Jared Mees snagged his third win of the season to put him just three points behind Sammy Halbert in the championship.
Things just got a little tighter in the 2011 AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship following festivities as Michigan’s I-96 Speedway. Despite a mediocre start, Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson’s Jared Mees nabbed a come from behind victory at his home track in Lake Odessa. The crowd favorite crossed the line 1.66 seconds ahead of Fasthog.com/American Harley-Davidson’s Bryan Smith, with Zanotti Racing’s Jake Johnson rounding out the podium in third just less than two-tenths behind Smith. Meanwhile current championship leader, Sammy Halbert, had his points lead cut down to just three after finishing fourth more than four seconds off the pace of Mees.
Round 11 was kicked off under overcast conditions, but as riders lined up for the first race the sky cleared with temperatures quickly rising. Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/TeamHurtByAccident.com’s Brad Baker had a solid start during the main, but he was soon replaced up front by Smith in the opening lap. Further behind Mees was attempting to fight back from a fifth-place start. Entering the second lap Mees was charging toward the front pack and on the following lap the 25-year-old was pressuring Smith.
“Bryan slipped a little high,” said Mees. “I was able to get inside. As soon as I got to the front, I knew I could win this.”
After getting out front Mees continued to stretch his lead ahead of the field. As Smith held steady in second, Johnson tried everything he could to secure runner-up at the finish line. Johnson was unable to capitalize on his close proximity to Smith, however, and Halbert was also unable to improve his ranking after dropping further off the pace near the end of the match. American Motorcyclist Association/Classic Harley-Davidson’s Chris Carr, White’s Harley-Davidson/Snip’s Matt Weidman and Eddie Adkins Racing’s Jeff Carver posted a fierce run at Halbert toward the end, but eventually finished fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. Three-time Lake Odessa winner Kenny Coolbeth snatched eighth at the checkers more than seven seconds off the pace as Action Motorsports’ Brandon Robinson rounded out the top-10 just behind Doug Lawrence.
Mees’ victory proved significant as the series is now separated by only three points with half the championship still remaining. After finishing third, Johnson remains only six points behind Mees as the series heads to Sacramento next week.
In the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles main event Weirbach Racing’s Michael Martin capitalized on Stephen Vanderkuur’s early problems for the eventual win. Vanderkuur led during the first four laps of the bout, but on Lap 4 the Mack Daddy Honda rider was forced to pull off track to give Martin the clear advantage.
Michigan native Chaz Springsteen was soon hounding Martin for the lead, but he too suffered mechanical trouble and was forced to call it quits on Lap 10. Martin continued to pull a four-second lead ahead of his competition while Diesel Minnesota’s Conner Anderson and Scott Powersports’ Jake Shoemaker rounded out the top-three.
Now his second win in a row, Martin leads the GNC Pro Singles division by 10 points ahead of Gerit Callies.
2011 Lake Odessa Half-Mile Grand National Twins Results:
1. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
2. Bryan Smith (Harley-Davidson)
Michael Martin snared his second consecutive victory after Stephen Vanderkuur and Chaz Springsteen suffered mechanical troubles.
3. Jake Johnson (Harley-Davidson)
4. Sammy Halbert (Harley-Davidson)
5. Chris Carr (Harley-Davidson)
6. Mat Weidman (Harley-Davidson)
7. Jeffrey Carver Jr. (Harley-Davidson)
8. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Harley-Davidson)
9. Brad Baker (Ducati)
10. Brandon Robinson (Harley-Davidson)
11. Doug Lawrence (Harley-Davidson)
12. Henry Wiles (Harley-Davidson)
13. Johnny Lewis (Kawasaki)
14. Jimmy Wood (Harley-Davidson)
15. Logan Myers (Harley-Davidson)
16. Michael Kirkness (Harley-Davidson)
17. Adam Carpinello (Harley-Davidson)
18. Jethro Halbert (Harley-Davidson)
2011 Pro Singles Lake Odessa Half-Mile Results:
1. Michael Martin (Honda)
2. Conner Anderson (Honda)
3. Jake Shoemaker (Suzuki)
4. Michael LaBelle (Honda)
5. John Long III (Suzuki)
6. Jason Isennock (Honda)
7. Zakk Palmer (Honda)
8. Corey Crawford (Honda)
9. William Cato (Honda)
10. Jeremy Hamilton (Honda)