JARED MEES — REPORT
Well, it was last year when I last “Wrote” to you, so I guess I will start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Hope everyone had a great holiday!! Since the first of the year we have raced a few races. With all the traveling involved and getting the bikes ready, it has been difficult to get out my reports.
The first ICE race this year was at Reading PA, which is about 30 minutes from where I was born and raised. That meant I had a lot of my family and friends there, even some old High School buddies showed up. It was exciting to have them all there. I won both of my Heat races and felt really good. Again I was asked if I wanted to take the Motion Pro Challenge. I said NO but the crowd went nuts. So I gave in and took it. It was a bad start but a good first corner. By turn four I was 2nd behind Kevin Anderson, got him before half way, then someone knocked the inside marker unto the track. I went around it but Anderson went up the inside and made the re-pass. I came back and got him on the next lap and won it. It was quite exciting, the crowd was really into it. My family and friends got to see an exciting race and it was a great way to start the new year.
Cedar Rapids IA
The next two races were back-to-back in Iowa. The first night I again won both of my Heats and was sitting on the pole. I decided to take the Motion Pro Challenge again. I came off the back row and right on the first turn there was a big pile up. I thought there would have been a red flag but as I came around the corner the green flag was waiving and I knew I had to get going. I got into 3rd and had to get by Tom McGrane next. I was able to pass him and next was Brock whom I passed to win the Challenge again.
The second night was at the same spot. Again I won both of my Heats. Kevin Anderson had the pole due to a flip of the coin. Off the line I got a good jump and was able to beat him to the first corner, holding him off for the 8 laps. The ice seemed soft and difficult to grab. Kevin won it fair and square, keeping me honest.
Roanoke and Hampton VA
This was a short week. Got home on Sunday from Iowa and had to race in Roanoke VA on Thursday night –about a 12 hour drive down and then another race on Saturday in Hampton VA. And bikes to get ready before I left. My buddy Adam Beldyga and I left Wednesday night and put some miles in, stopping half way and finishing the rest of the drive to Roanoke the next morning.
I won both my Heats and sat on the pole, got the hole shot and was leading when on the 3rd lap I stalled my bike and went back to 7th. Got it re-started and worked my way through the pack to end up 2nd. It was a little frustrating. Not to say I would have necessarily won the race, but I sure made it harder on myself. But it could have ended worse. This was my second loss of the season, having crashed on the very first race in Des Moines and unable to finish.
At Hampton on Saturday I again won both of my Heats and sat on the pole. Got a good jump and put in some hard laps, took a peek over the shoulder and saw I had a good lead so I just brought it home for the win.
I hooked a ride with Tommy McGrane and the crew who got their stuff loaded quickly in Virginia and they kindly gave me a ride to the Philadelphia airport. Adam was driving my van back to Michigan with our bikes from the ICE indoor. I had a one-way ticket to fly into Detroit to make the Ice Race Grand Championships in Birch Run MI on Sunday.
My buddy Jason Hensely [aka J-HENZ] picked me up at the Detroit airport and we drove straight to the outdoor ice race.
Birch Run, MI
I got there just in time to make practice—perfect timing. In the first practice the track was already coming apart and getting really tough. I came in and my mechanic, Brent Armbruster, and I made some changes before going back out. The track was very hard to pass on. The first Heat was the 450 Kold Kutter. I came off the line in 2nd and had to work for the lead, finally winning the Heat. Next was the Open Kold Kutter which was really stacked: Bryan Bigelow, Bryan Smith, Stephen Vanderkuur, to name a few. Top three to go to the Main Event. I got the hole shot and was able to run my own race pretty much, winning it to sit on the pole for the Main Event.
In the Main Event of the 450 Kold Kutter I got off in 3rd and quickly got into 2nd. My buddy Craig Pickett who is 52 years old grabbed the hole shot and was leading it. But I was able to get around Craig, got some company towards the end, but was able to hang on for the win. Craig ended up 3rd which was awesome. Bigs ended up crashing half way which was a bummer that we could not dice it up and Smith’s bike broke I think. The track was just brutally rough. Roughest I have ever ridden on.
The next one was the big one ,,, the Open Kold Kutter. I was on the pole, green light went on and Bigs got the jump on me and I was 2nd. I tried to get around him going into turn 3 but couldn’t make it. The next few laps I tried making some passes but every time I went to make a move it was jumping through holes. By half-way Bigelow had built himself a gap and I sat there in 2nd. Bigs ran really well and won it and Craig got another 3rd. I was pumped to be on both podiums with Craig as we spend a lot of time together during the ice season. It was a lot of fun even with the track being the way it was.
It was a stressful week so I’m glad it is done and over with. I need to thank a few people along with all my sponsors. First off, Tommy McGrane and the whole crew with us. Tommy actually got a speeding ticket on the way to the Philadelphia airport so I am very grateful to all the guys who got me there in time. I also want to thank Adam Beldyga for driving our gear in my van back home; and J-Henz for picking me up at the Detroit airport. Without all the help from each and every one of them, it would not have happened for me. Last but not least I really want to thank my mechanic Brent for all the hard work at the race on Sunday. I think it was 5 degrees for a high temperature that day and yet, anything I wanted changed on the bike he did it—I know how hard it was for him to work on the bike in such cold weather. Our friend Danny Kelsh gave us a big hand as well. Thanks again to all the people who made all this happen.
I have to tell you, I was one tired puppy at the end of that day.
This past weekend is the Bloomington IL indoor ICE race (I’ll have a report in a few days!!). This coming weekend is Nichola Cheza’s 6th Annual Shindig party. I hope to see a lot of you there.
The month of February in on the light side for once… not a lot of racing. I have a few things to finish up on the Hondas for Daytona. And they will be ready. Brent has the Harleys looking great and they are just about ready as well. So things are shaping up good. I am really excited for the season to be here.
Until next time. Thank you for the support.