CALISTOGA, Calif. – Jared Mees came out on top of a battle with Jeffrey Carver Jr. to claim his third American Flat Track AFT Twins victory of the year during the Calistoga Half-Mile event Saturday at Calistoga Speedway.
The victory was also Mees’ seventh in the most recent eight half-mile events dating back to the 2017 season. The only rider to defeat Mees during that stretch was Carver, who very nearly pulled off the feat again Saturday.
Mees took control of the race on lap two, diving up the inside of Carver entering turn one and threatened to break the race wide open from there. He eked out a tenth here and a tenth there, gradually assembling a one second advantage over Carver.
However, Carver expertly exploited the high line in the later stages of the race, tracking Mees back down and putting in a serious bid for the win. Carver powered up alongside Mees on more than one corner exit – including the final one – but Mees held strong to take the checkered flag by a narrow .114-second margin of victory.
Mees now boasts 33 career premier-class victories, tying him with Kenny Roberts for seventh on the all-time wins list. It was also his 24th career Half-Mile win, just one short of equaling another legend – Chris Carr – for third all-time in that discipline.
“We didn’t have it dialed in during the Semi and came back and debriefed and made a few small changes,” said Mees. “Hats off to my entire team. We work together on these wins, there’s no doubt. Sometimes when I’m weak, they’re strong. And sometimes when they’re weak, I’m strong.
“I looked back a couple times and I had a little bit of a gap, and then Jeffrey was right on me. We got into those lappers, and I just started thinking too much and he started charging hard. It was close at the end there, but we were able to pull through.”
Kenny Coolbeth Jr. finished third to give Indian a sweep of the podium. Brad Baker and Davis Fisher were fourth and fifth, also for Indian.
It may have taken a few rounds to rediscover his form of old, but Ryan Wells looked every bit the same rider who claimed the 2016 AFT Singles title in convincing fashion with a walkaway win in Saturday night’s undercard main event.
The 2017 AFT Twins Rookie of the Year returned to AFT Singles competition with big expectations this season. However, he opened the year in somewhat quiet fashion, stringing together 10th, sixth and 10th place results. Calistoga was another story entirely, as Wells worked his way into the lead on the second lap and effectively put the race out of reach with his pace from that point forward.
Wells ultimately took the checkered flag with more than two-and-a-half seconds of padding.
“Hopefully this is the first of many podium appearances,” said Ward. “I think we know what we know what we’ve got to do now. We made some major headway today, and I can’t wait for the rest of the season.”
For the second consecutive week, Shayna Texter attempted to charge her way to her first victory of the year and again she came up just short in second. Starting from pole, Texter lost out in the initial shuffle off the line, falling back to sixth early before picking her way forward. However, once in second – and even with clear track in front of her – she was unable to make inroads on the flying Wells out front.
Title contender Dan Bromley bounced back from his Texas Half-Mile disappointment with his third podium result on the young season.