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Tuesday 11 July 2023


Dominant Mees Sets Half-Mile Wins Record 

Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750) claimed sole possession of the career Grand National Championship Half-Mile wins record with a showcase performance in a first return in 35 years to the Orange County Half-Mile at Orange County Fair Speedway (July 8) at Middletown, New York (Round 12).

The last time the series visited the century-old venue, the legendary Scott Parker earned one of his record-setting 35 career Half-Mile wins. Mees' victory tonight was his 36th Half-Mile win, which established the new all-time mark.

Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle

On a hyper-slick surface that tested the upper limits of the field's collective skill, even a late red flag that wiped out the multi-second lead Mees had diligently assembled did little to dent the factory Indian star's dominance on the evening. He simply powered off the staggered start and marched away while his primary rivals waged war for second behind him.

Prior to the red flag, Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yanaha NT-07 DT) was caught up in a heated scrap for second with Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 790 Duke) eventually besting him, but Daniels kept his season-long podium streak intact with third place. Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) was fourth with JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) fifth.

Billy Ross (No. 109 Mission Foods/Roof Systems Kawasaki Ninja 650) took the best finish of his premier-class career in sixth, and with Jarod Vanderkooi (FTR750) seventh, Davis Fisher (FTR750) eighth, Henry Wiles (FTR750) in ninth and Bronson Bauman in 10th it was a better race for Indian with the win and five riders in the top ten in total. There were two KTM 750s, two Yamaha MT-07s and a Kawasaki Ninja 650 rounding out the top ten.

Mees' monumental night also saw him wrest the points lead away from Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) for the first time this season.

* Lap Leader

# Best Qualifier

Click tables to enlarge

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

Kody Kopp (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) claimed the 13th victory of his career, and his sixth of the season so far. The entire evening felt as if it was shaping up as a collision course between Kopp and Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F).

But Chase Saathoff (No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) had other ideas, blasting away a couple seconds out in front. His long-awaited maiden Progressive AFT victory was delayed yet again, however, taking second place, ahead of Tom Drane.

Sathoff's teammate, Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) took fourth with a strong-running Aiden RoosEvans (No. 26 A1R Racing/FRA Trust Honda CRF450R) in fifth - his best career Parts Unlimited AFT Singles finish to date.

Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) ended up sixth, with Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F), Tarren Santero (No. 75 Vinson Construction/Eric Hoyt Honda CRF450R), Hunter Bauer (No. 24 BigR Racing/Little Deb Racing Honda CRF450R), and Travis Petton IV (No. 82 ECG Racing/3 Bros KTM 450 SX-F) rounding out the top ten.

Kopp now leads Saathoff by nearly two full races (241-194). Kopp's teammate, Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F), could only muster an 18th-place finish after crashing on the opening lap and then soldiering on less than 100% following the restart. As a result, he dropped all the way from second to seventh in the tight race for position behind Kopp.

Next Up: The final of the four-race run of Half-Miles follows, with the inaugural AFT visit to the Bridgeport Speedway at Swedesboro, NJ two weeks after that on July 22 (Round 13) for the final Half-Mile of the season. 

July 30 will then see the series head to Illinois for the Peoria TT (Round 14). That was due to be the first of what would have been three consecutive TT races, but the annual trip to South Dakota at Sturgis Rally time will see a Black Hills Half-Mile at Black Hills Speedway replacing the originally planned Buffalo Chip TT on Sunday, August 6. The final TT of the year will wrap up the West Coast race program at Castle Rock, Washington State on August 12 with the season then reaching its crescendo with the two Springfield Mile races on September 2 and 3 (Rounds 17 and 18).