SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Progressive American Flat Track legend Jared Mees 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 the Cal Expo.
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.
“My heart rate was low around there today, and the track was so smooth it wasn’t too physical,” Mees said. “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, 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 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, was mixing it up with Bauman and Halbert, which further allowed Jarod Vanderkooi, J.D. Beach and, finally, Brandon Robinson, 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 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 took full advantage of Fisher’s repeat misfortune to edge him for seventh by .009 seconds at the stripe.
Robert Pearson and James Rispoli 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 found himself in at the conclusion of a frenetic race-long pack war.
Still, even though Dallas Daniels and Shayna Texter-Bauman 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 .024 seconds and Daniels by 0.041.
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 and Mikey Rush each took several turns turns at the front with title hopeful Max Whale 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, .094 seconds off the win, but the final-lap chaos allowed Kevin Stollings 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 Even still, Daniels expanded his title advantage, which now stands at 12 (248-236) with two races remaining.
Eleventh-place was all he needed, but Cory Texter instead preferred to celebrate his dominant 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, Jesse Janisch and Morgen Mischler.
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 No. 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.
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.
Meanwhile, Janisch fought his way back up to come out on top of a last-lap drafting contest for the podium with Ben Lowe (fourth) and Mischler (fifth). The result was Janisch’s third top-three in four starts in place of the injured Dalton Gauthier.