Jared Mees (1) battles Dallas Daniels at Senoia. (AFT Photo)

Mees Responds With Statement Ride At Senoia

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Reigning Mission SuperTwins champion Jared Mees turned to his successful ‘23 script, once again rebounding from a quiet season opener with a statement performance in the Yamaha Senoia Short Track at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, Ga., Round 3 of the 2024 Progressive American Flat Track season, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing.

That said, Sunday’s ride didn’t exactly get underway as he’d originally envisioned. The factory Indian star was involved in a minor pre-race dispute and was forced to line up on the far outside of row one after believing he could select the slot at the bottom. Even if it went against his wishes, the swap either gifted him the ideal position or the motivation required to make it work, as Mees promptly blasted into the lead once the race got underway.

Even with the benefit of that prime launch, Dallas Daniels was quickly looking for a way by and slid underneath to steal away first less than a minute into the main event. But Mees had an answer, reclaiming the position a short two laps later and then went about steadily working his way to what proved to be a 1.591-second margin of victory.

“I fast qualified earlier in the day, but I didn’t really feel good,” Mees said. “I was making some decent laps but also making a lot of mistakes. In the (Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge), Dallas ate my lunch – I was really worried about him; he and his team were rolling really good. He was really consistent and could get the bike turned, and that’s where I was struggling all day.

“We made some changes and went a direction we’ve never gone before with some things. And the motorcycle was phenomenal. It turned great and rolled good. Everything I needed it to do all day, it finally came to me.”

The fight for third was a hard-fought three-way affair for much of the race, led for a long spell by Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650) with Brandon Robinson and Briar Bauman jammed up close behind.

Lewis did well to keep Robinson and Bauman corralled behind him for the majority of the contest, but their superior pace ultimately won out – at least once Bauman showed they could tap into the high line to find a path through.

Free of the Royal Enfield runner, Robinson then managed to keep two-time champion Bauman at bay by just over a tenth-of-a-second at the flag. Lewis, meanwhile, found himself also overtaken by a charging Jarod Vanderkooi, who secured the final spot in the top five after circulating as low as ninth in the early going.

The remainder of the top ten consisted of a pair of premier-class veterans – Brandon Price and Davis Fisher – and class rookies – Trevor Brunner and Max Whale. 

Mees’ triumph elevated him from sixth to third in the points (54), but he continues to trail Daniels (64) and Robinson (61), the duo having upped their respective ‘24 podium streaks to a perfect three for three.

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

Reigning two-time Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER king Kody Kopp continued to build his case as the most accomplished rider in class history, earning a record-tying sixth career Short Track win on Sunday afternoon.

While in the end, the victory proved a lonely one, that order first had to be forged in chaos.

Former class champion Dalton Gauthier grabbed the holeshot with title fighters Tom Drane, Chase Saathoff, and Kopp running alongside while sorting out second in shadow.

In one fell swoop, that fight for second became one for the lead as Drane and Saathoff both went under Gauthier at the same moment Kopp ringed around the outside, all despite no obvious mistake on Gauthier’s part.

Kopp continued to work the high line, using it to both overhaul Drane and make his escape in relatively short order.

At that point, the top three broke apart, while Gauthier lost one final position to Aiden RoosEvans, who ran just removed from the lead pack for the entirety of the race.

“I’m happy to be up here and be able to spin laps like that,” Kopp said. “Hats off to Tom, Chase, and Dalton – those first few laps were chaos. I got a terrible start and tried to roll ‘em around the outside. Huge shout out to my Rick Ware Racing team and everybody that’s behind me. We’re ready to get on a roll now.”

2023 Senoia Short Track podium finisher James Ott took sixth, followed by Hunter Bauer, Trent Lowe and Travis Petton IV. 

The final spot in the top ten was earned by Bradon Pfanders, who made an extremely impressive Progressive AFT debut immediately after becoming eligible by turning 16.

Kopp already boasts an early 17-point advantage over Gauthier (71-54) with Drane (51) and Saathoff (50) placed third and fourth and desperate to prevent the double defending champ from executing another championship runaway.