Mees Scores First National Win Of The Season At Mega Mile
Sometimes solid and steady beats blazing speed; just ask Jared Mees. The defending AMA Grand National Champion wasn't the fastest rider at the Colonial Downs Mega Mile in New Kent, Va., but he was the strongest when it mattered on his Kenny Tolbert-tuned Harley-Davidson and scored a victory in round nine of the 13-race AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles series. It was Mees' first national win of the season.
The incoming top-two points leaders, Brad Baker and Bryan Smith, experienced mechanical issues at the Mega Mile, so the championship chase has become a lot more bunched up and now five different riders have a reasonable shot at winning the coveted No. 1 plate at the end of the season.
Henry Wiles finished second on his Lloyd Brothers Racing Aprilia and moved back into second place in the standings, a position he has been trading back and forth with Smith during the last few races. Brandon Robinson rounded out the podium finishers and put himself back in the title hunt.
With four races remaining, Baker, whose bike broke midway through the race and caused him to finish last, leads the standings by 17 points over Wiles, 156 to 139. Smith is still very much in the hunt with 134 points, and Mees (128 points) and early season leader Robinson (113) still have a glimmer of hope.
Smith, who was dominant all day on his Crosley Radio/Howerton Motorsports Kawasaki, blasted off to a great start and broke out to an almost 2.5-second lead by the sixth lap but he suddenly slowed and pulled off the racing line. His team suspected an electric problem, and he limped to a 12th-place finish. At about the same time Baker's Dodge Bros. Racing Harley-Davidson blew the engine while in the lead.
After everything shook out, it was Mees emerging as the new leader on his Rogers Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson. He then rode a flawless race and held off Wiles for the flag by a margin of 1.885 seconds. Robinson was a distant third, finishing seven seconds behind the leader. Briar Bauman and Kenny Coolbeth Jr. rounded out the top five.
"It has been an up-and-down season and it feels great to get this win," Mees said. "When I saw Bryan break I said, 'OK, now we'll have a race.' And then I pulled alongside Baker going into three and heard his bike going south. I'm happy to finally give the team a win after all the hard work everyone has put in. It looked like the championship was going to be between Baker and Bryan but this thing isn't over yet."
Cody Johncox, riding his Sunnyside Cycle Yamaha, earned his second career win in the Pro Singles final, edging out Shayna Texter and Stephen Vanderkuur at the flag. The top three were nearly side by side at the finish.
"I didn't want to be leading coming out of four but I was," Johncox said. "I just tried to tuck in and make myself as small as I could and somehow I held on for the win."
Wyatt Maguire added a point to his Pro Singles Series lead after finishing fifth over series rival Ryan Wells, who was sixth. The two continue to be first and second in the standings.
The series now moves to Springfield, Ill., for the famous Springfield Mile and a special doubleheader weekend, a makeup race for the rained-out Memorial Day weekend event.
Mega Mile AMA Grand National Results - Aug. 24, 2013
1. 1 Jared Mees, Clio, Mich., Harley-Davidson 18 Laps
2. 17 Henry Wiles, Winn, Mich., Ducati 749 +01.885
3. 44 Brandon Robinson, Oxford, Pa., Kawasaki EX650 +07.068
4. 14 Briar Bauman, Salinas, Calif., Kawasaki EX650 +11.776
5. 2 Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Morris, Conn., Harley-Davidson +11.785
6. 95 JD Beach, Philpot, Ky., Kawasaki EX650 +16.155
7. 5 Jake Johnson, Coatesville, Pa., Ducati 749 +16.742,
8. 10 Johnny Lewis, Coatesville, Pa., Triumph Bonneville +21.554
9. 55A Jake Shoemaker, Glenmoore, Pa., Kawasaki EX650 +23.313
10. 20 Matt Weidman, Westerlo, N.Y., Kawasaki EX650 +23.375
Mega Mile AMA Pro Singles Final - Aug. 24, 2013
1. 96B Cody Johncox, Attica, N.Y., Yamaha YZ 450F 10 Laps
2. 25A Shayna Texter, Willow Street, Pa., Honda CRF450R +00.008
3. 1 Stephen Vanderkuur, Davison, Mich., Honda CRF450R +00.061
4. 23F Jeffery Lowery, St. Louisville, Ohio, Honda CRF450R +00.465
5. 18M Wyatt Maguire, Mead, Wash. Yamaha YZ 450F +00.478
6. 94B Ryan Wells, Albion, N.Y., Honda CRF450R +01.576
7. 19B Justin Jones, Holley, N.Y., Honda CRF450R +01.900
8. 24F J.R. Addison, Bucyrus, Ohio, Honda CRF450R +01.925
9. 30Z Bronson Bauman, Salinas, Calif., Honda CRF450R +02.133
10. 77J Kyle Johnson, Twin Lake, Mich., Kawasaki KX450F +02.507