The following is from Jared Mees…
It was the final round after a month and a half break since Springfield. I guess you can say I had a long time to think about everything. Looking back, now that I think about it, it probably hurt me more than anything, but I didn’t know what to do. It was my first time going into something this big, it wasn’t like it happened quickly. A month and a half is a long time waiting for something that you worked so hard for.
As for Pomona, I felt like I have been fast there in past years but never really had any luck either. Crashing and mechanical failures were pretty much my results in the past at Pomona.
Two weeks before the race was supposed to take place I got a call saying that Pomona had been cancelled, and that I was consequently, the Twins Champion. I made a phone call to an AMA official and the cancellation was confirmed. I was really bummed out thinking that the Championship race would not take place, but at the same time felt a little relieved. Two hours later I got a call back saying that the matter was being re-considered and that the AMA would have an official decision by the next day. There was no question that Gene Romero would proceed with his race. The question was: would it also be a GNC race? I got very little sleep that night. It was late the next afternoon that the AMA officially announced that the GNC race would be held in Pomona.
So the day arrived. Qualifying didn’t go all that badly for me, I ended up 3rd fastest. I felt really good and thought I was ok. I Went out for the Heat, grabbed the hole shot and found that the track was way rough, slick, and dry. Having all the extra classes involved, the track was coming apart. Hank Wiles and Sam Halbert got underneath me and a couple of laps later Matt Weidman and JR Schnabel did as well. I wasn’t setting very well at the time, and wasn’t in a transfer position. I rode as hard as I could but the motorcycle was not agreeing with me at all. I ended up 5th , missing by one spot to transfer to the Main Event.
All the other guys who were in the points chase made the Dash for Cash where points are awarded as well I still had a cushion in points, but I knew Bryan Smith was going to be tough, and his performance in winning the Dash proved me right. Bryan ended up gaining 5 vaulable points on me right there!
We changed the motorcycle a lot to get it better for me. I was in the 2nd Semi and grabbed the hole shot. I was leading but Steve Murray passed me. My bike was working better but just not good enough. I did get a 2nd which put me in the Main Event, even though I would have to start from the last row, I was certainly going yo have to work for it!
Brent Armbruster and Steve Beattie worked their tails off to get the bike better, making even more adjustments before the Main Event. Ronnie Jones gave me a little pep talk about having fun, and getting back to having fun. I tried the Happy Gilmore thing about finding your “happy place”. That worked for about 10 seconds, but I couldn’t get this struggling off my mind. Beattie came over and asked: “Has this year been easy for you?” The answer was “NO”. His reply back was “Then why should it be now? You have to get busy and get it done.” I knew what I had to do… I needed a good start, and then get up there quickly because on a track like this you cannot wait…it will come apart and you will get stuck.
I lined up on the very outside of the last row. The light turned green and I banged the light and went straight to the top and left the throttle pinned and was coming through. The very first lap I had to have been up to 10th or so. Within three laps I was up to 7th, which is the place I needed to be if Smith won the race. Then Steve Bonsey crashed right in front of me, with his bike sliding to the top of the track. It snagged my leg and I was lucky not to go down. Sam Halbert, whom I had just passed, slammed right into Bonsey’s bike. There was a red flag, and for the re-start I was up to about 5th. I got another good start but went backwards for a few laps. I lost a little of my “mojo” and Chris Carr went by, and then Jake Johnson and Weidman. I got back by Johnson and Carr, and a couple of laps later Bryan had his hand up. He blew up a motor, which was very unfortunate for him. He has had some bad luck this year. Even though we were battling for the same thing, you never wish bad luck to any one, especially a good friend like Bryan. So that moved me up a spot. I was also able to get by Weidman for 3rd , and was looking at Kenny Coolbeth and Wiles down the straight. I tried to keep pace with them but in turns 1 and 2, which were the worst corners, I just about got off a few times.
I knew where I was at with respect to the Championship, and knew that I could even lose a couple of spots and still win it. So when Halbert came up, going for blood, I just let him go… I didn’t want anything to do with that, especially with Joe Kopp coming up right behind him. I did stay close to Kopp for the last five laps, and I just rode as smooth as possible on this motocross dirt track.
As I came off of turn 4 for the checkered flag, it had to of beem the happiest moment in my career, and probably my life, as it was a 5th place finish, giving me a 9 point advantage to take home the Grand National Twins Championship! As the crew came up to me, it was a very emotional night. We had all worked so hard for this moment and with the day having started the way it did, and to then come from back there to this, really made this title all the more sweet. I was just so happy for the team.
