Jared Mees (1) leads Davis Fisher to the checkered flag. (Photo AFT)
LEXINGTON, Ky. — American progressive flat-track legend Jared Mees (#1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) returned to the top of the list in stunning fashion during Sunday night’s Mission Red Mile II presented by Indian Motorcycle of Lexington.
The day after being beaten to the strip at the Red Mile by Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle rookie sensation Dallas Daniels (#32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), Mees and Daniels settled into a rematch at the before the first-class event.
The two threatened to drop the rest of the field from the start, but were gradually caught by Davis Fisher (BMC Racing Indian FTR750 #67 Bob Lanphere) and Briar Bauman (Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750 #3).
However, just after the half distance, Bauman’s charge faded, leaving Fisher as the only driver who could turn the battle for victory into a three-way affair.
He delivered on his promise with five minutes remaining, creating a contest of contrasting strengths and lines.
Daniels led to open the final lap but with Mees and Fisher both chasing him. As the three came out of turn two, it always seemed like anyone’s race until Mees and Fisher both stormed Daniels with unexpected ease.
The rookie’s untimely bike issues turned the fight into a two-man match for the final half. Fisher did everything he could to draft the defending champion to the boards, but missed 0.126 seconds to beat one of the best Mile runners in history on one of his best runs.
The win was Mees’ 23rd mile win, tying him with Ricky Graham for fifth all-time in the discipline. It was also his fourth in five attempts at Lexington, Kentucky.
“It was actually beneficial to have the Jumbotron up front right away because I was able to take a look at it,” Mees said. “The first two rounds, Dallas and I had a pretty comfortable lead. It was good because I could hold back and follow him and see where I was strong and see where maybe I could pull back. I sat there and I studied it because I have to ride very precise for everything to count.
Daniels looked capable of limping onto the podium, but instead was zapped across the line by 0.067 seconds by teammate JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT).
The Kentuckian overhauled eventual fifth runner-up Bauman and sixth Mission Production Twins Challenge entrant Jesse Janisch (#33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R), before finally sailing by Daniels to the flag.
James Rispoli’s (#43 Wally Brown Racing/Haversack KTM 890 Duke) WBR KTM went from untested to heavy favorite after a first night of racing that saw it dominate Saturday’s Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event, then deliver a podium finish in the Mission SuperTwins Main while abseiling.
However, any fears that he could prove invincible on day two was more than offset by the reality that he is still at a relatively early stage of development.
Rather than break free after taking the lead at the start of Sunday’s race, Rispoli found himself embroiled in an intense battle with Jesse Janisch (#33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R), as the two raced away from the peloton.
Rispoli and Janisch swapped leads several times, with Janisch taking the lead just as the clock expired. He then put his head down in hopes of putting his opponent behind him for the final two rounds, but the drama of a possible photo-finish ended immediately earlier; Rispoli sat out as the two came out of turn four for the final time due to a mechanical issue.
After taking his second win of the 22 season, Janisch said: “The bike was coming out of the corners a bit better tonight. The bike was on rails. I am delighted. It was a good race. »
With seconds remaining in the fight for the lead, Cory Texter (#1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) fought a similar back and forth battle with Ben Lowe (#25 Mission Foods/Roof Systems Yamaha MT -07) for the third. The defending champion passed Lowe late and retained the second position.
Ryan Varnes (#68 Schaeffer’s Motorsports/Rausch Fuel & Oil KTM 890 Duke) dropped out of the podium but managed to hold onto fourth place.
Meanwhile, Michael Rush (#15 Hellipower Racing/Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XG750R) fought his way from row 4 to fifth.
Dalton Gauthier (#79 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) took top honors in a barn-scorching Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER Main Event.
The drama to come was teased early on when Trevor Brunner (#21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) got into the rear wheel of Saturday winner Morgen Mischler (#13 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R). Fortunately, the two leaders emerged unscathed from the contact.
Max Whale (#18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) would not have been so lucky minutes later when Brunner slammed into him and the Aussie was thrown off his bike and into the Airfence.
After the resulting red flag, there was only a moment to breathe as the leading pack was made up of the whole field until the two-minute mark. With a minute remaining on the clock, a field of seven riders emerged – and one that somehow included both Whale and Brunner, who had worked their way together from the back row starting position at the reboot.
Mischler opened up a slight advantage to open the final lap but was held back by the chasing group as they charged towards the flag. Gauthier passed his teammate at the last possible moment, edging Mischler to the flag by just 0.029 seconds for his first win of the season.
Whale got his revenge by securing the last spot on the box, taking third place ahead of title leader Kody Kopp (#12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) and Brunner.