DAYTONA BEACH, FL – July 2, 2023 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750) delivered a performance for the ages in Saturday night’s All Seasons Powersports West Virginia Half-Mile, in what proved to be a memorable return for Progressive American Flat Track, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, to Mineral Wells, West Virginia, after nearly two decades away.
Mees came to West Virginia Motor Speedway for the first time since 2006 with an opportunity to match fellow legend Scott Parker’s markfor most Half-Mile wins in the long history of the Grand National Championship.
But to do so, he understood that he was going to have to overcome the combined challenge of Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle title leader Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), Lima Half-Mile conqueror Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 790 Duke), and Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge winner Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750) after the four went bar-to-bar minutes earlier in the four-lap dash for cash.
The potential adversaries whittled down almost immediately, however, as Fisher wheelied away his prime starting slot from pole and dropped to sixth. Meanwhile, Daniels was only one position further up the order and slotted in behind fellow Yamaha runners JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and Dan Bromley (No. 62 HRP Racing/Memphis Shades/Mike Vinson/Corbin Yamaha MT-07).
That left just Bauman alone to prevent Mees from escaping at the front. The Rick Ware Racing hero did well to demonstrate his recent success was down to more than simply capitalizing on a series of racetracks well suited to his bike’s strengths, tracking the factory Indian ace down to show him a wheel at half-distance.
However, Mees’ relentless excellence ultimately won the day, allowing him to stretch open some breathing space late. In the end, he secured his record-tying 35th-career HM win with a 0.609-second margin of victory.
Afterward, Mees said, “It feels really good – this is like my favorite one so far this year. I didn’t feel like we were the fastest guy lining up for that Main Event. We made some game-changing decisions after the dash with the Öhlins rear shock. With not trying something like that all day, you don’t know exactly what to expect, but I have a lot of faith in my team. It was a super finesse-y track – it was really easy to make a mistake and lose your momentum. I thought Briar and Davis were the guys to beat. But I hit my marks every lap, moved around to figure out where Briar was catching me, got my spot and felt the motorcycle hook up and move forward.”
Behind, Daniels’ season-long podium streak came under serious threat. He was pressed hard to work his way around Beach and Bromley before being forced to fight his way back up to third after Bromley contacted his rear wheel with four minutes remaining. Both riders came close to hitting the dirt following the incident, which allowed Beach to steal third and Fisher to close in to make for a four-way sprint for the final spot on the box.
Daniels ultimately rebounded to keep his perfect top-three run intact. In doing so, he also held on to his points lead, albeit by a slim five-point margin over reigning champion Mees (237-232). Beach followed his teammate home fourth. Fisher picked up fifth, while part-timer Bromley only had a sixth-place finish to show for his impressive outing.
Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Indian FTR750) charged the entire distance in an attempt to make it a five-way scrap for the podium before earning a relatively close seventh. Likewise, Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650) slashed up to eighth, despite starting from the back of the pack after suffering a mechanical issue during his heat race.
Henry Wiles (No. 17 BriggsAuto.com/Martin Trucking Indian FTR750) and Jeffery Lowery (No. 223 Lowery Racing/Gray Hogs Yamaha MT-07) rounded out the top ten.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
Defending Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER champ Kody Kopp (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) once again showcased his Half-Mile mastery by scoring the seventh victory of his young career at the distance on Saturday night.
And like last week’s win, this one came with considerable effort. From the start, Kopp was embroiled in an evolving melee with Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and James Ott (No. 19 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450).
With multiple lines working, the three moved up and down the track as they exploited their preferred angles of attack while looking for any possible edge over one another.
Brunner pushed into the lead at mid-distance and held a half-second advantage at one point. However, the KTM star put his head down, reeled the Estenson Racing pilot back in, and kept up the momentum once he stormed past on the high line.
With a minute remaining on the clock, Kopp held a similar gap of his own, which he then managed to the checkered flag.
Kopp said, “The goal all day was to get a good start and try to split… we didn’t do that. Trevor got a great start, and he had a pace that was hard to keep up with. He had this line through 3 and 4 that had us skimming the Airfence every lap. I couldn’t figure that corner out, but I felt like we had him covered in 1 and 2. By the end of it, we kept digging and figured some things out and charged hard. This was a fun track and a fun race.”
Brunner finished as the race’s runner-up to earn his first podium since the season opener. He followed by Ott, who faded slightly late en route to his third top three of the season.
Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), who joined the battle for the lead momentarily, took a lonely fourth. Meanwhile, his Turner Racing Honda teammate, Chase Saathoff (No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), won out in a scrap for fifth over Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) and Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F).
With five wins to his name in ‘23, Kopp has rebuilt a commanding lead in his title defense, now leading by 40 points (216-176) over Whale. Brunner’s big night sees him move into a tie with Saathoff for third at 173 points.
The 2023 Progressive American Flat Track’s run of four consecutive Half-Miles continues with next weekend’s inaugural Orange County Half-Mile at Orange County Speedway in Middletown, New York, on Saturday, July 8. Visit https://www.americanflattrack.com/events/2023/view/orange-county-half-mile-2023 to reserve your seats today.
For those that can’t catch the live action from the circuit, FansChoice.tv is the live streaming home of Progressive AFT. Sign up now and catch every second of on-track action starting with Practice & Qualifying and ending with the Victory Podium at the end of the night at https://www.fanschoice.tv.
FOX Sports coverage of the All Seasons Powersports West Virginia Half-Mile, featuring in-depth features and thrilling onboard cameras, will premiere on FS1 on Saturday, July 8, at 11:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. PT).
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.
About Progressive American Flat Track
Progressive American Flat Track is the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on Progressive American Flat Track, please visit us on the web, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check us out on Instagram and catch all the Progressive American Flat Track racing action on FOX Sports.
Source: Progressive American Flat Track