Mees: Springfield Labor Day Report
NEWS September 11, 2009
Springfield Short Track
Friday was an off day since the amateurs were racing at the Springfield Short Track. I washed my bikes and switched wheels around and got ready. When we arrived at the Short Track on Saturday and we were unloading, it was lightly sprinkling. The weather forecast pretty much said rain from Saturday to Wednesday, so that wasn't good. We unloaded in the rain, and then it picked up a little bit more. It finally stopped and we started with a delayed program. We got the first two practices in, then it started to come down pretty heavy. We waited around, it slowed down and eventually stopped. The IMDA did what they could to get the track in shape. We tested it out and it was very slick, the rain came back again and we returned to the pits. The rain stopped and the track was re-worked, tested and found unsafe.. Re-worked some more, then we started the last round of qualifying. With the track holding so much moisture, it was very slick and the times were slow compared to the earlier times on a dryer track. My time was not good. I would be in the back row for my heat race. They got the First heat in and were on the Second when it started to rain just as the light went green. There was a first turn pile up and it started to pour and right then we knew it was like kicking a dead horse... and they called it a night. The race was re-scheduled for Monday, depending on us running the Mile the next day.
They told us that night that we were not going to be able to get the big trucks across the track until at least 10:00 am the next morning. That's when we were scheduled to be at the Mile Track. It wasn't until around 2:30 pm on Sunday that we were able to cross.
They whipped the track in shape, and told us that two practices counted for time, there would be no semis, and we went racing. I qualified 3rd and was in the 3rd Heat with Jake Johnson, Mick Kirkness, Shaun Russell, JR Schnabel, Brandan Bergen, Nichole Cheza and others. The track wasn't its normal Springfield Mile. It was very sketchy but you could ride top to bottom, anywhere you wanted to be. I got a good jump and led it off of turn two with Kirkness getting by me down the back straight. I was running a lot higher on the track than hpm, and he was pulling away. Due to a little sprinkle they had to turn the red lights on and stop the race for a little bit. As it came down lightly they wheel-packed the track, it stopped and we were ready to go. I wanted to try going down low where Mick was getting me, so on the practice lap I went down there and noticed that after the wheel-packing the track was better. So off the line, I got around Mick in turn one and went for it. He drafted by me a couple of times down the straights, but I just left the gas on longer and was able to get good runs through the corners, pulling out and winning the Heat!
Next out was the Main Event. They announced the Dash would be held after the Main Event. I was third pick on the front line, and chose right in the middle, got the hole shot and led into turn One. I put my head down because I knew I had some speed and was able to pull out to a pretty nice lead. I led the first 14 laps and then they reeled me back in. Jake, Bryan Smith and Sammy Halbert all went by. I just settled back and towed on them in 4th place for a bit and noticed that Jake was getting away. I got going again and Smith and I got together. I saw the "5 laps to go" and knew we had to get going so I just put the throttle down and ran it into the corners deeper than I could think of, and was able to catch Jake in two laps. Going down the back stretch on the last lap I got a good draft off of Jake and sent it around the outside of him and had a lot of momentum. I came out of turn 4 thinking everything was cool, but I tucked in a little too soon and spun it up off the exit and that allowed Jake to catch a little wind and get me at the line by a wheel. Man, I was bummed.... I could taste the win at the Springfield Mile! But it was a good day, the bike ran awesome and we gained some ground in the points. Due to an injury that happened to Kenny Coolbeth earlier in the week, he tried to practice but was too hurt to push it and was forced to sit out the day.
Next up was the Dash for Cash. It was getting really dark and it was questionable if it was light enough to race or not. They decided to do it, I got the hole shot, went into turn one and coming off of turn two the bike just started to cut out on me. I had to pull it into the inside of the track and watch the Dash from there because the bike quit. There was some dirt or something that got into the carbs, that dropped the bike to one cylinder. It was a bummer because it would have been nice to get a few more points, but that's the way it goes. We left there with a 15 point lead going into the last round in Pomona so we have about six weeks to think about it.
Springfield Short Track
We were not allowed into the track until about 12:00 due to the muddy pits. We got practice underway, only two, and they both counted. I was good in the first one - 9th - but on the second one they inverted the practice order and my group was last instead of first. The track was a lot dryer and slower and I went down all the way to 28th. I had my work cut out for me in the 3rd Heat, as in it were Joe Kopp, JRSchnabel, Jake Johnson, Matt Weidman, Chad Cose, Steve Bonsey, Ken Yoder, Donny Mullen, Nichole Cheza and others. I got a good jump and was able to have a pretty clean run up the strieght, running 4th, got real sideways off of turn 4 and Mullen hit dirt, right as I snapped back in line. He went down hard, forcing Jake to go down as well.
They finally got out the water truck and dragged and prepped the track so there would be less of a chance for another wreck. I got into 3rd and worked Weidman for 2nd but couldn't make it happen. I was in the back row for the Main Event. I got a good jump and worked my way up to 3rd quickly, with Kopp leading and Hank Wiles 2nd. I was able to get by Wiles and started working on Kopp. I messed up a little and Wiles got by. He also got by Kopp and when the track started to groove up it was difficult for me to move forward. On the last lap Mick Kirkness made a run on me around turn two but into three I was able to move up and take his line and hold on to my 3rd place.
It was my first podium finish on the 450 at Springfield and the first time I made the podium both days there. All in all it was a very good weekend for my team and me. We have six weeks off until Pomona but I'm going to hit a few other races here and there. I want to thank the AMA and the IMDA for pulling together to get this weekend done. And again thanks to the fans and my Sponsors for making it all happen.
Jammin' Jared Mees # 21