Bryan Smith may have won an epic battle for the Springfield Mile II win, however it was Jared Mees who had the most to celebrate on the day, claiming yet another AFT Twins title.
Smith even predicted his victory, telling AFT announcer Scottie Deubler on Deubler’s Off The Groove podcast he was, “going to win the Springfield Mile!”
Mees remained a big winner, however, as his runner-up finish secured his fifth AFT Twins championship. His 10 wins and victories in four of the five Miles in 2018 – plus his 40 Grand National Championship victories, fourth all time – make him a legitimate giant in the sport.
Smith’s win, which featured a fierce back-and-forth battle between four of AFT’s top riders for the majority of the 25-lap race, was his first in sixteen months (he won the May, 2017 Springfield Mile) but his ninth at the legendary Illinois venue.
“It’s been too long, I’ve dreamed about racing here since I was six years old; hasn’t changed now that I’m 35. It’s been a roller coaster season so I wanted to finish on a high note. Winning Springfield in front of all the Illinois fans… I couldn’t ask for anything better. That’s what they call me [the Mile master], but [Mees and Carver Jr.] are trying to take my lunch money! They’re making me work for it. Hats off to them, and thanks to all the fans.”
Mees, who lost by just 0.013 seconds to Smith, was gracious in defeat but had to be disappointed to not capture another win at the legendary venue in a season he’s dominated so thoroughly.
“That was a pretty classic Springfield mile. Honestly, my game plan was to lead it off of four. I felt like I could beat them to the line…but I couldn’t. We were so close. I wouldn’t have done anything differently, honestly. We came up a little short, but we got the main goal, the championship. My team worked so hard. It’s an honor, and I’m looking forward to the next three races.”
Third went to Springfield Mile I winner Jeffrey Carver Jr., who after an electrical gremlin nixed his chances in his Heat had to start from the back row in his Semi. It didn’t matter much, as he got to the front quickly and was barely beaten at the line by Semi winner Mees, which gave Carver Jr. a front row starting position for the Main.
“I bounced off the guard rail down here in [turn] one, I saw Jared and Briar and Bryan do it all race long trying to ride low to get that traction where nobody else was getting down to….it was just a brawl. I’m so happy to be up here on the podium and I’m really happy to be able to put on a show for the fans.”
The fourth rider in that lead pack, which had gapped fifth place finisher Henry Wiles and the rest of the field by several seconds by the race’s mid-point, was Brian Bauman.
2018 American Flat Track AFT Twins Main Event
Jared Mees +0.013
Jeffrey Carver Jr. +0.088
Briar Bauman +0.557
Henry Wiles +9.661
Jake Johnson +15.088
Chad Cose +16.351
Jake Shoemaker +16.623
Jarod Vanderkooi +16.731
Hayden Gillim +20.390
2018 American Flat Track Point Standings – AFT Twins
Jared Mees 325
Henry Wiles 227
Jeffrey Carver Jr. 177
Briar Bauman 171
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. 162
Brad Baker 147
Chad Cose 146
Jake Johnson 142
Bryan Smith 141
Davis Fisher 133
Current AFT Singles points leader Dan Bromley went a long way toward securing his first American Flat Track national championship tonight with a convincing win at the Springfield Short Track at the famed Illinois State Fairgrounds arena.
Bromley got a decent start in the Main, passed his primary series competitor Ryan Wells for second almost immediately, and then set his sights on Jessie Janisch, who’d grabbed the holeshot and looked strong early on.
Bromley hounded Janisch for much of the 15-lap AFT Singles Main event, the two pulling a slight lead on the rest of the pack. The Pennsylvania native finally made the pass for the lead with a few laps to go with a slick inside move along the back straight. It was the KTM rider’s fourth win of the season, which bumped his points lead vs. Wells from 42 to 50 with just three rounds remaining.
“This definitely helps, definitely a confidence booster for myself. I’m leading the points, and hopefully will be able to wrap up the championship in the next two or three rounds. Can’t thank everyone enough, especially my girlfriend Connor for driving out here in a pickup truck with me because our vehicle broke down on the way home from Peoria.”
Janisch held on for second against a rapidly closing Wells, which put him on the podium for the first time in his AFT career for an oval race. The runner-up spot has him tied with Shayna Texter for third overall in the AFT Singles standings, with 173 points apiece.
Wells was disappointed with third, while rounding out the top five were Morgen Mischler and Oliver Brindley, with the day’s fast qualifier Jeremy Orr grabbing sixth.
Illinois State Fairgrounds – Springfield AFT Singles
Jesse Janisch +1.027
Ryan Wells +1.094
Morgen Mischler +1.347
Oliver Brindley +1.659
Jeremy Orr +4.561
Ben Lowe +5.171
Brandon Price +5.961
Kolby Carlile +6.172
Shayna Texter +6.648
2018 American Flat Track Point Standings – AFT Singles
Dan Bromley 268
Ryan Wells 218
Shayna Texter 173
Jesse Janisch 173
Kolby Carlile 165
Morgen Mischler 165
Brandon Price 138
Kevin Stollings 124
Oliver Brindley 115
Tristan Avery 95
AFT Production Twins
The second AFT Production Twins race of the year was in many ways a repeat of the first in May, with Michael Inderbitzin coming from the pack to run down early leaders Ben Lowe, Tristan Avery and Jordan Harris.
It was a see-saw battle much like the AFT Twins race, with riders swapping spots seemingly every lap. But in the end Inderbitzin was simply too strong on the Weirbach Kawasaki for the others.
“That was a close race, I didn’t know if I’d have anything for them, but I was able to draft a couple of guys. I didn’t really have a strategy; just get a good start and try to run with the guys up front. I knew I had a great motorcycle!”
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