MEES FIRST TIME AMA GRAND NATIONAL LEADER COMING INTO JOLIET Expert Twins Class to debut PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 18, 2007) -- Jared Mees, the 2004 AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year, leads the AMA Grand National Twins Championship for the first...
MEES FIRST TIME AMA GRAND NATIONAL LEADER COMING INTO JOLIET
Expert Twins Class to debut
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 18, 2007) -- Jared Mees, the 2004 AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year, leads the AMA Grand National Twins Championship for the first time in his young career as the series moves to Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., on Saturday, June 23. Even though the Pennsylvania native is excited to be leading the series, he's realistic about what it means this early in the season.
"It's nice for our sponsors and to be able tell friends and fans that you're leading the point standings," said Mees, who rides Johnny Goad-tuned race bikes for Blue Springs Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson/Saddlemen. "I know in reality though that we're only two races into the championship and I'm only one point ahead of Kenny Coolbeth. It's a tight championship and I think it could be that way the entire year."
The AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship returns to Route 66 Raceway for the first time since 2005. Mees finished sixth that year, but said he expects to improve on that finish this time around.
"It rained just before the race there in '05," he said. "It was a very tacky track and I don't think it will be like that again. I felt comfortable on the track and since then I've gained a lot of experience and I think we have a great shot at winning."
Mees is holding off defending AMA Grand National Twins Champion Ken Coolbeth, of the factory Harley-Davidson team, by a single point as the series rolls into Joliet.
Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford team owner/rider Chris Carr is a close third in the series standings. Carr, a seven-time AMA Grand National Champion, won at Route 66 Raceway in 2005.
While Mees sees Coolbeth and Carr as the two main riders he's watching out for, he believes there are a number of riders capable of stepping up and making it a multi-rider championship battle to the final race.
"There are a lot of riders this year who could potentially be the champion at the end of the year," Mees explained. "The key is to be consistent. That's how Chris Carr won all his championships and that's the way I plan to approach the rest of the season."
This weekend will also mark the debut of the new Expert Twins class. Announced in March, this class was created specifically to allow riders the opportunity to gain experience on twin-cylinder equipment.
Last week on June 11 and 12 at Allen County Fairgrounds' Lima half-mile track in Lima, Ohio, AMA Racing officials conducted a test to further determine the suitability of equipment for this new class. Riding both restricted and unrestricted Harley-Davidson XR750 twins, AMA Racing's Steve Morehead put in a number of laps to evaluate such things as top speed, throttle control and handling.
On the first day of the test, Morehead, AMA Racing's Flat Track Operations Manager and a former multi-time AMA Grand National Championship race winner, rode Matt Weidman's XR750 with 29mm restrictors. On Tuesday the test continued with Morehead's evaluation of the unrestricted XR750 of Ken Coolbeth.
Ken Saillant, AMA Racing Director of Flat Track commented on the tests. "This was an extremely beneficial test for us to evaluate the differences between restricted and unrestricted engines and the overall effect on the motorcycles' characteristics," said Saillant. "As a former top rider with hundreds of finishes including a significant number of GNC wins, Steve is a tremendous asset to our organization and was able to provide expert insight into the technical aspects of the tuning of the two motorcycles. We were able to gather a great deal of valuable information that will be used solely by our officials in race operations."
Saillant added that the motorcycles of Weidman and Coolbeth were chosen randomly and thanked the riders and crews for cooperating and making their equipment available for this evaluation.
Route 66 Raceway is a half-mile clay oval and has hosted AMA Grand National events since 1998. The race is will broadcast on MavTV. Visit www.mavtv.com for additional information.
Tickets are available for the race by calling Route 66 Raceway at (815) 727-7223 of visit the website www.route66raceway.com.