Jared Mees made his return to dominant form at the Indian Motorcycle Red Mile at Round 7 of the American Flat Track championship, where he came out on top of the Saturday AFT Twins Main Event. Mees was almost 2.5 second ahead of second placed Bryan Smith, while the more distant Brad Baker tooth third by a narrow margin from Henry Wiles.
On a night in which an exceptionally narrow groove repeatedly saw riders make one costly mistake after another, Mees was a marvel of technical proficiency. While the rest of the field was forced to gamble on risky passing maneuvers that could just as easily backfire and result in the loss of ten positions as they could gain them one, Mees simply powered away out front.
Teammate Bryan Smith was the only rider who could keep Mees in his sights for even as long as a complete lap, as the duo broke the challenge of the remainder of the field right from the start. Smith’s own pursuit slowly and steadily unraveled too, as the inch-perfect Mees slipped away tenth by tenth.
Smith was given a second chance to keep pace with Mees when a red flag forced a restart following 10 of 25 miles, but the result was identical the second time around as well.
Dating back to Mees’ victory in the series’ inaugural trip to the Red Mile one year ago, the defending AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion has notched 14 victories in the last 20 Main Events.
“On a track like this, it was so technical and so important to carry good corner speed on entry and through the corner and not bust the groove. If you got off that groove, you were a sitting duck and going backwards quick. But I kinda grew up on this stuff, and I guess out of all the racetracks we race, this is my specialty. It was good. We were in a really good starting position, we were able to come off the line well, and just put in the laps. The bike worked phenomenally as it has all year. Hats off to my entire team. I don’t know what to say. We’re having a great season, and we’re making it happen week-in and week-out.”
While Mees (and runner-up Smith) successfully avoided drama on a circuit that practically demanded it, the rest of the field did not. The scrapping and resultant emotions down the order were heated as hard passes were the norm from third on back.
Brad Baker held down the position for much of the second half of the race until Henry Wiles stole the spot on the penultimate lap. Baker responded, however, and locked down third at the flag by a meager 0.008 seconds.
While Indian Motorcycle has arguably been even more dominant in 2018 than in 2017 thanks to a powerful privateer contingent, tonight’s result was the first time this season the Indian Wrecking Crew pulled off the podium sweep they made so commonplace a season ago.
Last year’s Red Mile runner-up Sammy Halbert earned his best result since joining the works Harley-Davidson effort with a fifth, finishing just 0.086 seconds ahead of a charging Chad Cose. Halbert’s teammate Brandon Robinson took seventh. Springfield Mile I winner Jeffrey Carver Jr., newly-Indian mounted Jake Johnson, and Kenny Coolbeth Jr. rounded out the top ten.
Still a race short of the season’s midway point, Mees now leads the championship by more than two full races, 170 to Wiles’ 116. Baker is third at 101.
2018 American Flat Track Red Mile AFT Twins Results
Bryan Smith +2.495
Brad Baker +8.312
Henry Wiles +8.320
Sammy Halbert +8.475
Chad Cose +8.562
Brandon Robinson +10.074
Jeffrey Carver Jr. +11.556
Jake Johnson +12.122
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. +12.288
2018 American Flat Track Point Standings – AFT Twins
Jared Mees – 170
Henry Wiles – 116
Brad Baker – 101
Jeffrey Carver Jr. – 99
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. – 99
Briar Bauman – 89
Chad Cose – 77
Davis Fisher – 75
Bryan Smith – 73
Brandon Robinson – 69
Reigning AFT Singles champion Kolby Carlile out-dueled last year’s Red Mile dominator, Kevin Stollings, and the class’ all-time winningest rider, Shayna Texter, to claim victory in an instant undercard classic.
Carlile, Stollings, Texter, and Jesse Janisch made an early escape from the pack and settled into a four-way dice for the lead. By mid-distance Janisch slowly faded from the fray, leaving just the three to decide the win among themselves.
Each rider was playing all the angles, sorting through strategies on the fly while simultaneously measuring up respective weaknesses. Despite that, in the final desperate push to the stripe, Carlile found himself where none of them wanted to be – out front coming off the final turn – but still somehow made it work. He took the checkered flag a scant 0.012 seconds ahead of Stollings, with Texter another 0.037 seconds back in third.
After going winless during last year’s title-winning season, Carlile now boasts two victories already in 2018.
“I’ve got to give it up to Shayna and Kevin. We kept it clean, and it was a great battle; the fans loved it I’m sure. It came down to the wire… Coming off of (Turn) 4, I didn’t think I was going to win. I was hoping one of these two would pass me down the backstretch, but they were a little smarter than me, passing up the frontstretch. But it worked out. I can’t thank my team enough. Hopefully we’re back up here soon.”
Janisch continued on to a lonely fourth, while Jordan Harris completed the top five after winning out in a massive eight-rider tussle for the position. Championship leader Dan Bromley was among that big pack, finishing ninth. The result marks just the second time all season long he’s finished off the podium.
Despite that disappointment, Bromley actually expanded his championship advantage due to the absence of the mending Brandon Price, who still ranks second. As a result, Bromley now leads by an expansive 28 points following eight of 18 races.
American Flat Track Red Mile – AFT Singles Main Event
Kevin Stollings +0.012
Shayna Texter +0.049
Jesse Janisch +2.786
Jordan Harris +5.673
Tristan Avery +5.719
Morgen Mischler +5.895
Ryan Wells +6.016
Dan Bromley +6.143
Cameron Smith +6.341
2018 American Flat Track Point Standings – AFT Singles
Dan Bromley – 136
Brandon Price – 108
Jesse Janisch – 105
Kolby Carlile – 97
Ryan Wells – 95
Shayna Texter – 92
Kevin Stollings – 88
Morgen Mischler – 81
Oliver Brindley – 64
Ben Lowe – 51
Following six straight weeks of race action, American Flat Track will take a single weekend off before traveling to Oklahoma City, Okla., on June 16 for the OKC Mile Presented By Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City where the AFT Twins competitors will complete their run of five consecutive Miles.
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