Impressive back-to-back Oklahoma City OKC Mile II wins

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (June 19, 2021) – Progressive American Flat Track legend Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) returned to the top of the podium at Remington Park in an overwhelming show of force in Saturday’s Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City OKC Mile II presented by KICKER in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

 

It spoke volumes that even when utterly uncomfortable and unsatisfied on the cushion Mile the night before, Mees still managed to finish on the podium. A happier Mees proved substantially better than that in the rematch, sweeping into the lead on the opening lap of the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle Main Event and never looking back.

 

Mees’ path to victory was made somewhat easier when Friday victor Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) was slowed by an ailing clutch in his Semi and was forced to start from the back row of the Main as a result. Despite that start-line handicap, he still managed to power around the outside off the line and slot into fourth position in the early going.

 

Robinson then overtook Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) and Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) in successive corners and set his sights on race-leader Mees, who was 1.1 seconds up the track.

 

The best he could do, however, was match Mees’ pace for a stint. And eventually, the multi-time Grand National Champion broke Robinson’s pursuit altogether.

 

Instead, the Mission Roof Systems ace found himself under assault late by Bauman, who closed on his rear wheel in the race’s late stages. No matter how close Bauman got, however, Robinson was ultimately protected by a heavy roost that blasted the double defending Grand National Champ whenever he thought to attempt a move past into second.

 

The victory was Mees’ fourth in five attempts at the OKC Mile and his 18th Mile win in all.

 

Afterward, he said, “I’m back. Last night, I just wasn’t myself. I rode real tight and tense and my arms got locked up. I just wasn’t myself. I came in today and didn’t make many adjustments to the bike — a couple adjustments to the Öhlins shock — and just let her go.

 

“I just charged into the corners harder… I felt so good out there. I have to give a huge shout out to my entire team for backing me.”

 

Further back, Vanderkooi put together a fourth consecutive top-four result, while Robert Pearson (No. 27 Rackley Racing/John Franklin Indian FTR750) overcame Brandon Price (No. 92 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) to claim the final spot in the top five.

 

Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City FTR750), Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), and Davis Fisher (No. 67 BMC Racing/Dick Wall 60 Indian FTR750) completed the top ten.

 

AFT Singles

 

Last season’s second- and third-ranked AFT Singles riders went head-to-head over first position in Saturday night’s 450cc thriller; Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) and Henry Wiles (No. 17 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) broke away from the pack from the start and proceeded to engage in a race-long duel for the win.

 

Friday dominator Wiles appeared to have the upper hand pretty much throughout — at least until Whale stormed in and executed a final-lap slingshot down the back straight. Both riders then desperately searched for traction while negotiating Turns 3 and 4 for the last time, their bikes bucking and weaving the entire way. Wiles came off the final turn just a bit stronger, but not quite strong enough — his attempt to draft back by failing by just 0.054 seconds at the flag.

 

Aussie Whale said, “Henry passed me on lap 2 or lap 3 and I had his roost every lap from then on in. I was catching him a lot in Turns 1 and 2, but he had me mastered in 3 and 4 all day. I knew if I could pass him, it had to be on the back stretch coming off 1 and 2. I got it done. I made a little mistake in 4 but ended up holding Henry off.

 

“I want to give a huge shout out to my team — this is awesome!”

 

A four-wide dogfight for third featuring Hunter Bauer (No. 124 NKR Canada/Waters Autobody Racing KTM 450 SX-FFE), Mikey Rush (No. 15 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), and Brandon Kitchen (No. 105 Husqvarna Motorcycles/Vance & Hines Husqvarna FC450) was ultimately won by the supremely consistent Daniels on his 18th birthday.

 

Kitchen finished fourth while quick-study Bauer rounded out the top five in what was the Canadian’s debut Mile weekend. Rush’s sixth was his worst result of 2021 and saw him slip from second to third in the points (102), as he now trails both reigning champ Daniels (112) and 2020 runner-up Whale (102).

 

Meanwhile, Trevor Brunner (No. 21 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) finished a rather remarkable seventh after somehow escaping both concussion and broken bones in his terrifying Friday fall.

 

AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines

 

Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) assumed full control of the AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines championship fight with a third consecutive class win.

 

Unlike Friday night’s blowout, Texter had to fight it out to claim the checkered flag on Saturday. Early on, he appeared in danger of watching Chad Cose (No. 49 Voodoo Ranger/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R) run off at the front. Powered by pent-up aggression after sitting out Friday night with a broken bike, Cose utilized an almost comically high line to overhaul Texter on a borrowed XG750R (courtesy of Latus Motors and Vance & Hines).

 

That line gradually went away from Cose, however, and the steady speed of Texter brought him back into contention. After a bit of back and forth, Texter retook the lead and shook free, seemingly destined to walk away to a fourth win in six races.

 

And that win ultimately came, but not until after surviving a late-race scrap with a charging Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R), who actually drafted into the lead with one minute remaining on the clock.

 

Texter immediately countered Gauthier’s move and eked out enough of a gap to prevent a second offensive en route to a 1.594-second margin of victory.

 

“I’ve been through it all — I’ve won and lost — so I’ve been battle tested,” Texter said, “Chad had incredible speed today, but I knew if I could keep him close I could find something there toward the end. But he was haulin’ — I didn’t think I’d pull this one off today. And Dalton — that’s the kind of Dalton that I know. He brought it. I didn’t know anyone was behind me, and I thought I heard a bike so I glanced over and there he was! I kicked it up another gear. It feels great. To do this on Father’s Day weekend is incredible for me as a father.”

 

Cose narrowly held on to the final spot on the box, edging Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) by 0.295 seconds.

 

Veteran racer Patrick Buchanan (No. 71 Smith Racing/Scooter’s Bar & Grill Kawasaki Ninja 650) completed the top five, finishing just over a half-second in front of Friday night’s maiden podium finisher, Cameron Smith (No. 44 Mike Butler Racing/Cornerstone Masonry Group Honda CRF450R).

 

Meanwhile, the luckless Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/RoyBuilt Don’s Kawasaki Ninja 650) — who suffered a mechanical DNF while in contention for Friday night’s win — was struck down by misfortune yet again on Saturday. This time around, Varnes was forced to retire prior to the start due to another bike issue after having earned the pole position.

 

The Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City OKC Mile I & II presented by KICKER will air back-to-back on NBCSN on Saturday, June 26, starting at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT, featuring exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage.

 

Next Up:

Progressive American Flat Track will race right back into action next weekend with the Johnny K’s Indian Motorcycle Lima Half-Mile powered by Drag Specialties at Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio, on Saturday, June 26.

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