Sunday, June 5, 2016

AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Champion Jared Mees Takes Home the Gold Medal at 2016 ESPN XGames Flat Track Competition at COTA

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

AUSTIN, Texas (June 2, 2016) - Jared Mees claimed redemption in Thursday night's Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing main event during the opening night for ESPN's Summer X Games at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Mees (No. 9 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XR750) won by a margin of 0.369 of a second over Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (No. 2 Zanotti Harley-Davidson XR750) with Brad "The Bullet" Baker finishing third aboard the No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson XR750.

Mees also secured the inaugural AMA Pro Flat Track win at the Harley-Davidson Lone Star Half-Mile at COTA in April and has bragging rights to call himself the king of the half-mile circuit. Mees came to Austin with a purpose, having suffered a mechanical failure on the last lap while leading the race in last year's X Games, and he used that memory as motivation during Thursday night's performance.

"It's awesome," Mees said. "It's probably one of the biggest highlights in my career. It feels like I just won the Grand National Championship, honestly. Last year when we got invited to come to the X Games, I wanted to be the first guy to win it. I was so close and it didn't happen and I heard about it until tonight. I was bitter and upset. But to come here and to win it and to also win in April, I feel like I am definitely the dominant guy. My initial thought as I went through the finish line was, 'Hallelujah' and I'm so glad we got it in and I got what I wanted."

When the starting gate dropped, Michael Kirkness bolted from the inside lane aboard his No. 87 Harley-Davidson XR750 to take the hole shot. The Australian led the 12-rider field into the first turn before calamity struck for the odds-on favorite in the race, last year's X Games gold medal winner, Bryan Smith.

Despite having a lackluster start, Smith dove his No. 1 Crosley/Howerton Kawasaki Ninja 650 into the first corner with conviction from the middle of the pack. In a bout of bad luck, the Michigan native snagged the toe of his boot on the edge of the track, sending him to the ground and collecting the No. 69 Harley-Davidson XR750 of Sammy Halbert in the process.

Meanwhile up front, Jake Johnson's No. 5 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson XR750 grabbed the lead and officially led the first four laps before Baker overtook the former champion heading into Turn 4, with Mees in tow. Mees patiently stalked Baker until the eventual third-place finisher ran wide in the same area of the track on lap 8, opening the door for Mees to take the point.

Coolbeth, Jr. then joined the fray, challenging Mees for the final 10 laps of the 20-lap main.

"I showed him a wheel a little too early," Coolbeth said. "He was struggling in laps three and four trying to get it turned. I showed him a wheel with five or six laps to go and he played defense. All-in-all he deserves it after last year, so it's good. I'm happy and hopefully next year we'll be in his spot."

Factory Harley-Davidson rider Baker made his team proud by putting the legendary XR750 on the box for a second year in a row.

"It feels great any time you get on the box but here at the X Games it's just a little bit extra special," Baker said. "Hats off to Kenny and Jared, they had something for me. I got out there quick, I thought I had a good line and started over riding the motorcycle a little bit. I was hopping around some and Kenny and Jared were being a little smoother. It was a good race to get on the box. To get a bronze medal for a second year in a row is cool. Hats off to Jared for getting a gold after what happened last year. Harley-Davidson 1-2-3 it's pretty cool for the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. I can't give a big enough thanks to them for everything that they do for the sport, for my team and for myself."

2016 Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing Main Event Results:
  1. No. 9 Jared Mees
  2. No. 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr.
  3. No. 6 Brad Baker
  4. No. 5 Jake Johnson
  5. No. 87 Michael Kirkness
  6. No. 44 Brandon Robinson
  7. No. 10 Johnny Lewis
  8. No. 67 Davis Fisher
  9. No. 55 Jake Shoemaker
  10. No. 23 Jeffrey Carver
  11. No. 1 Bryan Smith
  12. No. 69 Sammy Halbert
Next up for AMA Pro Flat Track, the series heads to Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for the OKC Mile. "Mile Specialist" Bryan Smith is sure to seek redemption of his own on June 18, 2016. For tickets and information, please visit

About AMA Pro Flat Track:

AMA Pro Flat Track is the world's premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track, please visit www.amaproracing/ft, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or live stream the on-track action on

About AMA Pro Racing:

AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at
For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,

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