AMA Grand National Season Finale at Pomoma Fairplex
The championship is the second overall for Mees after also claiming the No. 1 plate in 2012. "It was a great year, a lot of fun, and I can't say enough for everybody (on my team)," Mees said. "This one was cool because I battled it out with my good friend."
Mees, a Michigan resident, was methodical rather than dominant all year. Outside of a 12th place showing in the second race of the season-opening double header at Daytona, he never finished worse than fifth. While he won only two races, he was on the podium 10 times.
He was outstanding at every stop. His two wins came on half-mile tracks, but Mees was runner-up at the Peoria TT and third in four of the five races of a mile or further.
Jake Johnson put his No. 5 Ramspur Winery Ducati in second, and Brad Baker, the defending GNC champion, was third on his No. 1 Factory Harley-Davidson.
In his heat race, Mees had a great start and led the first few laps before Johnson took the top spot and cruised to the win. But Mees was second in his heat, punching his ticket to the Dash for Cash, where he was second to Smith. Mees then needed to only finish sixth or better in the main to clinch.
"I knew Bryan and Baker were going to be the two toughest guys," Mees said. "Bryan did what he had to do today, he had to go out there and dominate, and he did.
"And I knew I had to get into that Dash, I knew that, mentally, I needed to get into that Dash, and I knew I either needed to beat him or be right there on him in the Dash, and I did it. I knew that would give me a good cushion in the main event to be able to run my own race."
Smith's shot at the title took a sudden turn two weeks ago at the Calistoga Half-Mile. He was leading the championship and riding at the front when his bike began to smoke and he was black flagged. He was later disqualified for failing to heed the black flag. Mees took second and had the points lead coming to Pomona.
That meant even his series-best fifth victory of the year wasn't enough for Smith to grab the title. "Jared's one (heck) of a competitor," Smith said. "He's been a thorn in my side the last half of my career. He's a good friend of mine, he did what he had to do. And I did what I had to do tonight, he did what he had to do this year, don't want to take anything away from him. It was a hard-fought year. I know I did everything I could all season long and we came up a little bit short. But everybody knows I'll be back strong next year."
Johnson finished the season comfortably in third in points, 15 behind Mees.
Jared Mees took the 2014 Grand National tilte at pamona on the Rogers Racing XR750.
AMA Pro Grand National Championship 2014 Top 5 in standings
Above and Below: We spotted these two pre-production Arch Motorcycles V-Twin cruiser bikes parked in the Pits. Arch is a partnership venture between custom bike builder Gard Hollinger and actor actor Keanu Reeves. The bike has been in development for about 3 years and should go on sale, soon. We like the monoshock rear suspension and aluminum billet rear frame section, but the overall design and styling is still up for debate. It's aimed at the upscale Confederate V-twin bike buyer. More at: ArchMotorcycle.com.
After Practice, the fans had 2 hours to visit the race teams in the Pits to see the bikes and meet the riders. There was also a Legends of Dirt autograph table set up in front of the main Grandstands featuring all the top AMA dirt track stars from the 1960's and 70's including the riders from On Any Sunday like Gene Romero, Chuck Palmgren, Dave Aldana and Malcolm Smith. Pictured below are the legendary Preston Petty and motocrosser deWayne Jones.
The diminutive 5-foot 0-inch Shayna Texter, the sister of of Pro dirt track Cory Texter, in 2014 became the only woman AMA Expert Pro Class Dirt Track racer. Her sponsor is Lotus Triumph
There's nothing quite like a spirited rivalry between two siblings, and the brother and sister combination of Cory and Shayna Texter provide just that for AMA Pro Flat Track fans by competing against each other in the Grand National Championship.
Away from the AMA Pro Flat Track ranks, Shayne also recently competed in the Superprestigio short track exhibition race in Barcelona, Spain, against some of the best racers from various forms of motorcycle racing around the world. So her star is definitely rising.
Shayna Texter ran the Heat Races to Qualify in 25th position in the 33 rider Pro Class at Pomona, but unfortunatley was unable to make it into the 20 rider main. Here's a close-up look at her # 25A Latus Motors Triumph 650cc, and that of her team mate #3 Joe Kopp who did Qualify in 7th.
Jake Johnson switched from his usual Ramspur Winery sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750 to this Ducati
The entire MotoPed looks very well built for such an affordable price, and must be a helleva lot of fun to ride! There's attractive styling, a steel backbone frame with aluminum rear suspension and sub frame.
Above, Jared Mees (1) finished 4th in the Main at Pomona, but it was good enough to retake the 2014 AMA Pro Grand National Champion title.
About AMA Pro Flat Track:
#11 Scott Baker Kennedy Racing Harley-Davidson XR-750.
The #90 Joe Hartrich American Harley-Davidson, Kantor Law Form, Niagara Falls New York, and the #96B Cody Johncox Sunnyside ,Dick Ford, Brush/Eaken Racing,American failed to qualify in the top 20 to make the Main.
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles
Coming into the event, Johnson's points lead was cut to just six points over Fisher following a crash at Calistoga, so the pilot of the No. 77J Parkinson Brothers Honda really had to earn the title.
"It feels great," Johnson said. "Two weeks ago (at Calistoga) definitely didn't go as planned, didn't get the points we wanted, lost a lot to Davis. Coming in here, we knew Davis was going to be fast, he's been fast all season, just like we were. I knew we had to stay close, we didn't have to beat him. I got up to second place and I had a little bit of breathing room, I wasn't going to push, I knew we had the championship, and that's what our goal was."
After a run of four wins in five races in the summer, Johnson looked to be running away with the title. Then bad luck began to come his way. He also crashed hard at Peoria and finished outside the top 10 in three of the last six races coming into Pomona.
But Johnson handled his business in the finale. He was the second-fastest qualifier for the main, behind Fisher on the No. 67M T.J. Burnett Farms Honda, but only by .031 seconds. In the main, Fisher jumped out to the lead and never looked back.
Instead, Johnson was really racing with third place finisher Jarod Vanderkooi on the 17F Johnny's Vintage Cycle Honda. As the race progressed though, Johnson began to gap Vanderkooi and the title was his.
Fisher said his season exceeded his expectations, and the strong finish is something to carry into next year.
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Top 5 finishers
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Top 5 in standings
FastDates Does Italy!