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SPRINGFIELD MILE 2021

Neck and Neck Sept. 5th, 2021

Photos and text by Elliot Doering
9/13/2021


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Sept. 5th, 2021
Springfield, Illinois
American Flat Track Series
“Springfield Mile 1”


One of the all-time great mile track legends - #9 – Jared Mees (#9 Indian Motorcycles Indian FTR-750) dominated the “Labor Day Weekend” Springfield Mile 1 before a packed house at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, home of “ The World’s Fastest Mile.”

The Battle for the win, double 2021 Springfield Mile Winner, #9 Jared Mees battles with #44, Brandon Robinson and Jared Vanderkooi
The Battle for the win, double 2021 Springfield Mile Winner, #9 Jared Mees battles with #44, Brandon Robinson and Jared Vanderkooi



Mees really had his Indian flying, and was never really challenged, to add to his career Mile wins. The race consisted of a 14-minute plus 2 laps Main Event thriller, which saw up to 8 riders in the lead group all battling at a frantic pace at 145 mph, until a pack made up of Mees, defending AFT Champ – Briar Bauman, Brandon Robinson, Sammy Halbert, and Jarod Vanderkooi, all Indian mounted, made up the bulk of the race.

As is often the case at Springfield, a last lap shootout resulted between Mees and Bauman, but that only happened once the race slipped under the 3 minute mark. Unfortunately, Vanderkooi was the first to leave the race with a mechanical issue, while Halbert would follow for the same reason, with less than a minute on the clock.

Robinson would fall off the pace of the lead pack on the final lap, resulting in just Bauman and Mees to determine the winner.

Double Springfield Mile #9 Jared Mees battles with #20 Jaron Vanderkooi, both on Indians.
Double Springfield Mile #9 Jared Mees battles with #20 Jaron Vanderkooi, both on Indians.



The pair fought tooth and nail, swapping the lead back and forth throughout much of the battle, and Bauman would execute a stellar high and low line late that gave him the potential path to glory. He tried to duplicate it in turns 3 and 4 on the last lap, but came up just inches short of passing Mees, as the pair flashed toward the checkers.

Mees would hold onto the victory by just 0.116 seconds, with Robinson gaining a fine podium result for third.

As said, Mees’s win was his 6th victory at Springfield, which includes 4 of the last 5 races there.

Defending American Flat track series champion #1, Briar Bauman finished 2nd at the Springfield Mile.
Defending American Flat track series champion #1, Briar Bauman finished 2nd at the Springfield Mile.



Frustration showed on Bauman’s face, and he made it clear in Victory Circle that Mees’s blocking tactics often crossed the line. He stated he’s, “not get mad, get even,” for the second Mile rematch, on Monday.

The bike that battled the Indians, #95, J.D. Beach’s Yamaha MT-07
The bike that battled the Indians, #95, J.D. Beach’s Yamaha MT-07



Robert Price, a team mate to both Robinson and Vanderkooi, on the Mission Indian team, finished a strong 4th, with a very impressive Kolby Carlile, riding the Estenson Yamaha MT-07, collecting his 3rd career top class fifth place result.

Those who did not finish the race included Jeff Carver, and Bryan Smith – both early retirements.

Sept. 6th, 2021
Springfield, Illinois
American Flat Track Series
“Springfield Mile 2”


Again, Jared Mees, riding the factory-backed Indian Motorcycles Indian FTR-750, wreaked havoc on a strong field of riders to complete the Labor Day Weekend Springfield Mile 2.

As mentioned earlier, Mees was accused of blocking down the lines of his challengers during Sunday’s Mile race. Mees said any such allegations were irrelevant on Monday. His Indian responded to an early, all-out lead, and then Mees just rode away from a 5-rider pack of desperate challengers, commanding an 8 second advantage with just 2 minutes left on the clock.
Bryan Smith and Brandon Robinson.
Bryan Smith and Brandon Robinson.


 
But, with a red flag issue, the dominant Mees was forced to prove his mastery of the Springfield track another time.

A hot–riding Sammy Halbert would slide in front of Mees for a few seconds, while Mees regained the front running position, resulting in a 1.134 second victory margin.

2020 Springfield Mile winner – Sammy Halbert, would become the bridesmaid, with an excellent 2nd place finish. Championship leader, and defending AFT Champion – Briar Bauman, finished 3rd, but not without surviving a close call with Jeff Carver.
Sammy Halbert.
Sammy Halbert.


 
Mees’s 6th and 7th career Springfield Mile wins closed the fight for the championship considerably. Briar Bauman continues to lead, but his 25-point gap has been cut short to just 12 points, with 2 more races to go in the AFT Series.

Third-ranked in the title chase – Brandon Robinson, finished 4th, with crowd favorite – Jeff Carver putting in a strong ride to claim 5th.

J.D. Beach on the Estenson Yamaha, MT-07.
J.D. Beach on the Estenson Yamaha, MT-07.



Davis Fisher, who was riding at a pace that was even faster than the leading Mees, finished 6th, with Jarod Vanderkooi, Brandon Price, and J.D. Beach and Kolby Carlile, both riding the Estenson Yamaha MT-07s, rounding out the top 10.


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