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Jared Mees and Indian Take X Games Gold in Flat Track Event

Minneapolis hosted the X Games Flat Track event last weekend, and Indian’s Jared Mees came away with gold. Second and third place on the podium went to Briar Bauman (Indian) and Jake Johnson (Harley-Davidson).

The X Games event was round 11 in the 2018 American Flat Track championship series. Mees has been dominating that series and has taken nine wins in the eleven events.

Here is a press release from American Flat Track:

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (July 22, 2018) – When it rains it pours, they say, and for Jared Mees the wins just keep pouring in. The latest in a now-formidable collection of victories this season – nine of eleven so far in 2018 American Flat Track competition – came today in Harley-Davidson Flat Track Racing at X Games Minneapolis.

Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing SDI Scout FTR750) was nearly perfect on the short track built inside US Bank Stadium, winning his Heat, Semi and Main in dominating fashion. He got good starts, grabbed his leads early and rode fast and mistake-free to secure his second X Games gold medal – his first coming in 2016.

For a while it looked as though Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof-Systems of Dallas/Harley-Davidson XR750) might steal Mees’ thunder in the Main, which featured just six riders – Mees, Carver Jr., Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XR750), Jake Johnson (No. 5 Estenson Racing/McCandless Truck Center Harley-Davidson XR750), Briar Bauman (No. 14 Zanotti Racing Indian Scout FTR750) and Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (No. 2 Nila Racing, Columbia Avionics Indian Scout FTR750).

Carver took the holeshot at the start and looked to have the speed to stay ahead of Mees on the egg-shaped, eighth-mile indoor track. But Carver ran wide when Mees pressured him up the inside on lap five, and as he looked over his shoulder and tried to regain the line, Mees, Bauman and Halbert passed him – and Carver Jr. found himself fourth, and floundering.

From then on it was another stellar Jared Mees performance – leading the remainder of the 15-lap Main solidly while keeping an eye on Bauman behind him in second place. Bauman, who recovered quickly from a last-place start, put in a mid-race challenge, sticking right on Mees’ rear Dunlop and looking like he might pressure the reigning AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion – and close friend – into a mistake. But it wasn’t to be. Mees rode without error and slowly pulled away to a comfortable margin at the end.

“This is such a unique race, and it’s such an honor to be invited back,” Mees said after the win. “The Indian Scout FTR has been running great all year for me; it just feels good… it’s awesome to get a gold medal! This little indoor short track…this is what I grew up on. I mean, this should be my specialty. We were good all day, I was able to bump Jeffrey [Carver Jr.] out of the way clean and get going. It was great. It’s an honor to be here and I’m looking forward to coming back.”

Factory Harley-Davidson pilot Sammy Halbert ran strong behind Bauman on the Vance & Hines XR750, and made a dramatic, last-lap/last-corner attempt to steal the runner-up spot with a typically aggressive ‘Slammin’ Sammy’ move. But Bauman didn’t give Halbert much room, and the Washington native lost the front in the loose dirt and went down, letting Johnson by for third, followed by Carver Jr. and Coolbeth Jr. Halbert came home sixth.

A revitalized and Indian-mounted Bauman finished second, 1.3 seconds behind Mees, and seemed comfortable on both the bike and the slick, tricky circuit.

Indian Motorcycle factory rider Brad Baker was involved in a crash during Sunday’s practice session and was unable to participate in the event.

Next up for the stars of American Flat Track is the Buffalo Chip TT presented by Indian Motorcycle on August 5th and Harley-Davidson Black Hills Half-Mile presented by Law Tigers Motorcycle Lawyers on August 7th. Tickets for both events are available at the links below, and if you can’t make the races you can tune in to live, flag to flag coverage of each event on starting at 2:00 pm MT (4:00 pm ET) for the Buffalo Chip and at 3:00 pm MT (5:00 pm ET) for Black Hills.

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. downgoesfraser says:

    A $20,000 KX750DT would be really cool.

  2. Tom R says:

    It’s wonderful that Indian/Polaris has a winning flat track racing team. I just figure that those interested in a Chieftain, Roadmaster, or even Scout would be much more interested in their selection of leather handlebar tassels.

    Not that there is anything wrong with tassels. It all depends on how they are used.

  3. downgoesfraser says:

    Marc Marquez and some old guy that is called “the doctor” both train on dirt track style 450 mx bikes. There is some wise ass in Texas that runs a school using little dirt bikes and teaches road racers how to slide both ends of a bike. Gorgeous Jorge went to see the King himself and rode at his ranch. I personally feel that these learn to ride schools that teach nebies how to ride in parking lots are worthless and should be using little dirt bikes.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If winning flat track sold bikes you’d see Hondas and Kawasakis in the parking lot outside AFT events in significant numbers. I opine. I wish Indian all the best.

  5. Mick says:

    I have often wondered why no OEM ever seems to offer a decent street tracker with 19 inch wheels. Dirt track races often have classes for street bikes, usually Harleys. It seems like a no brainer for an OEM to offer a bike that you can lever on a set of dirt track rubber and go out and run when you brung. It’s such an accessible way to go out and do a little racing.

    Obviously, they never ask me.

  6. CrazyJoe says:

    Kawasaki has a flat tracker. Last weekend i caught the last few minutes of a race where it won. Their 650 engine is being used. Could there be an alternative to the Ducati Scrambler be in the works? It certainly looks cool although I won’t be tempted to steer with my rear wheel anytime soon, it would look like a bike.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I don’t think Kawasaki has very much involvement at all in flat track, certainly no factory effort. I believe the Kawasaki powered flat trackers are private accomplishments.

