Jared Mees scored a thrilling victory over Indian Motorcycle teammate Briar Bauman at the inaugural I-70 Half-Mile in Odessa, Missouri. Jesse Janisch won the Production Twins race aboard his Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R. Read more from the Progressive AFT press release below.
Daytona Beach, Fla. (April 23, 2022) – Progressive American Flat Track superstar Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) added to his legend in a thrilling inaugural I-70 Half-Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle of Kansas City on Saturday evening in Odessa, Missouri.
The Kansas City-area fans who waited 17 years plus one long day of largely inclement weather to see the world’s greatest motorcycle dirt track racers do battle were rewarded for their patience with an instant classic featuring the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle class’ modern-day titans.
Briar Bauman (No. 3 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) powered into the lead at the start, followed closely by JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT). Mees didn’t waste any time dispatching Beach to prevent Bauman from getting any thoughts of running away out front, and then used that momentum to rail his way into the lead for good measure.
Bauman seemed happy enough to let Mees lead; he spent the bulk of the race sizing his rival up and trying out some lines in advance of the inevitable late-race confrontation.
And Bauman’s studies nearly paid off with a win. In the race’s final laps, he attempted inside and outside maneuvers, pulling up alongside Mees more than once. However, his final shot was foiled as Mees expertly positioned a lapper between them in the race’s final corner, providing Bauman no realistic path to steal away the victory at the flag.
As a result, I-70 Motorsports Park stands as the 32nd venue conquered by Mees, tying him with the iconic Chris Carr for most in premier-class history.
“What a day,” Mees said. “Mother Nature actually played a good hand for the racetrack for us. Thankfully we got the racing in before the next storm came in. These races that are quick with just one round of qualifying and right into a Main Event are hectic. You’ve got to be on point from word go.
“What a hectic Main Event with Briar. I felt him breathing down my neck the entire time. A track like this makes for a lot of tiny little mistakes, but everybody has their fair share of them, and we stuck it out and got to the checkered flag first.”
Despite enjoying a quick start, Beach was also ultimately overhauled by Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) and Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) before ending his slide in fifth.
Once through, Robinson teased the potential to turn the race into a three-way affair before finally settling into third to secure his first podium of the ‘22 season.
Daniels came home fourth, which means the heralded rookie stands as the only rider other than two-time champion Bauman to have finished fourth or better in every race this season.
Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) finished sixth, followed by Mission Production Twins Challenge entry Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R). Together the two ensured that a pair of Harley-Davidson XG750Rs would finish inside the top seven alongside the three Indians and two Yamahas ahead of them.
The talented Davis Fisher (No. 67 Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750), Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), and Brandon Price (No. 92 Briggsauto.com/Martin Trucking Indian FTR750) finished eighth, ninth, and tenth respectively, underlining the depth of talent in the field this season.
Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) took his Texas frustrations out on the field in the form of outright dominance of the evening’s Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines. The Vance & Hines pilot stormed to the front off the line and effectively removed all doubt within a matter of laps.
While Janisch established order at the front, the remainder of the positions shook out behind him in a manner more akin to chaos.
Ben Lowe (No. 25 Helipower Racing/Mission Foods Harley-Davidson XG750R), who topped the opening practice by nearly a half-second, was removed from podium contention early with a mechanical issue. In his absence, the young and aggressive trio of Billy Ross (No. 109 Mission Foods/Roof Systems Kawasaki Ninja 650), Kolby Carlile (No. 36 KC36 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XG750R), and Cole Zabala (No. 51 Memphis Shades/Corbin/Vinson Yamaha MT-07) threw haymakers at one another in their scrap for second.
Despite a smoking machine, Ross made a late escape and appeared to have the runner-up position all locked up… That is, until his ailing bike finally expired with less than a minute remaining on the clock. To add to the late-race drama, Zabala and Carlile suffered massive crashes in quick succession with just over a lap left to be run.
That development forced an early end to the contest while remaking the podium rather significantly.
In the race’s early stages, Janisch seemed primed to make huge strides in the standings following his 14th-place result in Fort Worth, with title leaders Nick Armstrong (No. 60 Competitive Racing Frames/Lessley Brothers Yamaha MT-07) and Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) mired down at the tail-end of the top ten.
It didn’t turn out that way, however, as the two kept their heads down and quietly fought their way up the order. And by the time the red flag concluded their charge, Armstrong and Texter found themselves in second and third, respectively.
Texter only narrowly earned that spot on the box, edging fourth-placed Jeremiah Duffy (No. 42 Sammy O Racing/Arai Helmets Kawasaki Ninja 650) by 0.087 seconds with fifth-placed Jordan Harris (No. 77 Roy Built/S&J Coal Mine Kawasaki Ninja 650) another 0.319 seconds back.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
Minutes before Mees pulled off the same feat, it was actually Kody Kopp (No. 12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) who became the first repeat winner of the Progressive AFT season when he took the checkered flag in the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER Main Event.
And as with Mees, the achievement didn’t come easily. The race began precisely as the previous Parts Unlimited AFT Singles showdown ended – with Kopp draped all over Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) and searching for a way past and into the lead.
This time, however, he managed to pull it off. Kopp showed a wheel on the inside several times before the two finally circulated the D-shaped oval side-by-side. A bobble on Mischler’s part allowed Kopp to seal the overtake and provided the rising star a clear run to victory.
However, Kopp’s decorated teammate, Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE), nearly had a say in that. The Aussie swallowed up Mischler after coming from well back and then tried to do the same to his young KTM stablemate, simply running out of time as he continues to seek his first win of the year.
“I’m feeling really good,” Kopp said. “Hats off to my entire Red Bull KTM team. We put a ton of work in this offseason, and I think it’s showing to start the season. It was clean racing out there, and I couldn’t be happier to pull off our second win.”
Mischler held on for third while Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and James Ott (No. 19 MediaHT/G&G Racing KTM 450 SX-F) completed the top five.
The I-70 Half-Mile will premiere on FS1 on Sunday, May 1, at 10:00 a.m. ET/7:00 a.m. PT., including exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and expert commentary.
Progressive AFT will do battle at a Mile for the first time in 2022 and do it twice with the Mission Red Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle of Lexington doubleheader on Memorial Day weekend at the the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 28-29. Visit https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3722/ to reserve your tickets today!
For those viewing from home, you can catch the livestream free via Facebook up until Opening Ceremonies. Fans can then purchase access to watch Opening Ceremonies, Semis, Main Events, and podium celebrations via Facebook Paid Online Events for $3.99 if purchased 24 hours or more in advance, or $4.99 if purchased on the day of the event.
For more information on Progressive AFT, visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.
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How to Watch:
FOX Sports and Facebook are the official homes for coverage of Progressive American Flat Track. For the 2022 season, all 18 races will premiere in one-hour telecasts on FS1 during highly desirable weekend time slots. The complete schedule can be viewed at https://www.americanflattrack.com/events-foxsports. Viewers can watch livestream coverage of every round in the Facebook mobile app, Facebook desktop site, or on the Facebook Watch mobile app. To watch the livestream on TV, fans can download the Facebook Watch TV app, or cast to a TV from the Facebook mobile app. Facebook Watch is available through Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and Xbox One.