Saddlemen-Sponsored Racer’s Post-Pomona Newsletter And Comments
Jared Mees, with his new “#1″ plate on the podium at Pomona.
Saddlemen and Saddlemen Racing take pride in sponsoring professional flat track racer Jared Mees, who secured his first AMA Grand National Twins championship in the final race of the season on the 5/8-mile dirt oval at the Pomona Fairplex.
Jared’s own post-race and postseason report can be read online here, on our site.
We’ve also posted a full-page printer quality version of the photo at left for downloading – use this link.
Pomona Race Secures Championship For Saddlemen-Sponsored Racer
Jared Mees, receiving his new “#1″ plate on the podium in Pomona (left) , and congratulated by Saddlemen (and Saddlemen Racing) president Tom Seymour(right).
Jared, #21, at the pole position, readies for the season’s final race.
Jared Mees secured his first AMA Grand National Twins championship by placing fifth in the final race of the season on the 5/8-mile dirt oval at the Pomona Fairplex.
The Pomona track, Saturday afternoon, shortly before the start of the evening’s races.
Henry Wiles won the race on a Harley-Davidson XR-750.
Jared had to transfer from a semi-final heat after he placed fifth in the third heat race. But once in the main, he only needed to place eighth or better to hold his points lead over the two other racers still in strong contention for the championship, Bryan Smith and three-time defending champion, Saddlemen-sponsored Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle factory rider Kenny Coolbeth.
Smith led early in the race but dropped out on lap 10 with a mechanical failure. Coolbeth finished second, 2.9 seconds behind Wiles. The win was the first for Wiles as a Grand National Twins rider. Saddlemen-sponsored Sammy Halbert finished third on a Harley-Davidson XR-750.
“I just couldn’t get the motorcycle working right in the first heat,” said Mees. “We adjusted the suspension and then I felt great in the semi. I think if we were starting on the first row for the main I had a chance to run up front, but once I saw Smith drop out I knew I didn’t have to kill myself, just bring it home for the championship.”
Jared Mees becomes the first champion in the long history of the Grand National series to claim the title without winning a race during the season. Mees finished second three times and was third twice, and never finished worse than eighth place in nine Twins events. Mees has won six Grand National Twins races since he was named the Ricky Graham Rookie of the Year following the 2004 season. Mees finished second in the Grand National Twins championship standings to Coolbeth in 2006 and 2007.
Mees wrapped up the 2009 AMA Grand National Twins season with 142 points and a nine-point lead over Coolbeth, who earned 133 points. Halbert finished third with 125 points. Smith was fourth with 119 points, followed by Kopp with 117 points.
Jared signing posters and photos, and at right, Mees fans celebrating his championship.
Jared, surrounded by sponsors, officials and team members, with his newly-earned #1 plate, and getting a “thumbs up” from Saddlemen’s Annie Seymour.
Our thanks to Jennifer Gruber from Harley-Davidson for an excellent, informative press release that helped in creating this posting.
Upcoming Race To Decide Dirt Track Title
The final flat track race of the year will be held this Saturday, returning to the historic Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, California, with Saddlemen Racing’s Jared Mees poised to capture his first AMA Pro Grand National Championship. Racing fans know that for many years Pomona was the site of epic two-wheeled battles where racers of courage threw their 750cc mounts sideways chasing wins and championships.
Join us this weekend at Gene Romeros Flat Track AMA National race at the Fairplex in Pomona to root for Saddlemen-sponsored Jared Mees as he races to take his first AMA Pro #1 plate. After a very consistent season, Jared holds a 15 point lead heading into this final round of the season.
Grand National Championship returns to the super fast 5/8-mile track at the Pomona Fairplex for the first time in a decade. The AMA Pro motorcycle races will be co-sanctioned with Gene Romero’s West Coast Flat Track Series (WCFTS) and will be run under current AMA Pro Flat Track rules and regulations.
There are a limited number of reserved seats still available at $40.00. General Admission tickets are also available at all Ticketmaster outlets for $30.00; and tickets for children 12 and under are just $10.00. Tickets are available online at www.LoveRide.com, www.Ticketmaster.com and at participating Southern California Harley-Davidson dealers. Get your tickets now, as the season finale at Pomona is expecting a capacity crowd to witness this first-time co-sanctioned National Championship event.
We’ll see you at the races!
As previously posted, the Joker Machine / Cody Racing / JRM Bonneville Bike ran at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trails August 30th through September 3rd at the Bonneville Salt Flats, in an AMA & FIM sanctioned event, to break the speed record for the MODIFIED ALTERED FUEL 500 CLASS M-AF.
