Ralph Sheheen
Ralph Sheheen

Jared Mees, The Race Promoter

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Six-time American Flat Track champion Jared Mees has become one of the best promoters in motorcycle racing these days.

Mees rides full time for the factory Indian team in the hotly contested Mission Super Twins category. He also organizes and promotes three events on the AFT calendar.

Mees and his wife Nichole, who was a successful professional Flat Track racer herself, promote the Lima Half Mile and a doubleheader on the famed Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

The Lima, Ohio, event takes place annually on the last Saturday night in June at the Allen County Fairgrounds. The pea gravel surface and wide sweeping corners offer a big, wide cushion that produces great racing.

Springfield’s ultra-fast mile surface is historically one of the most prestigious stops on the AFT schedule, with the event traditionally run on Labor Day weekend. With the race routinely settled at the finish line after a drafting run to the checkered flag, Springfield is immensely popular with racers and fans alike.

I had the chance to take in the action at Lima for the first time this year as it was part of our season-long coverage of Progressive American Flat Track on FOX Sports1.

Jared and Nichole did a tremendous job of having the pea gravel surface prepped and ready for a full night of racing. There was plenty for the fans to do away from the action on the track as well, with an active manufacturers’ midway full of displays and food vendors.

In addition, race fans were able to venture into the pit area to meet the riders, get autographs and see the powerful machines up close. A great family atmosphere made for an enjoyable experience for those who packed the grandstands.

Well done Nichole and Jared! We’re looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us at Springfield in September. It should be an outstanding weekend of one-mile, flat-track racing.

• World Supercross Championship officials have been busy getting ready for the gate to drop on their first season. The opening round is scheduled for Oct. 8 at the stunning Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, in the United Kingdom.

This year’s schedule will consist of only three rounds as the teams get prepared for a much more comprehensive calendar next season, with the campaign scheduled to begin in June. The other two stops on this year’s tour will be in Melbourne, Australia, and Jakarta, Indonesia.

The series will be made up of 10 teams from around the world.

Each team will field two 250 riders and two 450 riders. The final two slots in the 22-rider starting grid will be given to two wild-card entries from that particular event’s region.

One of the biggest challenges for a new series is its ability to attract big-name competitors.

World Supercross is certainly checking those boxes with the announcement that Ken Roczen has committed to the championship. In addition, two-time Monster Energy AMA Supercross champion Eli Tomac has committed to racing in Cardiff, with the expectation that he will contest this year’s full schedule and become a regular on the tour.

There is hope there will be more major rider announcements soon, since many have now signed Supercross-only contracts for 2023 and beyond. This signifies a trend that many of today’s top dirt bike racers no longer want to spend their summers racing motocross outdoors in the blazing heat where they have to run two lengthy motos each race day.

Instead, they prefer to be indoors, under the lights in a pristine stadium while racing for bigger purses.

In the coming days and weeks, we should expect more rider announcements along with which major television network will be providing coverage of World Supercross stateside.

The 2023 World Supercross schedule is also expected in the coming months.

• The more you talk to the top stars of winged 410 sprint car racing, the more obvious it becomes that purse money isn’t always the deciding factor as to whether or not they choose to participate  in an event. The real deciding factor in most cases is the ability to bring their T-shirt trailer.

Obviously, that’s not the case for everybody, but for the big-name racers who can make significant five-figure paydays in T-shirt money on a given night, it makes a big difference when planning a racing calendar.

So how does this system work as to which drivers’ T-shirt trailers are allowed at which race tracks? A promoter who we spoke with said that Platinum level racers with the World of Outlaws can bring merchandise trailers to every series race.

To be a Platinum level racer, one must commit to running every race on the Outlaws calendar. As far as the rest of the competitors, promoters may choose one racer from outside the Platinum group to bring their trailer.

That makes for some interesting politicking.

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