  7. Bud says:

    Be quiet, Paquo. The grown ups are talking.

  8. bmbktmracer says:

    Tom R,
    How much of anything in the X Games is relevant? It’s a fabulous display of entertainment and engineering and a rousing tribute to humans’ desire to compete with one another.

    • TimC says:

      Indeed, some skateboard stuff was on the other day at a restaurant I was at and I said “damn” multiple times. There’s some badass stuff going on

  9. Wes C says:

    Tom R, I too like to play golf rather than hit balls, however, I have to disagree with your first post. Steering with the rear in the dirt teaches you how to handle situations on the street that are a bit out of your usual amount of control. Traction control handles much of that these days, but most street riders would benefit greatly from some time riding circles in the dirt.

  10. Provologna says:

    It’s not too far fetched to think the coming Indian 1200, combining attributes of the FTR750 and Custom 1200, shall garner the most buzz of all new 2019 bikes. Indian’s recent dirt oval dominance shall only increase such likelihood.

    It’s beyond me why the Japanese have resisted their many chances to release a 750 to 1200cc in–line V-twin with irresistible performance and cosmetic design (I’d prefer a “desert sled” design).

    IMO such bike, properly designed, just pushes so many buttons that it can’t help but be a success. It’s never going to match a race replica with more cylinders, but this is of no concern to the demographic.

    Such bike has too many things going for it to fail. First, the sound is music to the soul. At idle, it’s lower cadence is soothing. A proper street twin makes you feel good every time you pull away from a stop. Conversely, triples and fours require more forward thrust for similar satisfaction. The twin’s torque can require less shifting, further increasing ride satisfaction and pride in long term ownership.

    The twin is narrower. On an inline 4 with similarly narrow fuel tank, the cylinder heads may be wider than the tank, degrading cosmetic effect and interfering with the rider’s knees.

    From the side, nothing seems to make more design sense than a proper in-line V-twin, especially when the mid-axis between cylinders defines a vertical line (maybe less so with Ducati’s race oriented forward cylinder rotation).

    Yamaha’s 2017-only 950 Scrambler is in the right direction, but a little too heavy, too slow, too long, and too pavement oriented.

    Overall the 2018 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled is as close to my perfect bike as anything produced to date: The 19″ front wheel is especially nice, as is the raised front fender. Ducati really nailed this thing. I wish Dirck would do a full review.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      Inline V-twins are great, but they have their disadvantages. The rear cylinder runs hotter, exhaust routing is more difficult, service is a royal PITA… Inline triples probably make the most sense. Not that any of this has anything to do with Mees’ victory. Hah! Punsville.

  11. Pete R. says:

    Tom R., your comment is a kin to some one who likes hitting golf balls – but doesn’t like to actually play golf. True riders and enthusiasts appreciate all types of motorcycles, riding and racing.

  12. blitz11 says:

    It might not be as “relevant,” but it is fun to watch. I’ve been to the Isle of Man and to the Springfield mile, and although the racing is different, they’re equally entertaining.

    The article says “XR750,” but is H-D running the XG750? I haven’t seen any other references to this.

    • John II says:

      I believe Harley allowed the factory riders to switch to the older XR750 instead of the XG750 for this race.

  13. Tom R says:

    Flat track racing is about as relevant to street riders as the Navy Blue Angels is to Piper Cub pilots.

    • Mick says:

      No really. Most street riders would be totally embarrassed by almost any amateur dirt track racer. The street is chock full of very poor riders. To attempt to equate a street bike rider to a Blue Angle pilot and a dirt track racer to a Piper cub pilot couldn’t possibly be more inaccurate.

      Dirt track bikes can also rip track days at your local race track like you wouldn’t believe. They would run circle around the average track day squid with their light weight, torque monster engines and rider who knows how rto slide a motorcycle.

      You’re way out of your league Tom.

      If you are wondering. I have raced dirt track a couple of times and have earned a couple of trophies in a regular classes. My enduro, ice, observed trials, supermoto and motocross experience helped more than my street riding experience ever did.

      • Grover says:

        Mick, while your qualifications and experience in riding is impressive, in no way does it reflect 99.9% of the street riders of today. I believe that Tom R is correct when he says it’s irrelevant to most street bike riders. None of the riders I associate with could name you one flat track rider, much less who is currently in the lead. It’s just the way it is these days.

      • Tom R says:

        “To attempt to equate a street bike rider to a Blue Angle pilot and a dirt track racer to a Piper cub pilot couldn’t possibly be more inaccurate.”

        Read my post again. You got the comparison backwards. Also, I, like most other street riders, am no Blue Angel. I’m the Piper Cub pilot…and I know it.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I’m also the motorcycle equivalent of a “Piper Cub Pilot,” and I know it. But every now and then, I actually ride flat track. And MX, and Enduro X, and trials, and in the past let it all out on a paved race track.

          Did I ever have any illusions that I might one day be an ace pilot? Nah. But it’s loads of fun to act out the dream. I wish there were more places where the average motorcyclist could go to try these things out at an affordable price. I don’t know a single Piper Cub pilot that would say “no” to an opportunity for some Blue Angel training.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The only thing that makes it irrelevant or relevant is whether or not one is entertained by flat track racing, no?

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