Click on the images below to see them full size…
Joker Machine’s Geoff Arnold reports on the run at the record with rider Billy “The Bullet” Hamill:
“Well we are back from Bonneville. What a week! As you may already know we ran 144.2 mph. This is not bad but the record still stands at 145.2 mph…..one mph short, what a bummer. But what a great week, Billy and I learned so much. Going to Bonneville is like no other experience you will ever have, it’s unreal. You get up everyday at 5:00 am and get done a 6:00 pm. Being on the salt all day is about as hard a days work you will ever have. One of the coolest things about working there is meeting all the people. Everyone from the fellow competitors to the AMA staff was great and made Billy and I feel very welcome. Making new friends and seeing old ones turned it into a bitchin' week and one to look forward to for next year. I highly recommend going to Bonneville if you get the chance. It’s worth it to check it out once in your life. You’ll dig it.
Also this would not be possible without Dennis Manning and his staff at BUB for putting on such a great race. All the volunteers and the AMA folks, great job and thank you. And for Billy and me one big thanks to our sponsors, who without them we would be lost and would have never gotten as close to our goal as we did. My wife Diane Rawson, without her it just wouldn’t happen. Come on – she put up with Billy and me for week on the road – what a trooper.”
Saddlemen is proud to have provided a custom-made seat for this machine. Here’s to setting the record next year!
Joker Machine’s Modified Speedway Bike Looks To Break 30-Year-Old Record
The Joker Machine / Cody Racing / JRM Bonneville Bike will be competing at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trails August 30th through September 3rd at the Bonneville Salt Flats. This is an AMA & FIM Sanctioned event. Billy Hamill will be the rider, running in the MODIFIED ALTERED FUEL 500 CLASS M-AF. The AMA record for this class is a 145.22 set in 1978 on a Yamaha.
Saddlemen is proud to have provided a custom-made seat for this machine, and hopes to add another speed record sponsorship to our legacy.
The Joker Machine team has posted this Youtube video of recent test runs at a California dry lake bed. By the looks of things, the record is well in reach…
Lloyd Brothers Motorsports, with Saddlemen-sponsored riders Kevin Atherton and Larry Pegram, scored a landmark acheivement at May 24th’s Springfield Mile.
Pegram, riding the #72F Ducati, became only the third Ducati motorcycle to score main event points in Grand National Dirt Track races, and the first in over a decade, according to AMA records.
Pegram’s machine was a Ducati Sport 1000, bought stock and converted into a flattracker. The conversion was quite new, being done over the previous six weeks, and Larry had only had seven minutes of practice time on the bike before his first heat race. He came in fourth place in the heat, and was directly transferred to the main race. It was the only non-Harley-Davidson to qualify this year, and the only time in current memory that a stock frame motorcycle made a national in this class.
“If you asked the top 100 riders and tuners here today if they thought that a stock framed bike could make a Twins National, 99 of them would tell you, ‘no way,’” Pegram, returning to dirt track competition from road racing, said.
“I think that we surprised a lot of people today,” Pegram said. “This bike has a lot of promise. As with any new bike we had a few issues… We will keep working and get this thing into the winners’ circle soon.”
Opposite the surprise showing of the Ducati, there was disappointment for the team, Kevin Atherton and his Aprilia.
David Lloyd explains: “Unlike road racing, testing on dirt tracks is difficult at best. Every dirt track is different in size, shape, texture, grip, etc.” After several extremely successful tests at a local track, hopes were high for Springfield. “Unfortunately it became evident from the first practice that the bike was not comfortable on the extremely tacky surface of the Springfield Mile. As the tires warmed up, the bike would become extremely unsettled in the corners.”
“The day turned from what we were hoping would be the Aprilia’s first win, into a test session to work out problems with the chassis. The positive part is that Kevin Atherton’s input has been invaluable and we are very confident that we will improve the handling and make the bike one that is capable of winning races with Kevin. Everyone knows that Kevin can win almost anytime he shows up. The fans were overjoyed to see Kevin back at the races. His autograph lines were the longest in the paddock. It is definitely great to see Kevin smiling at the races again.,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd Brothers Motorsports next event is Bulls Gap, Tennessee on June 20th.
While most of the riding public thinks about motorcycle seats and motorcycle luggage for long-distance touring when they think of Saddlemen, we also have a strong interest and presence in the racing community as well.
We’ve been sponsoring racers since the company was founded.