I had my family there, Mom, Dad, Uncle, girlfriend and very close friends from around home whom I call family, all my biggest supporters for my team: Nancy, Willie G and Billy Davidson, Anne Paluso, Rod Lake, Craig Rogers, David Worth, Tom Seymour, Steve and Cindy Vizzo, as well as Eddie and Jodi Mulder. One person missing that I wish could have been there was Digger Helm.
After the Podium celebration Nichole Cheza, David Worth and Tom Seymour all had this idea to have T-shirts made like the World Series or Super Bowl. If you win, you have this T-shirt that says you’re the Champion. Well, all three had the same idea with different designs so I hope all of them got a T-shirt of some sort. Kenny Coolbeth did one of the classiest things that night. He took the # 1 plate off his bike and had his mechanic sign it, as well as himself and gave it to me. That was really cool of him to do that. He is one of the best competitors I have ever gone up against, and look forward to a lot of battling with Kenny. He is a true Champion.
My heartfelt thank you to all of my sponsors and to all who made this Championship possible. I want to especially thank Craig Rogers from Rogers Lake Racing for giving me this opportunity… Craig picked me up this year after finishing 9th last year in the points. Having his support, and me giving him his first Grand National Championship has, for both of us, been a huge thing. Thank you, Craig.
A big thanks to my mechanic, Brent Armbruster for all his hard work throughout the whole year, not only did we have the nicest bikes in the pits, but we didn’t have any mechanical failures… that is, of itself, an enormous accomplishment. I think the only thing I complained about all year was my foot peg would not come back down after I would kick it. I Didn’t get a Grand National Main Event win for him, but a Twins Championship should work for now.
Steve Beattie certainly helped put up some points on the board. He had a lot to do with our success throughout the whole year, pulled us out of a hole at Lima, and the one that counted the most: Pomona! Gotta thank his wife, Michelle, for letting him come out every weekend to help out. They are two people for whom I have a lot of respect.
Mike Stauffer who is kinda hidden a little bit in the mix but also plays a good part in our motors as well. Mike was always there to help us make changes to our combinations and did them for us in a timely fashion.
Blue Springs Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson. It is an honor to be a part of the Harley- Davidson Racing department. Having Willie G. and his wife, Nancy, Billy and Anne Paluso involved is great. They are a lot of fun and big, die-hard, Flattrack fans. David Worth from Blue Springs Harley-Davidson we’ve been together for three years now, and it’s great working with David and Tim.
Tom Seymour of Saddlemen, a great friend more than a sponsor, but it was his first Championship as well. Tom is another one that has been in the sport for a very long time, so to get #1 was awesome!
Rod Lake and Digger Helm…amazing people. Montgomeryville Cycle Center, Steve and Cindy Vizzo, Gene and Gail Cummings…. Thank you all for your support.
Also, thanks to my personal trainer, Vinny, for pushing me hard. I think I probably have done… no lie… 500,000 push ups this year. Also, Jay Shelton for all the help in marketing, as well as Donnie Schopieray in the hospitality area and putting together some big things.
Craig and Gina Picket-Craig is like my Michigan father, brother, and best friend all in one. These are another two that mean a lot to me. Without Craig beside me some things would be impossible.
Johnny and Sarah Goad, who were my first race team I rode for. We had a lot of success and I learned a lot with Johnny, not just about racing, but about life as well. I thought he deserved a Thank You as well.
The AMA and Steve Morehead especially for all their hard work and dedication to the sport.
Last but not least, my whole entire family, Dad, especially, for getting me into flat track racing, and building and tuning my amateur bikes. Winning this title at 23 years old means a lot to both of us.
I am going to take it easy for a few weeks and let everything settle. It’s been a stressful last couple of months, so I need a little time to unwind. I remember James Stewart when he was talking about not riding the Motorcross series, he mentioned that he was tired, very, very, tired after a long Supercross series and just wanted to take it easy. Well, when I heard that I just thought, well man, just go to bed and get some sleep. Ha ha. I now know what he meant, but I am going to tell you that I am NOT going to take a year to rest up. Next year we have to go after it again!
Thank you to all out there who made this possible, including the great Flattrack race fans.
Jammin’ Jared Mees # 1