Mees, Daniels Battling for AFT #1 Plate

Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750) and Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) are in a neck-and-neck battle for the Progressive American Flat Track number one plate. Eatmyink photographer Stephen Taylor caught up with the dirt slingers in June at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois, and neither the “Magic Mile” nor Taylor’s lensmanship disappointed.

Mees notched up his third consecutive Mile victory in thrilling fashion at DuQuoin. The reigning Mission SuperTwins king was forced to pull another rabbit out of his helmet after going back and forth for 12 minutes plus two laps with the superstar trio of Daniels, Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 790 Duke), and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750).

Dallas Daniels

The four swapped positions throughout, with none showing an obvious edge. And all four were within touching distance as they exited Turn 2 for the final time, operating almost as a single entity. But somehow, someway, Mees once again put his name at the top of the results sheet after the pack stormed past the checkered flag.

Adding to Mees’ joy was the fact that runner-up Robinson slotted between the winner and points leader Daniels, with the Estenson Yamaha rider pushed outside the top two for the first time all season long despite taking the checkered flag just 0.097 seconds behind Mees. At this writing, Daniels has regained the points lead by 5 over Mees.

The DuQuoin victory was the 26th Mile win of Mees’ career, breaking a tie with icons Bubba Shobert and Bryan Smith to claim sole possession of third place on the all-time order.

Jared Mees

“This track is so much fun,” said Jared. “At the start of the race and in the mid-part, I wasn’t really in my groove; I was spinning it up bad, and I just didn’t have good roll corner speed. I just kind of sat back and saw Briar had some really good lines. I kind of copied some of his stuff and moved around and found home. Hats off to my entire crew for working their butts off and giving me the best motorcycle possible.

“I’m really stoked to have won the DuQuoin Mile. I’m happy to have gotten this one off the list.”

It was almost unfair, then, that Bauman wasn’t rewarded with a trip to the podium. Despite finishing fourth, the Main Event was his most competitive ride to date on the developing Rick Ware Racing KTM, having led multiple laps and been in with a shot at victory to the very end.

Fifth place, meanwhile, was taken in a close fight by JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) over Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750), the two finishing just under six seconds back of Mees. They had done all they could to make it a six-rider tilt at the front during the race’s early stages, with Fisher momentarily joining the lead pack before falling back into the clutches of Beach.

Seventh went to Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Indian FTR750) in another duel for position, this one with Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Fastrack Racing/2 Wheelz KTM 790 Duke), while Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Corbin/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) and Kolby Carlile (No. 36 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) rounded out the top ten.

Here’s the complete photo gallery from the event:

Here’s a link to the full gallery

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

The prodigious Tom Drane(No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) came out on top of a race-long six-rider dogfight for top honors in an unforgettable Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER Main Event.

From the very beginning of the contest, it was evident the checkered flag would be decided between Drane, Chase Saathoff(No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F), Kody Kopp (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F), and Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F).

The six factory-backed pilots immediately separated at the front and just as quickly determined they could not separate from one another.

Saathoff controlled the pace from the bottom-line for much of the race. But as the minutes ticked away, that control became more and more tenuous as Lowe, Drane, and Whale all took their turns at the front of the group.

Drane actually ran in sixth with less than a minute to go but blasted past fellow Aussie Whale to reclaim the lead as the decisive final two laps kicked off.

The Estenson pilot managed to hold that position to open the final lap but saw Saathoff dive underneath entering Turn 3, while Lowe powered by both exiting 4. But Drane nudged back ahead as the pack swarmed to the checkered flag, beating Saathoff to the line by a mere 0.011 seconds, followed fractionally by Lowe in third.

Whale was just 0.081 seconds off the win but relegated to fourth, with Kopp and Brunner completing the top six in that order and meters away from victory themselves.

After the race, Drane said, “It’s so good… We’ve been working so hard all season and to get my second win is awesome. All these people from Australia are here tonight, and they’ve all been helping me. It’s so cool.”

Third Turner Racing pilot Morgen Mischler(No. 13 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) registered a lonely race to seventh. He finished some three-and-a-half seconds off the win after coming up short in an early bid to track the lead pack down.

Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F) won out in a three-rider battle for eighth waged another six seconds back of Mischler. The ‘19 class champ narrowly defeated 1st Impressions Husqvarna teammates Chad Cose (No. 49 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450) and James Ott (No. 19 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450), who rounded out the top ten, respectively.

story by AFT with edits by Tim Hailey, photos by Stephen Taylor

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