MEES SCORES SECOND CONSECUTIVE VICTORY OF THE AMA FLAT TRACK SEASON; WINS AT LIMA Screamin' Eagle Wrecking Crew Sweeps Podium LIMA, Ohio (July 1, 2007) -- Jared Mees earned his second consecutive AMA Flat Track victory Saturday, his fifth win ...
MEES SCORES SECOND CONSECUTIVE VICTORY OF THE AMA FLAT TRACK SEASON; WINS AT LIMA
Screamin' Eagle Wrecking Crew Sweeps Podium
LIMA, Ohio (July 1, 2007) -- Jared Mees earned his second consecutive AMA Flat Track victory Saturday, his fifth win overall. Mees rode his Blue Springs/Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson to the Allen Country Fairgrounds win in Lima -- his second career win on the pea gravel track.
"I still can't believe it, not yet," Mees said. "It was just one of those nights where everything was so great. It was just like Bulls Gap (last victory) where I was waiting for the bottom to drop and the bad luck never came. My team did a great job getting the bike ready for the race and it was as close to perfect as I could have asked for."
Well, perfect might not be the exact word a typical racer might have used. Mees did have some technical difficulties during his heat race.
"Kenny (Coolbeth, teammate) missed a shift and I actually hit him," Mees said. "I ripped off my foot peg and my brake and I had to go the rest of the race without them. We thought we had some dirt in the motor, but we still won. We ran the George Roeder Memorial Dash for Cash just to make sure the bike was running OK and we won that too. It was a great race day."
The main event just as smoothly as Mees's first win of the season (Bulls Gap) as Mees led the race from start to finish for the second consecutive event.
Mees was in good company on the podium as he was surrounded by his Wrecking Crew teammates. Screamin' Eagle factory rider Kenny Coolbeth -- the defending AMA Flat Track champion -- finished in second place while Pat Moroney's/Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson rider Bryan Smith finished in third place. It was Smith's first podium finish since his Springfield, Ill., win last fall. Wrecking Crew rider Joe Kopp finished in seventh place on his Team Latus Harley-Davidson.
Mees said Coolbeth's second place was one of the most impressive feats of the weekend.
"I got a great start and it just got better from there," the Clio, Mich., resident said. "But what Kenny did was amazing. He's a teammate and you want to see him do well, but we're also battling for the points lead and wins.
"Kenny blew up his motor in the heat race and had to use his backup bike and start from the third row of the main event. Honestly, I didn't think I would see him. Lima is such a tough track and it's real difficult to pass. I didn't think he would finish in the top five. He came out of the third row and raced into second place. I crossed the finish line and looked back and saw Kenny. I couldn't believe it. He's such a strong competitor."
It was the first time this season the Wrecking Crew riders swept the podium.
"We're thrilled to have a 1-2-3 finish of the Wrecking Crew," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "We're so happy with the way Kenny bounced back. He started in the back and worked his way up to a podium finish. All of the Wrecking Crew riders did a great job this weekend."
Mees remains the Twins points leader, holding a five-point lead over Coolbeth. Mees took over the top spot for the first time in his career following his win in Bulls Gap, Tenn., June 7.
"Jared continues to remind the Harley family why we have him on the Wrecking Crew," Paluso said. "He's earned back-to-back wins and that shows what a competitive team the Blue Springs Harley group has put together. Jared is one of the young, up-and-coming guys who is going to provide a competitive edge to every race."
Smith's third place was his first podium finish of the season -- something he's been aiming for all season.
"It was a good weekend because we had a great motorcycle," Smith said. "We had the fast time, I won the heat and it was looking really good. Jared got a good start and I got a bad start in the main event and it took me a while to get back up to the front. In the end, I just ran out of time. But it's nice being back on the podium and we have something to improve on when Joliet comes around next weekend."
Mess knows that with the entire field, including teammates Coolbeth, Smith and Kopp, being the point leader could be a short-lived experience. He also knows last year's second place finish in the final championship standings helped him prepare to battle for the championship now.
"I just want this so badly and I think it's coming out in my riding," Mees said. "Last year I sat down and looked at a lot of things that made the season great, and made the season difficult. I've applied all that experience to this season and I'm more confident because of it.
"I know the points lead is going to change a few times this season and that's why I won't get too excited about being in the lead right now. It's been nice being at the top of the pack, but I know it can change with one bad lap in Joliet. There are a lot of good riders out there and I just have to keep my focus on my riding."
The next AMA Flat Track event is the rescheduled round in Joliet, Ill. Originally scheduled for June 23, the race was rained out and moved to July 7.