Mees Win Puts Him Third on All-Time Order
Round 9, DuQuoin, Illinois, June 17
In its long-anticipated June 17, 2023 return to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, Illinois, for the "Magic Mile" Jared Mees scored a third consecutive Mile victory and 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.
Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle
Reigning AFT king Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750) 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 Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies, Rick Ware Racing KTM 790 Duke), and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750).
The four swapped positions throughout, with none showing an obvious edge - all four were within touching distance as they exited Turn 2 for the final time, operating almost as if a single entity. It was Mees who once again put his name at the top of the results sheet after the pack stormed past the checkered flag.
Robinson took second, pushing points leader Daniels outside the top two for the first time all season long despite taking the checkered flag just 0.097 seconds behind Mees.
Bauman took fourth, JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) took fifth from Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere's BMC Racing Indian FTR750) sixth, Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Indian FTR750) seventh, with Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Fastrack Racing/2 Wheelz KTM 790 Duke) eighth, Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Corbin/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) ninth and Kolby Carlile (No. 36 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) 10th.
Daniels' perfect podium record still has him leading in the points, but the streaking Mees is now within single digits in second, moving to within nine points of the first (198-189) as the season reaches its halfway point.
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 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).
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 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.
Reigning champ Kopp continues to lead the way in his title defense. However, Saathoff has drawn that much closer thanks to a fifth consecutive podium finish and is now just nine points behind in second (166-157).
Next Up: The first of a four-race run of Half Miles kicks off with the popular Lima, Ohio Half Mile on June 24, followed by the West Virginia Half-Mile at Mineral Wells, WV on July 1st, the Orange County Half-Mile at Middletown, NY. a week later (July 8) and an inaugural AFT visit to the Bridgeport Speedway at Swedesboro, NJ two weeks later, July 22 (Round 13).