Mees Clinches 2018 Grand National Championship!

AMA Pro Racing Press Release (excerpts):

SPRINGFIELD, IL (September 2, 2018) – Indian Motorcycle factory rider Bryan Smith won an epic, four-way battle at today’s 100th running of the Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile with a dramatic, final-lap pass of series leader and teammate Jared Mees. Smith even predicted his victory, telling AFT announcer Scottie Deubler on Deubler’s Off The Groove podcast he was "going to win the Springfield Mile!"

Mees was still a winner, however, as his runner-up finish secured his fifth AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines championship. His 10 wins and victories in four of the five Miles in 2018 – plus his 40 Grand National Championship victories, fourth all time – make him a legitimate giant in the sport.

Smith's win, which featured a fierce back-and-forth battle between four of AFT’s top riders for the majority of the 25-lap race, was his first in sixteen months (he won the May, 2017 Springfield Mile) but his ninth at the legendary Illinois venue.

Mees, who lost by just 0.013 seconds to Smith, was gracious in defeat but had to be disappointed to not capture another win at the legendary venue in a season he’s dominated so thoroughly.

"That was a pretty classic Springfield mile," Mees said afterward. "Honestly, my game plan was to lead it off of four. I felt like I could beat them to the line… but I couldn"t. We were so close. I wouldn’t have done anything differently, honestly. We came up a little short, but we got the main goal, the championship. My team worked so hard. It’s an honor, and I’m looking forward to the next three races."

Third went to Springfield Mile I winner Jeffrey Carver Jr., who after an electrical gremlin nixed his chances in his Heat had to start from the back row in his Semi. It didn’t matter much, as he got to the front quickly and was barely beaten at the line by Semi winner Mees, which gave Carver Jr. a front row starting position for the Main.

The fourth rider in that lead pack, which had gapped fifth place finisher Henry Wiles and the rest of the field by several seconds by the race’s mid-point, was Briar Bauman.

Springfield Mike II

Round 17 | Springfield Mile II | Results
1 ... Bryan Smith
2 ... Jared Mees
3 ... Jeffrey Carver Jr.
4 ... Briar Bauman
5 ... Henry Wiles