Rider Spotlight: Jared Mees
NEWS February 16, 2012
Photo by Dave Hoenig
AMAP: Where are you from?
JM: I’m from Honey Brook, Pa., born and raised. I currently live in Clio, Mich. We get to enjoy our ice riding here in Michigan.
AMAP: How’s the ice riding going so far?
JM: This year is probably one of the worst years for riding on the ice. We had a crazy winter where we had a couple 60 degree days smack dab in the middle of December. During a normal winter, we try to get out three times in a week, but definitely on the weekends. I’ve raced in an indoor ice racing series for the past four to five years (icespeedway.com) It usually starts up in December and runs through February, but one of the six races was cancelled. It was a short season, which was kind of nice for me to take a little break. I’m very busy, because once we get done racing AMA Pro Flat Track, we go ice racing, and then right back to Daytona again. It was nice having a little bit of a break. Ice riding keeps me in shape, but as far as learning new things, it’s probably the opposite of riding on dirt. You’re so hooked up on the ice, it teaches you bad habits, but it’s too much fun!
AMAP: What was your first motorcycle?
JM: I started out on a PW50, which I currently still own. We decided to keep my very first bike, and it looks the same as the last time I rode it. I hope to keep it forever.
AMAP: How did you get into motorcycle racing?
JM: My father got me into racing. He always wanted to race motorcycles, but never got the opportunity to race them. Motorcycles have always been a big part of his life. He’s currently a mechanic and works on Harley-Davidsons.. more of the old school stuff. He got me into racing at six years old. I ran up the motorcycle cc ranks through the years while my dad funded it out of pocket. Then some sponsorship came along, but it wasn’t until my later years that Moroney’s Harley-Davidson came along in the later years of my amateur career. From there, I started riding for Johnny Goad. I road for him for six years and won the rookie of the year award with him too. I learn a lot about racing, and even more about life. After Johnny, I started racing for Craig Rogers of Rogers Racing, and have been since. Craig makes every race, even after he works all week long. He’s a work horse! It’s cool to have a team owner like him come and support me for than just bikes and such. This is my fourth year coming riding with him, and I think he’s only missed two races, and it was because of being rained out.
AMAP: Out of all the motorcycles you’ve ridden, what’s your favorite?
JM: My favorite would be my old Rotax. It’s a sentimental value to me. I love my Harley-Davidson XR750, but another would have to be the 500cc stroker Johnny Goad had. That thing was bad to the bone. When I got into a cushion, it was just so much fun to ride. People would flip about how fast it was to ride. I’ve got an old dual shock motorcycle that I still ride since the age of 10.
AMAP: How did you get into Flat Track, compared to Motocross or other motorcycle racing disciplines?
JM: My first race was at a TT track in Pennsylvania. The next district race was an oval track, and it just kept going from there. I never got into motocross or road racing. I stuck with flat track and loved it. The one thing about the sport is it’s tough to show an outside guy video of races and get him pumped up about it, but if you take him to the race. I’ve never heard of anybody walk away not amazed. Travis Pastrana, Josh Herrin and all the pros think we’re nuts. Laughs.
AMAP: What’s your favorite racetrack?
JM: I really like Peoria. Of course, Springfield is cool, but the Du Quoin Mile is really cool. Those three tracks are the biggest favorites of all the tracks. My least favorite is DAYTONA® Flat Track. I miss racing in the municipal stadium. I hate to say it, but Daytona is not a favorite for me. I don’t think many other racers love it other than Johnny Lewis or Sammy Halbert.
AMAP: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
JM: The competition. I’m such a competitor. Whether it’s riding, playing games or working out. I try to be the best I can be. I’m going to steal this line from Jake Johnson, but he’s right when “Half my friends I’ve met have some sort of connection from me racing Flat Track.” I’ve met a lot of great people and terrific friends. Many of my sponsors aren’t really sponsors, but more friends. Competition has to be the biggest thing.
AMAP: What are your expectations going into next year?
JM: It’s one of those things where everyone’s going to step up their game, but I want to win races. I came up very short last year, but I sat back and thought that I had one heck of a year. Next year, if I can have somewhat of the same year, I’ll be right there to win it. Everyone knows that myself and the rest of the guys are all going for it. My biggest weak points were the short tracks, so trying to figure out the short track program will benefit me.
AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
JM: Will Davis. When he was riding for Moroney’s the same time I was riding for them as an amateur. He’s a personable guy and always treated me with respect. I got to race with him a couple times in outlaw races, and I remember beating him won time. Pat Moroney was so happy that I beat him. Laughs. I really look up to him.. he’s a great father, husband and motorcycle racer. I would say he’s one of my heroes for sure. I heard a lot of Ricky Graham stories, and I gave him a lot of respect, but he’s not one of my top heroes.