Mees Overcomes Carver in Springfield Mile I Shootout
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (August 31, 2019) – Defending AFT Twins presented by Vance & HinesChampion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) made it three for three in Mile competition in 2019 American Flat Track competition with a last-corner victory in Saturday’s Springfield Mile I.
Mees and 2018 Springfield Mile I winner Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof-Systems of Dallas/Indian of Metro Milwaukee FTR750) transformed the race into a two-rider duel for the win from the start. The pair immediately broke free from the pack, and subsequently waged a 25-mile test of skill and tactics.
Carver seemed content to plant himself on the rear wheel of Mees over the opening half of the AFT Twins Main Event. However, the home-state hero brought the fans lining the grandstands to their feet by driving underneath the defending champ on lap 13.
Mees regrouped and reassumed his position at the front in short order. Carver made two more attempts to wrestle away the lead, and it appeared he finally succeeded for good when he powered by with three laps remaining. However, Mees ducked under Carver entering Turn 3 on the final lap, only to see Carver slide back up the inside as the worked through 4.
Mees was ready for the move, and perfectly positioned himself for the decisive sprint to the flag; he stole the advantage back on exit and held it to the flag by 0.239 seconds.
After the race, Mees said, “I knew going out there if I got the holeshot, I wanted to press the pace right away and create some separation. I think Jeffrey knew exactly what I was doing because he was just pacing me. I looked back a couple times, and right there was the ‘23’.
“He was basically just riding my tail and at one point I rolled out of it and let him go by. I wanted to know where he was stronger, and he had a really good line in 3 and 4. I saw that he tried it a couple times, and he did the exact same thing in the heat. On the last lap, when I felt him dive-bomb the bottom, I had a good counter for his move. I think he blew the corner a little bit coming off of it, and that allowed me to have a big gap out of Turn 4.”
While Mees made up some ground in the title fight as a result of claiming his fifth win this year, it probably wasn’t by quite as much as he may have anticipated when he took the checkered flag.
Championship leader Briar Bauman (No. 14 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) was forced to use a provisional start to advance into the Main Event after suffering a mechanical issue in his Semi.
Despite starting from dead last, Bauman somehow carved his way into seventh by the conclusion of lap 1 and established himself as one of five riders embroiled in a race-long battle for the final spot on the podium. Indeed, Bauman ultimately won that battle, finishing in third 0.122 seconds ahead of brother/teammate Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750).
Bauman now holds a 30-point advantage over Mees (260-230) with four races remaining.
Bryan Smith (No. 4 Crosley Brands/Howerton Motorsports Kawasaki Ninja 650) finished fifth another 0.016 seconds in arrears, with Stephen Vanderkuur (No. 21 AMSOIL/Hodder Racing Indian FTR750) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Kennedy Racing/Armbruster Racing Indian FTR750) fractionally behind in sixth and seventh, respectively.
AFT Production Twins
Fresh off his clutch victory in Friday night’s Springfield Short Track, Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 Black Hills Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X) steamrolled the competition in Saturday’s AFT Production Twins Main Event at the Springfield Mile I.
Gauthier’s arcing high lines may have allowed his rivals to keep him relatively contained during the opening stages of the 15-lap Main Event, but once he finally stretched open enough of an advantage to prevent his opponents from blocking his preferred path, those same lines made him simply unstoppable.
The triumph was not just his second of the weekend, it was also his second in succession in the AFT Production Twins class; he delivered the XG750R a second win in the first possible opportunity after scoring its historic maiden win last time out in the Sacramento Mile.
Gauthier said, “I have to thank Jarod Vanderkooi for telling me to go there (to the high line) after the Semi, so shout out to him. After the second or third lap I went up there and I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s hooking up. So I stayed up there and tried to ride consistent laps and break away and that’s what happened.
“I have to thank everybody at Harley-Davidson, Black Hills Harley-Davidson, Vance & Hines and everyone else who has gotten this bike working this great. It’s been awesome, and I’m having a lot of fun.”
Kolby Carlile (No. 136 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07), who scored tonight's holeshot, and Lima HM winner Chad Cose (No. 49 Parkinson Bros Racing/Ritchie Reynolds Kawasaki Ninja 650) emerged from a multi-rider pack to battle for second place.
The two actually managed to cut into Gauthier’s lead while waging their duel, which came down to the race’s final corner. Carlile sailed past Cose to open the last lap, but Cose switched-up his opponent driving through Turns 3 and 4. However, the Estenson pilot managed a counter of his own while they streaked down the start/finish straight, nipping Cose by 0.101 seconds at the flag to finish as the race’s runner-up.
Second-ranked Ryan Varnes (No. 68 Varnes Racing/RoyBuilt Kawasaki Ninja 650) continued his consistent AFT Production Twins title campaign with his fifth top-five result of the year by taking fourth. Kevin Stollings (No. 999 Roof Systems/Motion Pro/Hinson Clutches Kawasaki Ninja 650) was just 0.002 seconds back of Varnes to round out the top five.
Championship leader Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Holeshot Powersports Yamaha MT-07) took the checkered flag in ninth. As a result, he now leads Varnes by just 22 points (133-111) with Carlile (100) and Gauthier (96) looking increasingly threatening in third and fourth, respectively.
Catch the feature broadcast of the Springfield weekend on NBCSN with flag-to-flag coverage of the Main Events, enhanced by exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage. The broadcast will debut on Sunday, September 8, at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. PT and will re-air on Thursday, September 19, at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT.
American Flat Track’s Labor Day tripleheader will conclude on Sunday as the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines and AFT Production Twins title contenders return for a rematch in the Springfield Mile II. Live coverage will again be available on FansChoice.tv when the practice sessions kick off at 11:00 a.m. ET/8:00 a.m. PT. Tickets are on sale now at www.springfieldmile.org.