74 months ago

 - via web

- Story

Daytona TT - Defending Grand National Champ Jared Mees Picks Up Where He Left Off

Daytona Beach, Florida, United States

The world’s elite dirt track motorcycle racers entered the 2018 American Flat Track opener at Daytona International Speedway having spent practically every available moment for the past several months searching for answers after getting roundly trounced by defending Grand National Champion **Jared Mees **last year. One round into the 2018 AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines season, they’re still looking.

Jared Mees and JD Beach sliding it out for spot #1

Jared Mees and JD Beach sliding it out for spot #1

This year’s bigger, better, and faster DAYTONA TT layout played right into Mees’ hands. He called upon an unparalleled combination of pace, determination and daring to force his way into the lead early and then fend off any challenge from there to immediately seize the early-season title advantage. Mees came into contact with fellow Indian Wrecking Crewman** Brad Baker** (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) multiple times over the race’s opening laps as he looked for a way into the lead as a group of five riders bunched up at the front.

He ultimately made the decisive maneuver coming off the jump, jamming through as the two entered the switchback that immediately followed. Mees was quickly followed by MotoAmerica superstar JD Beach (No. 95 G&G Racing/Rickdiculous Racing/Team95 Yamaha FZ-07). Once into second, Beach showed off the skills that allowed him to reign supreme in December’s Superprestigio Dirt Track, cutting into Mees’ gap during the middle portions of the race. However, after the lead narrowed to around a half-second, Mees wicked it back up and safely powered home to the checkered flag.

TT master Henry Wiles (No. 17 Willy Built/Bandit Industries Kawasaki Ninja 650) had the speed to battle for a record-extending 19th TT victory — he just didn’t have the start. Wiles ran into Turn 1 mired in the sixth position and found himself playing catch-up for the remainder of the race.

JD Beach trying to hold of the #17

JD Beach trying to hold of the #17

Jake Johnson (No. 5 Estenson Racing Yamaha FZ-07) made a solid debut with the Estenson Racing squad in sixth. He was followed by Davis Fisher (No. 67 Bob Lanphere Beaverton Motorcycles Kawasaki Ninja 650) and a rejuvenated Kenny Coolbeth (No. 2 Nila Racing, Columbia Avionic Indian Scout FTR750).

Former champ Smith halted his slide down the order at 9th after running inside the top five early, while Robert Pearson (No. 27 R/J Performance/Hite Trucking Indian Scout FTR750) made it five Indian FTR750s in the top 10.

ATF Singles

The projected AFT Singles title favorites were forced out of the spotlight in the 2018 season opener; the primary agents of speed and drama on this night under the lights at Daytona International Speedway were the TT specialists and the one-off wild cards.

The wild card, in particular, raced like they had nothing to lose. With blistering speed on their side, MotoAmerica star Jake Lewis (No. 185 Team M4 Suzuki RM-Z450), British Supersport contender James Rispoli (No. 143 RMR/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda CRF450R), and two-time Spanish Dirt Track champ Ferran Cardús (No. 377 Number 6/Diesel Minnesota Honda CRF450R) locked down the top three positions on the grid and looked every bit capable of doing the same to the podium.

However, all three crashed in an eventful, twice red-flagged Main Event, which opened the door for others to rush through. In fact, Rispoli forced a red flag moments after the original start and was then the innocent victim of a second red-flag incident himself, which ended his night early. Cardus had the misfortune of saving his fall(s) for the third and final leg of the race, costing him a shot at victory.

It was Brandon Price (No. 92 Parkinson Brothers Racing/DPC Racing Honda CRF450R), Ben Lowe (No. 20 Bruce Lowe Excavating Kawasaki KX450F), Ryan Wells (No. 94 RMR/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda CRF450) and Kevin Stollings (No. 99 Roof Systems Honda CRF450R) ultimately finished between seventh and 15th also helped to minimize the damage of Carlile’s season-opening scratch.

The win was the fourth of Bromley’s AFT Singles career. After the race, he said, “It feels great. It shows all the preparation we put in coming here really paid off. The track was really one-lined so I knew we had to get a good start here. Rekluse came in right before the Main Event and helped adjust the clutch, and it worked really good. I can’t thank them enough. I knew the guys behind me were coming. I knew I had to ride perfect every lap, and I did that. It feels good.”

Shane Narbonne claimed his career first Singles podium

Shane Narbonne claimed his career first Singles podium

Despite being caught up in the early melee which forced him to restart from Row 4, Shane Narbonne (No. 27 JMC Motorsports/All Phase Chimneys Honda CRF450R) successfully slashed his way through the pack and held off Lewis for third to claim his first career AFT Singles podium.

Next Up:

The American Flat Track paddock will next head up I-65 for the Harley-Davidson Atlanta Short Track presented by Hellbender Harley-Davidson on Saturday, April 7 in Woodstock, Ga., for Round 2 of the 2018 season. Live coverage can be viewed on beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET with Opening Ceremonies scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at

You must be logged in to comment
Login now