And coming soon you’ll be able to learn more and stay up-to-date with the racers we proudly sponsor. Keep an eye out for the latest results and news from Saddlemen racers.
UPDATE: Our Sponsored Racers Page can be seen HERE.
Saddlemen is pleased to be a sponsor of Gene Romero’s West Coast Flat Track Series 2009 series debut, scheduled to take place at the South Point Casino Arena in Las Vegas, January 9th and 10th.
The exciting two-night South Point Casino Arena Championship Indoor Dirt Short Track events will serve as the first two rounds of the 2009 West Coast Flat Track Series, and will take place in conjunction with the 18th Annual Las Vegas Vintage Motorcycle Auction, scheduled to begin on Thursday, January 8th.
Four WCFTS classes will be contested: the Open Class; Saddlemen Vintage Class; Top Gun 450 Class and the Hand Shift/Brakeless Class. The event is expected to draw top-notch competitors from across the country.
The South Point Casino Arena is located at 9777 Las Vegas Boulevard South, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Spectator gates open Friday and Saturday at 5:00 p.m. with time trials at 5:45 p.m. The first race each day is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the races are $20 each day. More details on the race and the auction can be found at www.WCFTS.com and www.MidAmericaAuctions.com.
Making for a convenient opportunity to view the hot motorcycle racing action on the track, the WCFTS races are set to take place right next door to the auction in the finest indoor racing facility in the world, with over 5000 padded seats. Race fans and auction goers will have the opportunity see the “Best of the West – Two Wheeled Gladiators” that are the hallmark of the WCFTS.
The 18th Annual Las Vegas Vintage Motorcycle Auction –The World’s Largest – is set to start on Thursday, January 8, with a 6 p.m. dinner auction of 75 motorcycles. The event continues Friday, January 9, at 9 a.m., with 200 motorcycles being offered. The auction resumes on Saturday, January 10, at 9 a.m., with 225 motorcycles scheduled to cross the block. Admission to the auctions is $15 each day. Three day passes for $30 can be purchased at the door or in advance.
Entry forms are available by downloading from the Entry Form section off the www.wcfts.com web site.
Multi-platinum selling musicians Jason Freese (left in photo) from Green Day (keyboards, guitar, sax, vocals), and his buddy Kevin Baldes (right), bass player from the band Lit stopped by to tour the Saddlemen facilities recently, and to get a custom Saddlemen seat for Jason’s XR650L Honda supermoto bike.
In addition to being world class musicians, Kevin and Jason are all-around nice guys, long-time motorcyclists and friends from Orange County, California. That’s Saddlemen President Tom Seymour showing them around.
The seat on Jason’s Honda was reshaped for his riding style, and includes a lower rider position for better control in supermoto situations, a rider bump-stop (common racer mod), custom non-slip ultrasuede finish, contrast color stitching (red, naturally), and of course Saddlemen’s exclusive SaddleGel™ inside for a comfortable ride. It was also lengthened so that Jason’s bride could accompany him around town.
The bike is a project in conjunction with the Motorcycle Industry Council (www.mic.org) under the direction of IRS Media’s special project guru Avery Innes. Other modifications include 17″ wheels and sticky street tires, supermoto-specific brakes, lowered suspension, wider footpegs, aggressive handlebars, engine tweaks and a Jardine exhaust. This is one bad-ass XR650L streetbike!
Click on the images to the left to see them full size.
See Jason Freese and other rock musicians on the MIC’s new website RockMoto.com, which combines the high energy of rock ‘n roll music with the speed and grace of motorcycling.
Dirt Track Today
Written by Jim Grant
This interview originally appeared on Dirt Track Today on Tuesday, December 26, 2006.
Flattrack.com’s Jim Grant saddles up to seat maker Saddlemens President Tom Seymour
Hi Tom it was a pleasure to see you this past weekend at the Springfield Mile, it was definitely a tough weekend with the Saturday TT with the turn one fiasco then Sundays last lap main event crash that landed veteran pro racer Terry Poovey in the hospital in critical condition, outside of everything that happened this past weekend how has Tom been?
Well, every Spring we are quite busy, but this year it seams that even more people are aware of Saddlemen and sales of our seats and saddlebags have been keeping us pretty busy. I have to thank some of that success to the many fans of flattrack, they are some of the nicest and most loyal fans of any sport. But since you mentioned Terry, I have to say that injuries to our heroes, and every competitor, make me very sad. I guess that some of the excitement we derive from racing comes from the knowledge that even small mistakes can demand the ultimate penalty. However, I wish that our racing was less brutal and forgiving. While danger is inherent in racing, it absolutely makes me mad when spectators come to races to see accidents – those guys should stay home, even though they are paying customers. Terry is an icon in our sport, a legend deserving of our admiration, respect and support. I know that our racing community will keep him and his family in their prayers, as I will.
