SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Jared Mees domination tour continued unabated in Sunday’s hugely consequential Law Tigers Sacramento Mile II presented by Knauf Insulation at the Cal Expo.
Mees’ second consecutive double victory saw the former Grand National Champion seize control of the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle championship lead heading into next month’s Progressive American Flat Track season finale.
Mees was again in a class of his own. He blasted away from the pack almost immediately and quickly assembled a multi-second lead. Then he did it again when forced due to a red flag and restart at mid-distance.
The win alone would have guaranteed Mees a one-point title lead, but his advantage is actually four courtesy of Bryan Smith. Mees has himself to thank for that extra bit of padding as well, as he lent Smith a spare machine after the retiring legend struggled to get his primary machine working to his liking.
While he may have only wanted to send his old rival off in suitable fashion, Mees was more than repaid for his generosity when Smith dove up the inside of defending champion Briar Bauman on the final lap to beat him to the line to claim second.
“I feel amazing. Right after Peoria there was a 25-point gap and five races to go,” Mees said. “If I won them all, I would gain 25 points exactly if Briar finished second. So, I figured I have to win all these things. I knew I had a really good shot on the Miles — our Mile program the past few years has been very, very strong. We’ll come to Charlotte and try to get it done. Briar will be very tough — he’s a really great Half-Mile guy.
“All said and done, I give a huge shout out to B. Smith — my buddy. That’s so awesome… To turn around and see the big No. 4 come across that line… I was more pumped to see Bryan get second on my bike than I was for winning it. That’s so cool.”
Jarod Vanderkooi, Davis Fisher and Brandon Price finished just fractions of a second off the podium in fourth-through-sixth, respectively.
Now the stage is set. Mees sits at 292 points and Bauman 288. Should either rider win the Charlotte Half-Mile they will be the Mission SuperTwins champion.
Trevor Brunner made clear that yesterday’s last-lap acing of AFT Singles superstars Dallas Daniels and Shayna Texter-Bauman was no fluke.
The youngster completed the Sacramento Mile double in almost identical fashion, leaving turn four for the last time with the same two imposing figures hiding in his draft. And he again beat them both to the checkered flag, flexing the muscles of a very fleet CRF450R in the process.
The only real change that this time around was that Daniels came the closest to finding a solution to beating Brunner to the flag. He finished .023 seconds behind in second, while Texter-Bauman was another .069 seconds back in third.
“I started off the season pretty rough,” Brunner said. “I just had to dig deep and focus on my training again and my racecraft. At past races, I’ve made some decisions during the race that weren’t the best, and that’s what’s put me behind the lead pack. So focusing on my endurance and my racecraft is really what’s helped me these past couple races.”
While the podium featured the same three riders, the race was very much a six-rider affair. Mikey Rush, Tanner Dean and Morgen Mischler were also a part of an amorphous pack that took a new shape in almost every corner.
In the end, Rush wound up fourth for the second consecutive day with Dean and Mischler five and sixth, respectively.
Max Whale broke free from a huge second group to take seventh. That effort – combined with Daniels’ near miss of the victory – means Whale is still alive in the title fight if only just. Daniels now boasts a 20-point advantage (268-248) with just the Charlotte HM finale to go.
Newly recrowned AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Cory Texter didn’t ease up any despite Saturday’s title lock.
After threatening to celebrate his triumph in a extended victory lap-style runaway, Texter was tracked down and seriously challenged by Chad Cose for Sunday’s win.
Cose wanted this one badly, and it showed on track. He reeled Texter back in, arriving on his tail with just over two minutes remaining. He then made his (initial) move with 45 seconds remaining on the clock, and the two proceeded to measure up their respective late-race strategies. The lead was traded back and forth on four occasions over the final minute and two laps. And it was very nearly five, as Cose came up .015 seconds short of pulling off one final slingshot before the two stormed past the checkered flag.
Even then the drama wasn’t quite over, as Texter crashed into the turn one air fence moments after earning his seventh win of the season.
Fortunately, Texter immediately jumped up to his feet unscathed.
“I saw Chad coming. I knew I could kinda chess-match him a bit,” Texter said. “I wanted to lead off (turn) four because that Yamaha power is strong. I love racing Chad. He’s one of my buddies, and when you can trust a guy like that, it’s a lot of fun.
“After the checkers… too much send and not enough grip. I just couldn’t stop. I was like, ‘I ain’t saving this…’ so I pitched it away and gave the guys something to do in the offseason. But seriously, the G&G Racing team stay in hotels pretty much all summer away from their homes. It’s a father and a son, and they do so much for me to allow me to chase my dreams. I’m really appreciative of them.”
Jesse Janisch had a fourth AFT Production Twins podium in five starts in his grasp before a mechanical issue removed him from contention. His friend and fellow V&H wildcard, Morgen Mischler, inherited the position and was all too happy to cash in his second podium in four ‘21 class starts.