Jared Mees Gives Indian First American Flat Track Title Since 1953!

With his win at the Mechanicsburg Half Mile, Jared Mees joins Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman to become one of just three Indian riders ever to win the AMA American Flat Track Championship aboard an Indian.

AFT Events brought American Flat Track back to fabled Pennsylvania sprint car mecca Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, September 9, where a near-capacity crowd of spectators witnessed Jared Mees make history as the first Indian rider to win the American Flat Track (formerly AMA Grand National) Championship aboard an Indian motorcycle since Bill Tuman last won it in 1953.

Jared Mees made history at the Mechanicsburg Half Mile by becoming the first Indian rider since 1953 to win the American Flat Track national number one plate. Mees earned the accolade by winning the AFT Twins main event, clinching the title with two rounds still remaining. PHOTO BY DAVE HOENIG/FLAT TRAK FOTOS.

It has looked inevitable for a while, but now it is official. The Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing-backed Mees was able to put the final nail in the coffin at a track that is less than an hour from where he was born and raised, as he rode his Indian Scout FTR750 to a wire-to-wire victory, clinching the certainly the most historic of his now four American Flat Track titles with two rounds left to run in the 18-race 2017 American Flat Track Series.

“Man, it’s an honor to be able to come to Williams Grove and clinch this championship in front of all my friends and family,” Mees said.

AFT Twins
Mees knew coming into the event that if he could win the main there was nothing defending Grand National Champion Bryan Smith (Indian Motorcycle/Allstate Insurance Indian) could do to delay the outcome.

“There’s always pressure, especially on these little slippery half miles like this,” Mees said. “You’ve got to get off the line good and just run your own race. I’ve got so many laps around these little skittery things where you’ve got to slow down to go fast and hit your marks. I got a good start and just ran my own race. The biggest pressure and nerve wracking thing was seeing those red flags. I was going around and saw the five to go and just knew in the back of my head that there was going to be a red flag. I knew that it couldn’t be that easy and that they wouldn’t give it to me that easy. Then there was another red and another red. After the third red I was getting frustrated. I thought, come on, let’s just get this over with.”

Mees (9) took the lead from Brad Baker (6) in the 20-lap main event and had to endure multiple restarts before crossing the line to complete his quest for the title. PHOTO BY DAVE HOENIG/FLAT TRAK FOTOS.

Mees took the lead from fast qualifier, Brad Baker (Indian Motorcycle/Allstate Insurance Indian) on the first lap and proceeded to put on a clinic on the proper technique for narrow groove track racing. Baker also opened the door just enough to let Briar Bauman (Zanotti Racing/Rod Lake Racing Kawasaki) into second. They had Bryan Smith right on them, desperately needing to get by and catch Mees, the only way he could keep his title hopes alive.

On lap 20, the first of three red flags came out. J.R. Addison (Roeder Racing/Smith Racing Kawasaki), who had been running fifth was stopped in the turn three air fence and deemed to be in harm’s way.

The race reverted back to lap 19 for a six-lap shoot out. The biggest change on the restart came from Jake Johnson (Harley-Davidson Motor Company/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson). Johnson shot all the way up to fourth in front of Smith. With time running out, Smith made a bold move and tried to get into turn three under Johnson. Smith quickly ran out of groove and to keep from putting both him and Johnson out, Smith laid his Indian on the ground. For Smith, the race and his hopes for a repeat AFT Twins title were over.

Lima Half Mile and Sturgis TT winner Briar Bauman finished third, behind Baker, at the Mechanicsburg Half Mile. PHOTO BY DAVE HOENIG/FLAT TRAK FOTOS.

AFT rules call for main events to run a minimum of five laps to finish a race, and that was called into play here. The third start was over quickly as Ryan Varnes (Myers Motorsports/Rausch Fuel Oil Kawasaki), who had worked his way up to seventh, got tangled up entering turn one and fell heavily, collecting Jake Shoemaker (Roy Built/Greg A. Vietri Kawasaki) along the way.

The final restart saw Baker take advantage of Bauman’s poor start and take second. Bauman was able to hold on to third over the factory Harley-Davidson of Jake Johnson. Sammy Halbert (Estenson Racing/TruLine, Yamaha) was a close fifth.

AFT Singles
AFT Singles points leader Kolby Carlile (Estenson Racing/Autolite Yamaha) got the holeshot in the 15-lap main event, but Kevin Stollings quickly made a move into the lea.

“I didn’t get the start I wanted to, and it seemed like Kolby was pulling away,” Stollings said. “I was kind of getting scared because I didn’t want him to get too far away. I kept my cool and ended up passing him on the outside on the third lap or so. From there, I just kept my line and stayed smooth.”

Kevin Stollings shot to the front of the AFT Singles main event field and never made a mistake on the narrow Williams Grove groove, collecting the win. PHOTO BY DAVE HOENIG/FLAT TRAK FOTOS.

Carlile and Wyatt Anderson (Waters Autobody Racing/D&D PowerSports, KTM) hit turn one first, but there was no room on the narrow notch, and Anderson paid the price. Stollings, Dan Bromley (Big Momma & Daddy Deep Pockets Racing KTM) and Ben Lowe (Bruce Lowe Excavating/Lowe-Life Performance Honda) all took advantage.

As Stollings was taking the lead from Carlile, Anderson made a big move and took back third place on lap three. Stollings’ lead slowly grew as he was glued to the narrow groove, and he never made a mistake.

The top three positions looked set, but Brandon Price (Parkinson Brothers Racing/DPC Racing Honda) was one of the few able to make passes. Price finished a very close fourth. Cameron Smith (Carroll Motor Fuels/Basciani Mushroom Farm Honda) made a last-lap pass on Springfield Short Track winner Bromley for fifth.

2017 American Flat Track Series
Williams Grove Speedway
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Results: September 9, 2017 (Round 16 of 18)

Mees, wife Nichole and the Indian racing team celebrate their historic championship. PHOTO BY DAVE HOENIG/FLAT TRAK FOTOS.

AFT Twins Main
1. Jared Mees-Ind*
2. Brad Baker-Ind
3. Briar Bauman-Kaw
4. Jake Johnson-HD
5. Sammy Halbert-Yam
6. Jeffrey Carver Jr.-Kaw
7. Jarod Vanderkooi-Kaw
8. Brandon Robinson-HD
9. Kenny Coolbeth Jr.-HD
10. Rob Pearson-HD
11. Ryan Wells-Kaw
12. Chad Cose-Kaw
13. Jake Shoemaker-Kaw
14. Bryan Smith-Ind
15. Ryan Varnes-Kaw
16. J.R. Addison-Kaw
17. Jay Maloney-Kaw
18. Davis Fisher-Kaw
*Clinched 2017 AMA American Flat Track Twins Championship

AFT Singles Main
1. Kevin Stollings-Hon
2. Kolby Carlile-Yam
3. Wyatt Anderson-Yam
4. Brandon Price-Hon
5. Cameron Smith-Hon
6. Dan Bromley-KTM
7. Ben Lowe-Hon
8. Jeremiah Duffy-Hon
9. Cole Zabala-Kaw
10. Jeremy Orr-Hon
11. Eric Stump-Hon
12. Oliver Brindley-Kaw
13. Blake Lomas-Hon
14. Shane Narbonne-Hon
15. Beau Thompson-Hon
16. Jordan Harris-Hon
17. Shane O’Banion-Hon
18. John Vanberlaan-Hon