FT.Com: Lets get everyone up to speed on just how involved you are in the sport of flattrack racing. If anyone has ever been to the Saddlemen plant you will see “The Hallway of Flattrack Stars” it’s a hallway just to the right of Toms office. Tell us a little about that wall Tom, when did you begin it and why? Etc.
TS: The wall now has more than a hundred pictures. We have helped talented stars, up and comers, over-achievers, under-achievers and also-rans, but they all belong to that special class of people known as flattrack racers. Some notables that have sat on our seats “in anger” include the Haydens, Bostroms, Hale, Carr, Springer, King and the rest of the new HD “wrecking crew” and most of the field at this year’s Springfield.
I participate in flattrack because I am the sport’s #1 fan and have been since I saw my first race about 1963 in Middletown, New York; near where I grew up.
While I raced TT scrambles a bit as an amateur and rode lot’s of enduros – including a few nationals -in the 60’s and 70’s, I really thought that flattrack was the top form of racing. So now that my active racing days are behind me I keep involved by helping racers, especially up and coming guys and gals. In return I ask them to say thanks by sending me a signed picture to hang on the wall.
The other reason that I help is that since I make a living in the motorcycle industry, I feel that I have an obligation to put something back in to help make that industry better. Since I love racing, I choose to be at least a small part in helping that part of the industry. Like Parts Unlimited, a great customer, says, “Support the Sport!”
FT.com: It is true you have so many vintage collectable cars you have an airplane hanger to house them all in?
TS: I am a gear head and an engineer at heart. I have to keep my hand in the nuts and bolts of something and since bikes and racing dominate so much of my time, I take a break by working with my muscle cars. Cars and bikes, almost the same but different enough that I can really relax and take a break from what I do 80 hours a week.
Actually my collection is not that big, I have three cars that are “finished” and three more under construction (by the way, they are all fast!)
FT.com: What where some of your most memorable years in Flattrack, and why is that?
TS: I can’t say that any particular year stands out from the others; but certainly certain events stand out as notable; the first national win with one of the riders I helped (Will Davis at Sedalia), the first national wins of Saddlemen riders Mike Hacker and Jared Mees, my first victory lap at a national (JR Schnabel at Springfield), winning the 883 title and being the first sponsor of an up and coming rider and listening to his excitement. There are scores of highs, all of them special. I also remember hoping to get into the Daytona short track because it was sold out every year and I often forgot to order tickets ahead!
But again with Terry Poovey’s recent injuries in mind, I also recall the desperate lows of fallen and injured riders. We must always remember our responsibility to encourage riders to be safe and not to push them beyond their comfort zones. The thrill of racing is only understood by those lucky enough to be part of the racing community. To those outside, they just can’t understand how these young men and women make super human efforts and sacrifices to excel at their chosen sport.
FT.com: Tell us about what you like doing when you’re at home relaxing after a hard day at the office, any hobbies outside of collecting cars and restoring them?
TS: Those few hours outside of work I spend at the gym, riding my mountain bike, or trail or street riding on one of my motorcycles. If I can get more time off I like to go fishing. Reading is also a great way to relax and to learn or be entertained, I often fall asleep with a good book, which is the second best way to fall asleep!
FT.com: Who in your opinion feel like they do the best job in staying in contact with you and giving you after race updates, I think that is a huge factor when obtaining and keeping a sponsor, I know a phone call or a email can go a long way.
TS: I work with racers that appreciate help rather than those few that expect help. A phone call or email goes a long way to making a sponsor feel that he is part of the team and appreciated. Frankly, the marketing demographics of the current race market are relatively small compared to the cost of sponsorship. That is; many companies find it hard to justify the cost of participation in flattrack racing. Therefore many sponsors participate because although they may be successful business owners, they are also fans; racers need to remember that these guys want to be involved. Jared Mees and Babe DeMay have been excellent in this regard.
Before I am condemned for blasphemy, many companies can justify sponsorship based upon return from exposure and goodwill with the racers and fans, but many companies that are involved do not. Many sponsoring companies just want to be involved and riders that realize this will be rewarded with longer term relationships.
