, she could not quite find a way past race-leader Mischler once she arrived on his rear wheel, no matter how desperately she tried.

Morgen Mischler
Morgen Mischler

Mischler rebuked numerous attempts by Texter, including – and most crucially – coming off the race’s final corner with his sideways Cycle Craft Yamaha YZ450F bucking and protesting all the way to the checkered flag. Texter was right there, close enough to take advantage, but Mischler’s swerving Yamaha blocked her from making the pass.

Mischler’s victory put to rest any lingering doubt he may have had regarding his skills to compete with, and beat, the best the AFT undercard has to offer. He said, “It’s one of those things – when you move up to the pro ranks, you ask yourself if you belong. On that last lap… it stepped out pretty good, but I just pinned it.”

AFT Singles Main Event - Texas Half Mile 2018 Morgen Mischler Yamaha YZ450F Shayna Texter Husqvarna FC450 0.094 Brandon Price Honda CRF450R 0.459
AFT Singles Main Event – Texas Half Mile 2018
Morgen Mischler Yamaha YZ450F
Shayna Texter Husqvarna FC450 0.094
Brandon Price Honda CRF450R 0.459

Brandon Price rounded out the podium in third, taking over the AFT Singles points lead in the process as former championship leader Dan Bromley finished 17th.

AFT Singles Main Event – Texas Half Mile 2018
  1. Morgen Mischler Yamaha YZ450F
  2. Shayna Texter Husqvarna FC450 0.094
  3. Brandon Price Honda CRF450R 0.459
  4. Kolby Carlile Yamaha YZ450F 5.963
  5. Andrew Luker Kawasaki KX450F 6.747
  6. Cory Texter Honda CRF450R 6.806
  7. Jesse Janisch Yamaha YZ450F 7.384
  8. Jeremiah Duffy Honda CRF450R 7.837
  9. Kevin Stollings Honda CRF450R 8.635
  10. Ryan Wells Honda CRF450R 8.791
2018 AFT Singles Championship Points
  1. Brandon Price 54
  2. Dan Bromley 47
  3. Jesse Janisch 42
  4. Morgen Mischler 39
  5. Shayna Texter 32
  6. Kevin Stollings 31
  7. Ryan Wells 31
  8. Oliver Brindley 28
  9. Kolby Carlile 26
  10. Ben Lowe 22

Images by Scott Hunter