After losing to Sammy Halbert in the Expert Singles heat race, Jared Mees beat him in that class’s final during Monday’s Barbara Fritchie Classic. “I got a good start,” said Mees, who jumped out to the early lead. “So I was able to run my own race rather than his race.” But when it came to the main event, Mees wasn’t able to run any kind of race.
The Expert Twins main event was canceled, along with six other finals at the 95th running of the Barbara Fritchie Classic, by steady rain that soaked the half-mile track at the Frederick Fairgrounds. There is no rain date. Mees got first-place money and points because he had the fastest Expert Twins heat time. Rain started falling steadily after the third final, the 450 Amateur. A lengthy delay followed, as officials waited to see if the weather would let up. With drops continuing to fall, unawarded trophies — replete with American flag-themed columns — sat under the infield pavilion. Eventually, the track began to clump.
“Once that wads up and you start pulling it up, you can never have a safe track,” race organizer Richard Riley said.
The weather cut short an event that featured the return of Mees and Halbert, a pair of three-time Fritchie Classic champions who skipped last year’s Frederick race to compete in a Grand National Championship race in Du Quoin Illinois.
While Halbert prevailed in the Expert Singles heat race, Mees bounced back in the final. “He got me in the start, and I couldn’t get by him,” Halbert said. “I tried do some stuff at the beginning of the race and made some mistakes and went backwards. So I just had to ride it out for second on the 450.”
Mees has piled up big honors since last racing in Frederick. He finished No. 1 in last year’s GNC standings and won the Harley-Davidson Flat Track Racing gold medal at the X Games Austin in June. He’s fared well at the Fritchie Classic, which is part of the Steve Nace All-Star National Flat Track Series, and Monday continued that trend. Aside from the Expert Singles win, Mees won the Dash for Cash.
And he’s vastly more experienced than he was when he won his first Fritchie Classic main event in 2005.
“You get wiser and you start figuring out the training more and you just keep building,” he said. He’s second in the GNC standings behind Bryan Smith. “This year’s been a good year so far,” he said. “We’ve had a couple little mishaps, but you’re going to have them. It can’t be a perfect year from start to finish.”