FT.com: In the very near future what do you think needs to be done for our sport to thrive and be more prosperous and attractive to fans and potential sponsors, don’t hold back on this one lol.
TS: For flattracking to grow and prosper it needs to be promoted. Promotion means money and a change in the way things are currently being handled. We can talk about rules and such, and they are critical, but the races have to be presented to the public in a more orderly and professional manner. They have to be interesting and easily available. Along with some easy format changes, this means money, lots of money, and not the kind of money that many of the current sponsors have to spend on their own, in unison perhaps, but not singlely.
There are few ways this can come about and in my view either the AMA or one of the OEM manufacturers has to step up and be the catalyst. An owners group, or outside promoter could do it, but in my opinion they need the help of the AMA and OEM’s. Right now HD wants flattrack to grow and I believe that they are willing to invest in a program that will mesh with their marketing goals. This is a good thing, not something to be avoided. I also believe that the other OEM’s would be willing to invest if they were presented with a plan that would promote their goals. What I think is that HD might be willing to be a catalyst to make this happen, but I don’t see the other OEM’s ready to take a leadership position right now.
The AMA must be willing to let a promoter take do their job. I think the AMA should be a sanctioning body, but they should not be, or limit, the promoter. The AMA needs to be willing to grow the sport by letting the promoter make money. As I understand things now, the AMA “bite” is such that promoters are lucky to survive.
The IMDA obviously knows how to promote, but the reason for their existence is really the Illinois dealer, not flattracking in general. We have to be thankful for the wonderful work of the IMDA, because they have almost single-handedly preserved our sport.
For a promoter or promoters to be successful, I believe that coordinated national promotion is necessary. This might dictate a single promoter, or at best a few large promoters working closely together, but I don’t believe the AMA sees this as the path. Before I am depicted as an AMA basher, I want all to know that I am an AMA life member and support the AMA, I just think that with flattrack they have not served the sport’s best interests.
Obviously, for OEM’s to be interested, they need bikes in the racing program. I believe that big bikes are more interesting for the current flattrack fan, but that 450’s can also be very exciting. We can not please current fans at the expense of growth of the sport. However, we do need to keep the current fans, and the largest flattrack supporter – HD, as part of the program.
FT.com: How many Springfield Mile races have you missed in the past 5 years? I know of one because of a High School reunion.
TS: I think I have made all but one of the Springfield races during the past six or seven years.
FT.com: What’s in the future for Saddlemen Seats? How the business doing?
TS: Saddlemen continues to grow. I am lucky to both be in an industry that I love and one that has been blessed with constant growth for more the past decade. That is why I am so happy to put something back into the industry through flattrack, an area about which I am passionate.
By the way, Saddlemen is a lot more than seats; we also are one of the industry’s largest supplier of saddlebags and other motorcycle luggage. Plus, we sell to several OEM manufacturers for their accessory divisions – lot’s of our bags and seats have someone else’s name on them.
FT.com: Will Chris Carr and Kenny Tolbert win the Championship again in 2006? If not who do you think will?
TS: This year’s championship will be won, like in years past, by a combination of raw talent, determination, experience, preparation and luck. Without a doubt Chris’ team has a lot of that going, but the variable of luck can not be predicted other than to say that those that are prepared seem to have the best luck. The safest bet right now is Chris and Kenny, but with HD support Coolbeth is going to be tough, Kopp is always strong and I expect that Jared Mees with Johnny Goad and Saddlemen will make a strong showing. I believe that Jared is on his way to be one of the sport’s stars. Don’t count Schnabel out either; did you see his spectacular first lap save avoiding Jake and Wiles and his late race pass of Kopp at the Springfield TT?
FT.com: Is there anything you would like to conclude in this interview before we wind it down? Got anything on your mind you would like to have fans, racers, owners know about?
TS: I mention that the sport needs a catalyst to make it leap forward, but remember each and every fan can help in some small way. Attending a race with a friend that has never seen a race helps the sport; giving a young rider across town some help gives him tremendous encouragement to go ahead; and of course letting companies know that you recognize their support by using their products and thanking them for their support will keep them coming back.
Also, to all of you aspiring racers looking for sponsorship, remember to ask other enthusiasts for help and reward them by making them feel part of the program. Many are ex racers and the chance to be involved again gives them motivation to help financially. It isn’t just big companies with big ad budgets that will help, (big companies are probably looking for a star, not the next star) it is the ex-racer or enthusiast that said hello to you at the last race.
FT.com: Thanks Tom, and I personally want to thank you for being a long time sponsor of mine and always being there. Thank you very much!