The American Flat Track 2018 season wrapped up at the Meadowlands Mile, where the AFT Twins saw Bryan Smith and Jared Mees battle it out for supremacy, while in the Singles Main Event Shayna Texter and Kolby Carlile almost couldn’t be separated at the line.
At the end of the AFT Twins event, Bryan Smith got the better of teammate/rival Jared Mees in a performance that set the stage for a thrilling 2019. Mees has reigned over the AFT Twins class with an iron wrist for the majority of the past two seasons, storming to a pair of dominant AFT Twins national championships.
Smith, meanwhile, suffered in his wake, at one point going more than a calendar year between victories. He put an exclamation point on his late-season resurgence in Saturday’s thrilling showdown, however, closing out his 2018 campaign with three victories in the final four races.
After the two went back and forth throughout the AFT Twins Main, the drama was somehow escalated even further when Jeffrey Carver Jr. and Briar Bauman joined the party with just a lap and a half remaining.
A surprise move by Carver on Smith appeared to provide Mees the room he needed to escape, but Smith immediately countered and stuck it up the inside of Mees heading into Turn 3 for the final time. From there he powered to the checkered flag clean after Mees ran wide in Turn 4 in a desperate search for traction. Carver ended up third, with Bauman close behind in fourth.
“My bike was dialed all day, hats off to my crew; the Indian was just on rails for me today. I was sitting behind Jared just waiting to the end. I didn’t want to show him what I was doing because I thought I was better. I was just kinda chillin’ behind him and waiting, and it’s not often you can sit behind that guy and wait because normally he takes off and hides. I’m stoked that my bike worked so good, and I’m pumped at myself that I was able to hold it together and make the move on the last lap when it counted.”
The finale also marked the final race of another legend’s career, Kenny Coolbeth who once again proved he’s leaving on his own terms. He registered yet another competitive ride, rounding out his decorated career with a seventh-place performance.
“I have no regrets with how my career went, when things were bad, it just made me stronger. It made me the person I am today. I’m fortunate to have met some really good friends and raced with them. I would love to chase these guys around some more, but it’s over. I’ll do my motos during the week, and maybe come out and watch these guys on the weekends sometimes.”
Despite coming up short on Saturday, Mees walked away from 2018 with an astonishing 10 victories, 15 podiums, and a 93-point championship margin over 18 races.
AFT Twins – Meadowlands Mile Main Event Results
Bryan Smith Indian Scout FTR750 0:37.898
Jared Mees Indian Scout FTR750 +0.343
Jeffrey Carver Jr. Indian Scout FTR750 +0.565
Briar Bauman Indian Scout FTR750 +0.868
Henry Wiles Indian Scout FTR750 +6.613
JD Beach Yamaha FZ-07 +7.858
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. Indian Scout FTR750 +9.267
Davis Fisher Indian Scout FTR750 +12.701
Chad Cose Indian Scout FTR750 +12.730
Jake Johnson Indian Scout FTR750 +12.756
AFT Twins Standings
Jared Mees 366
Henry Wiles 273
Briar Bauman 216
Jeffrey Carver Jr. 211
Bryan Smith 191
Chad Cose 178
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. 175
Jake Johnson 173
Davis Fisher 163
Sammy Halbert 150
The AFT Singles season finale was an instant classic, pitting two of the classes’ top guns against one another in a showdown to decide third overall in the 2018 championship rankings.
In the end it was Shayna Texter grabbing the checkered flag ahead of fellow ‘Mile Master’ Kolby Carlile by an impossibly tight 0.006 seconds. No one knew for sure who’d won when they first crossed the line.
Carlile made an early break from the pack and threatened to run away unchallenged. However, Texter emerged from the large group fighting for second just prior to mid-distance and ran Carlile down to the tune of half-a-second per lap.
Once they came together it was on. The two traded the lead multiple times, including four times on the final lap from Turn 3 to the finish line. Carlile drafted around the outside and appeared to inch by Texter on the home straight, but Texter found a bit of extra speed to nip back ahead by less than half a wheel.
The victory was Texter’s third of the season and the first-ever Mile win for the Husqvarna FC 450. The triumph also cemented her position as the AFT Singles class’ all-time winningest rider, upping her career tally to 14.
“It was incredible. It shows how much speed Kolby and I have out there to battle each and every week for two years in a row. I think this is Kolby’s final Singles race, so no better way to send him off into the Twins and the future than to battle bar-to-bar to the finish. It’s been an incredible year for us… Everyone has been like, ‘You’re so good on the Miles but you haven’t got a Mile win this year…’ But the ‘Flying Tomato’ has been on it. To get this Mile win at the end of the year… I’m super stoked.”
2018 AFT Singles champion Dan Bromley concluded his season with another podium finish in third. Bromley managed to win out in a huge scrap for the final spot on the box despite the inherent disadvantage he suffers on the Miles due to his size. The result was the 13th podium finish of Bromley’s epic, 2018 championship campaign.
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