Factory Indian/Rogers Racing’s Jared Mees was on fire Tuesday night when, for the second time in 48 hours, the American Flat Track Series roared to life, his time on the half mile oval of the Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, South Dakota. Brandon Price also had a hot throttle hand, winning an exciting AFT Singles main event.
The beautifully prepared, banked, clay oval fit Mees just fine (as most tracks have this year). Mees didn’t get his Indian Indian Scout FTR750 off to the best start in the twenty five lap National and was about sixth into the first turn. Sunday’s Sturgis TT winner, Briar Bauman (Zanotti Racing/Rod Lake Racing, Kawasaki) led the first lap, but Mees was into the lead by turn two of the second lap. Bauman was soon passed by the rest of the Indian Wrecking Crew, Brad Baker and Bryan Smith.
Mees smoothly motored away as Baker and Smith captivated the crowd with a great race for second.
“That was fun,” Smith said. “Too bad it wasn’t for the win.”
The only hiccup of the race for Mees came on lap 12 when Mikey Rush’s G&G Racing/Machete Energy-backed Yamaha blew up and oiled down turn one. Mees’ two-second lead was erased, but he was able to maintain his advantage on the restart to easily capture his eighth AFT Twins main event of the year.
“Last year this was our best prepped race track,” Mees said. “This year it’s up there too. I’m going to be biased and say Lima was really good, but this was another good race track for us.”
Defending AFT Twins Champion Smith, was able to minimize the damage to his points pursuit as he held off his teammate fo second place. Jeffrey Carver (Ben Evans Racing/Carver’s BBQ, Kawasaki) closed on the Indians while Smith and Baker were fighting away, but Carver had to settle for a fourth place finish. Briar Bauman came home fifth with a tightly bunched group of Henry Wiles (Willy Built/Mad Dog Racing/DPC Racing Kawasaki), Brandon Robinson (Harley-Davidson Motor Company/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) and Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson Motor Company/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R). Jarod Vanderkooi (Richie Morris Racing/McElroy Packaging Kawasaki) and Davis Fisher (Bob Lanphere Beaverton Motorcycles Kawasaki) settled their battle for ninth at the finish line with Vanderkooi ahead by just a 10th of a second.
Mees’ AFT Twins points lead continues to grow. He is now 36 points ahead of Smith. Baker moved past Sammy Halbert into third place, but Baker is 76 points off the lead with five races remaining in the 2017 season.
The AFT Singles main event was a true barn burner. Brandon Price (Parkinson Brothers Racing/DPC Racing Honda) and Kolby Carlile (Estenson Racing Yamaha) led the way at the start of the fifteen lap race. While Price held on to the lead, Carlile slipped back. AFT Singles points leader, Shayna Texter (Richie Morris Racing/McElroy Packaging Honda) charged her way to the front after struggling all day.
Texter was not alone as Cameron Smith (Carroll Motor Fuels/Basciani Mushroom Farm,Honda), Dan Bromley (Big Momma & Daddy Deep Pockets Racing KTM) and Kevin Stollings (Ben Evans Racing/Dave’s Cycle, Honda) all joined the lead pack. In the extremely close battle, Price held the point most of the time, Texter led two laps and Stollings one. Price was able to lead the most important lap with Texter finishing second by just a meager .049 of a second.
Stollings captured third as the top seven all finished within a second of the lead. Just off the podium were Bromley, Cameron Smith, Carlile and Morgen Mischler (Mischler’s Harley-Davidson & BMW/Steelhorse Law Honda) all under the proverbial blanket.
In the AFT Singles points race, Texter got back on track after she failed to qualify for Sunday’s TT event. She now holds a 16-point lead over Price with Carlile another six points back. Thus far the only races Texter has failed to score points in are the TT events. The next race on the schedule is the Peoria TT.