Briar Bauman won the AMA Pro Flat Track season finale at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas in convincing fashion, by 2.445 seconds over Joe Kopp, the Husqvarna rider who came out of retirement for this race and looked like he’d never left. The big story involved third-place finisher Jared Mees, who claimed his fourth AMA Grand National Championship.
Consistent and tenacious to the end, Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Wrecking Crew rider Jared Mees is champion of the 2015 AMA Pro Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines flat track series. Mees, the defending GNC1 champion. He secured his third AMA Grand National title in four years.
“It’s awesome to get this championship,” said Mees, who rode a Rogers Racing Las Vegas H-D/Blue Springs H-D Harley-Davidson XR750 motorcycle in the Grand National twins events. “Last year when I won it, I said that one meant the most to me. But now here I am and it just gets sweeter and sweeter every year. Thanks to Harley-Davidson and everyone at Rogers Racing for putting me on a fast motorcycle all season.”
Mees came to the AMA Finale with a seven-point lead over Bryan Smith, with Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Wrecking Crew rider Kenny Coolbeth Jr. just 20 points back in third place. The finale was anticlimactic since Mees’ two closest rivals faltered earlier in the evening, but Mees wasn’t worried about how he won, he was just glad that he took home to Clio, Michigan, the prestigious AMA Pro Grand National No.1 plate, his third in the last four years.
Mees emerged as champion through consistent performance on the track. The 29-year-old racer from Clio, Mich., had a single victory in 2015 but notched nine podiums and only twice in 13 races failed to finish out of the top 10. Mees also won the Grand National championship in 2012 and 2014. Mees began racing as an AMA Expert in 2003 and has won 16 times in Grand National competition.
“Harley-Davidson congratulates Jared Mees on becoming a deserving three-time champion,” said Kris Schoonover, Harley-Davidson Racing Manager. “And a huge thanks to all of the Harley-Davidson racers who made this one of the most thrilling Grand National seasons in memory.”
Mees wrapped up the season with 204 points. Smith was second with 181 points, followed by Briggs Auto/Harley-Davidson rider Sammy Halbert, who finished fourth in the AMA Finale and scored 172 points. Coolbeth, who raced a Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson XR750 motorcycle, finished the season in fourth place with 169 points.
The big question leading up to the event was how everyone would fare in the untested waters of the Orleans Arena. The tenth-of-a-mile course, largely designed by seven-time AMA Pro Grand National Champion Chris Carr, is unlike anything else on the 2015 schedule, and one of the shortest tracks ever in GNC history. Its football shape rewarded riders able to enter the corner wide and hug the inside tight, then get the bike up as quickly as possible to make use of what little straight there was before the next pair of turns. It featured a 12-15 inch base layer of Arenacross dirt, with lots of clay and rocks, so builders topped the surface with decomposed granite, similar to a speedway course.
Harley-Davidson will be back as a sponsor of the AMA Pro GNC1 series in 2016, and will field Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Factory Team rider Brad Baker in all of the twins races.
Mees finished the 2015 season 23 points ahead of Smith in second. Halbert is third overall with Coolbeth in fourth and Bauman in fifth.
AMA Pro Flat Track GNC1 Las Vegas Results 2015
1. Briar Bauman (Honda)
2. Joe Kopp (Husqvarna)
3. Jared Mees (Honda)
4. Sammy Halbert (Yamaha)
5. Jake Johnson (Honda)
6. Dominic Colindres (Yamaha)
7. Mike Rush (Honda)
8. Jake Mataya (Honda)
9. Kayl Kolkman (Suzuki)
10. Henry Wiles (Honda)
11. Danny Eslick (Honda)
12. Brandon Robinson (Honda)
AMA Pro Flat Track GNC1 Points 2015 – Jared Mees Wins 2015 AMA Flat Track Championship
1. Jared Mees, 204
2. Bryan Smith, 181
3. Sammy Halbert, 172
4. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., 169
5. Briar Bauman, 143
6. Brandon Robinson, 136
7. Henry Wiles, 119
8. Brad Baker, 106
9. Stevie Bonsey, 95
10. Jeffrey Caver, Jr., 90