The second annual trip to the ESPN XGames Harley-Davidson Flat Track event in Austin, TX. last week saw the cream of the crop from The Rolling Thunder Show displaying their talents to the masses at the Circuit of the Americas-hosted event alongside other extreme sports (the Step Up competition was held right next to the flat track layout) and did another stellar job of showing off the skills of the greatest racing series on two wheels in the world.
After bitter disappointment in the inaugural event in 2015 when Jared Mees suffered a mechanical failure with less then half a lap to go, the defending and 3-Time AMA Grand National Champ took home the gold medal this year, winning the 20-lap final over Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. and Brad Baker. Coolbeth did an admirable job of pressuring Mees in the closing laps only to come up short at the checkered flag.
Defending XGames H-D Flat Track winner Bryan Smith suffered a crash on the first go around in the final that saw his fallen motorcycle also take out Sammy Halbert.
The coverage of the event was shown live on ESPN on Thursday, June 2 from 8:30-11:00 PM EDT and was viewed by over 309K people and was the 23rd most-watched sports program for the 24 hour period, behind several showings of Sportscenter and WWE offerings. Although those numbers were off from last year's events, game one of the NBA finals was being shown in prime time on ABC and drew over 19M people, most likely pulling away from what could have been a larger viewing total audience.
Nonetheless, ESPN's coverage did an excellent job of showcasing the talents of all of those involved, and the racing was excellent and the track was in much better shape then last year's was, even considering it was underwater just several days before the riders and teams arrived on Wednesday, June 1 for the first practice sessions of the event. Helmets off to former AMA Pro Flat Track manager Dan Johnsen and his crew for getting the track in as good of shape as it was. On Wednesday, they were using a helicopter to help dry out the surface, and both days were under constant threat of more rain which hung in the area like a bad penny.
In the shot above, Mees and his Rogers Racing head wrench Kenny Tolbert work to ready the #1 Las Vegas H-D/Rogers Racing/Harley-Davidson Motor Company-sponsored XR750s during round 6 of the 2016 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines series at the Springfield Mile I on May 29.
ESPN XGames recap is viewable here and complete results from the ESPN XGames Harley-Davidson Flat Track event can be seen here.
Word has it that the contract with the Circuit of the Americas is up after this year's competition, and at this time next year's event location for the XGames is still up in the air. But surely after two stellar years of competition in the long time event will see the stars of AMA Pro Flat Track return again next year, wherever that may be.
And a big tip of the helmet and congrats to Jared Mees for his gold medal-winning performance from Thursday night. Bravo! And as well to everyone involved for putting on a great show for all of the fans.
You can check out more below thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track.
Jared Mees claims redemption in Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing at ESPN's Summer X Games