Mees Under the Spotlight as AFT Heads to Lima Half-Mile

25 Jun 2019
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As the 2019 American Flat Track paddock makes its annual pilgrimage to the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio, for the Indian Motorcycle Lima Half-Mile Presented By Johnny K's Indian powered by Drag Specialties on Saturday, June 29, the spotlight shifts its glare back to reigning Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750).

 

Mees’ younger Indian Wrecking Crew teammates have stolen away some of the attention he so thoroughly demanded during back-to-back AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines title runs in 2017 and 2018. Briar Bauman (No. 14 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) currently holds a 34-point championship lead on the strength of a perfect seven-for-seven podium record in 2019, while Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) rides into the Lima Half-Mile still savoring his maiden premier-class victory.

 

For Mees, the Lima Half-Mile represents equal parts pressure, opportunity, and responsibility. It’s not only his home race, he’s also the event promoter. It also just happens to be exactly the sort of demanding, physical track that Mees loves to conquer as a showcase of his ability and focus.

 

That increased focus can play out in more than one way. In 2017, the Lima Half-Mile was the only Main Event Mees failed to qualify for -- or podium for that matter -- due to penalties he incurred for jumping the start in his semi. A year later, he got his redemption in the form of a runaway victory that was arguably the centerpiece performance of his successful 2018 title defense.

 

Which way things go in 2019 could very well play an important role in determining if Mees will be able to secure three consecutive Grand National Championships. Winning this weekend could be far from easy; Briar Bauman took the Main in 2017 in dominant fashion and second-ranked Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Kennedy Racing/Armbruster Racing Indian FTR750) took top honors at the venue in 2016.

 

Fans should also keep their eyes on last year’s race runner-up Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof-Systems of Dallas/Indian of Metro Milwaukee FTR750), the returning JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), Harley teammates Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R Rev X) and Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R Rev X), and so many others with the potential to steal the spotlight for themselves.

 

The showdown in the Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys class should be equally intriguing. Shayna Texter (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing SX-F 450) comes in as the defending Lima Half-Mile winner, while AFT Singles points leader Mikey Rush (No. 15 RMR Honda/Red Riders Rewards Honda CRF450R) is riding a two-race win streak.

 

There’s also the likes of Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 D&D Cycles/Gobert Smash Husqvarna FC450), Dan Bromley (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) and Ryan Wells (No. 94 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) to take into consideration.

 

Fans should also keep an eye on Dallas Daniels (No.163 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), as this challenging track marks the debut event for the fresh-blooded wunderkind of the already-formidable Estenson Racing front.

 

As an added bonus, the AFT Production Twins championship fight resumes this weekend after sitting the Laconia Short Track out. After three races, it’s Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Holeshot Powersports Yamaha MT-07) against the field. Unless someone can stop him, Texter is in position to up his perfect season’s win streak to four this weekend.

 

Not surprisingly, fans of Jared Mees will notice a number of familiar backers this weekend. Along with presenting sponsor Johnny K's Indian, several of Mees’ sponsors have come aboard to help support the race, including Drag Specialties, S&S Cycle, Lucas Oil, and J&P Cycles.

 

There’s some extra incentive to pick up an event t-shirt, as a dollar for each event shirt sold will go to support Mees’ former Indian Wrecking Crew teammate Brad Baker.

 

Tickets for the Indian Motorcycle Lima Half-Mile are on sale here. Advance tickets start at just $30.

 

For fans watching remotely, FansChoice.tv will offer live coverage of the Lima Half-Mile when the gates open at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT. Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m PT. The AFT Production Twins Main Event will get underway at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT, followed by the Open Paddock/Rider Autograph Session at 7:40 p.m. ET/4:40 p.m. PT. The remainder of the Main Event program is slated to kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT

 

Be sure to catch the feature broadcast of the Indian Motorcycle Lima Half-Mile Presented By Johnny K's Indian powered by Drag Specialties on NBCSN with flag-to-flag coverage of the Main Events, enhanced by exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage. The broadcast will debut on Saturday, July 6, at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT and will re-air on Monday, July 8, at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT.

 

For more information on American Flat Track visit www.americanflattrack.com.

 

To get the latest American Flat Track clothing and merchandise visit www.americanflattracker.com.

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Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

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