Mees Steamrolls Sacramento Mile I
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (September 11, 2021) – Progressive American Flat Track legend Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) continued to perform at his vintage best, notching up yet another blowout victory in Saturday evening’s Law Tigers Sacramento Mile I presented by Knauf Insulation at Cal Expo in Sacramento, California.
Mees replicated the Springfield Mile II escape plan he executed just a few days prior. He eked out some breathing space in the opening minutes of the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle Main Event and then effectively rendered the race one for second place as he continually added to that advantage, lap after lap.
Never seriously challenged, Mees had more than six seconds in hand when the clock hit 0:00 and still boasted a 4.611-second margin of victory at the checkered flag despite coasting all the way down the final straight.
Mees said, “My heart rate was low around there today, and the track was so smooth it wasn’t too physical. The challenge was mental, trying to put it all together. I was a little bit frustrated after making a mistake in the Dash for Cash. I was starting to second think... ‘Am I losing the mojo? Am I losing the momentum?’
“But I got the holeshot in the Main and started picking ‘em up and putting ‘em down, honestly. The bike was phenomenal. A huge shout out to Kenny Tolbert, Bubba Bentley, and Jimmy Wood. Every session all throughout the day, we tweaked the bike to make it that much better.”
Mees’ dominant night was made that much easier when his rival, defending double Mission SuperTwins Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), became embroiled in a race-long multi-rider melee for second.
While the lead-up to the Main suggested that Bauman just might have had the pace to run with Mees, he was never able to show it when it mattered. Bauman struggled both to draft past Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) and keep him behind him on the straights, while getting held up in the corners by him at the same time.
All the while, Davis Fisher (No. 67 BMC Racing/Dick Wall 60 Indian FTR750), was mixing it up with Bauman and Halbert, which further allowed Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and, finally, Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), to join the fray and turn it into a six-rider slugfest for second.
At one point, Fisher slipped the groove following a near-miss with Bauman and fell well back. He made a determined charge back up the order and arrived just in time to get his revenge with less than two laps remaining. That dropped the champ back to fifth and put his championship lead at serious risk.
The rapidly evolving battle next saw Vanderkooi pull off a last-lap move on Fisher that again knocked him off the groove just as Bauman finally found a way past Halbert. Ultimately, Vanderkooi crossed the stripe in second with Bauman earning his 12th podium of the season in third.
Despite that consistent excellence, Mees now sits just four points behind Bauman in the title chase (271-267), which puts him within striking distance of taking the outright lead should he add to his three-race win streak tomorrow.
Halbert finished fourth, followed by Beach and Robinson. Brandon Price (No. 92 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) took full advantage of Fisher’s repeat misfortune to edge him for seventh by 0.009 seconds at the stripe.
Robert Pearson (No. 27 Rackley Racing/John Franklin Indian FTR750) and James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X) rounded out the top ten.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario more intimidating for a prospective AFT Singles star than to lead coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap of a Mile with both the class’ defending champion and its all-time winningest rider breathing down their neck. That’s exactly the predicament Trevor Brunner (No. 21 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) found himself in at the conclusion of a frenetic race-long pack war.
Still, even though Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and Shayna Texter-Bauman (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) did all they could to add to their impressive respective wins tallies, Brunner skillfully made a perfect launch out of the corner to overcome their attempts to draft by him at the stripe, edging Texter-Bauman by 0.024 seconds and Daniels by 0.041.
After claiming his second career Progressive AFT victory, Brunner said, “This was very important. I was a little let down (following a controversial clash with Daniels last weekend at Springfield), but I answered the call for my whole team. They deserved it so much.”
While the win came down to those three, the race featured a lead group that numbered into the double digits all the way to the checkered flag. As tight as the field was, the primary players throughout were those representing the powerhouse factory-backed teams; Cole Zabala (No. 51 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) and Mikey Rush (No. 15 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) each took several turns turns at the front with title hopeful Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) lurking in sixth pretty much the entire way.
That all changed late when Whale went off the groove and dropped several positions and Zabala suffered a mechanical while still in with a shot at victory. Rush did manage to come home in third, just 0.094 seconds off the win, but the final-lap chaos allowed Kevin Stollings (No. 99 Mission Roof Systems Honda CRF450R) to slip into the top five.
Whale, meanwhile, did well to claw his way back to seventh, finishing just one position behind third-ranked Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Mission Roof Systems KTM 450 SX-F). Even still, Daniels expanded his title advantage, which now stands at 12 (248-236) with just two races remaining.
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
11th-place was all he needed, but Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing MT-07) instead preferred to celebrate his dominant 2021 AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines title triumph with a more representative victory.
Texter lined up on pole with three Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750Rs alongside, piloted by Chad Cose (No. 49 Voodoo Ranger/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R), Jesse Janisch (No. 96 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) and Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Harley-Davidson XG750R).
Any chance that talented trio had of teaming up on Texter evaporated after the ‘19 class champ took his customary holeshot as wild cards Mischler and Janisch limped off the line and dropped to seventh and eighth, respectively.
A motivated Cose pulled in behind Texter and sat in his draft over the race’s opening half. But Texter’s torrid pace and trademark consistency ultimately broke the challenge of the “California Kid ” as well.
Texter left no doubt en route to reclaiming possession of the #1 plate, winning by 5.197 seconds. With two races still remaining, Texter is once again the AFT Production Twins king on the strength of six wins and ten podiums.
He said, “This class is super talented this year. It was hard work versus talent. I have a lot of respect for the guys I race against, and this (championship) was earned. The grind it took this season... The injuries I had to work through this summer, and the training, and the studying notes, and losing it last year and coming back this year, and working for it and winning it. It all means so much to me.
“You don’t have to be the most talented guy out there. You can work super hard and achieve your goals.”
Cose took a popular runner-up in front of the home fans, which also propelled him into second in the championship, moving him one point ahead of sixth-place finisher Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07).
Meanwhile, Janisch fought his way back up to come out on top of a last-lap drafting contest for the podium with Ben Lowe (No. 25 Mission Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R) (fourth) and Mischler (fifth). The result was Janisch’s third top-three in four starts in place of the injured Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R).
The Law Tigers Sacramento Mile I & II presented by Knauf Insulation will premiere back-to-back on NBCSN on Sunday, September 26, starting at 11:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT, including exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage.
Sunday’s Law Tigers Sacramento Mile II presented by Knauf Insulation isn’t just the second-half of this weekend’s Legendary Sacramento Mile doubleheader, it also represents the penultimate round of the 2021 Progressive AFT season. Tickets are available for purchase online at https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15860/sacramento-mile. For those viewing from home, live coverage will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
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