Courtesy of AMA PRo Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 27, 2012) – The M1 PowerSports-promoted Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince showcased amazing races in all four AMA Pro Road Racing classes, and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series contained some of the weekend’s most compelling action.
Bartel’s Harley-Davidson walked away with a 1-2 in the Vance & Hines XR1200 Series race at Road Atlanta with Tyler O’Hara, who scored a breakthrough win last year at Indianapolis, ending up the man of the weekend after winning pole, leading the most laps and ultimately claiming the victory.
However, races are rarely won easily in the Vance & Hines XR1200 Series and that proved to be the case in Georgia as well.
Pulling double-duty on the weekend, AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike contender Steve Rapp fought for the lead in Sunday’s Vance & Hines XR1200 Series slugfest. The Harv’s Harley-Davidson pilot swapped the lead back-and-forth with O’Hara before a mechanical issue ended his race a couple laps short of the checkered flag.
O’Hara’s Bartel’s Harley-Davidson teammate, Michael Barnes, picked up the pursuit from close behind to push the Californian to the line from second position for his second career AMA Pro victory.
“Every win is very special,” O’Hara said. “I’m super excited. The whole goal this weekend was to have fun and that’s what we did. We put in a good lap in qualifying and won pole. And what a race today. Rapp passed me in a place I didn’t think I could be passed. I followed him a little bit and learned a lot and that helped me out when I got back in the lead. And Barney was there the whole time keeping us honest. There’s no down time on these Harleys. It’s pretty much pinned wire-to-wire.”
After receiving his Big Kahuna surfboard trophy, O’Hara added, “It just works out. I’m from California. I don’t surf but I think I might start now.”
Barnes said, “The last couple of laps I was doing what I could, but I know Tyler and he was doing everything he could. He was going so deep into [Turn] 10 and I didn’t really have a run on him out of [Turn] 7. He was really strong, as was Rapp until he broke or whatever happened to him. He must have downshifted a bit too hard because I heard that thing pop coming out of 10b. He put his hand up and that made it a little easier for me, but Tyler was just too tough to latch onto. Steve and Tyler were slowing each other down a little bit and keeping me there. Today wasn’t the one but it’s coming soon. It’s been 16 years, I think, since I got one and I’m pretty hungry to get a win and determined to get one, one of these days.”
Daytona winner Kyle Wyman made the most of what could have been a championship-killer. The KLR Group/Vesrah crashed in oil on the opening lap of the contest while running in second. He was forced to start from the back of the field after switching to his backup bike for the restart, but still managed to pick his way up to third in the end.
“I guess there was some fluid down in Turn 10a that I didn’t know was there. I guess someone had an issue on the warm-up lap. Before I knew it I was on my head. I just tried to hustle and get back to pit lane to get back out there. I’m glad we did because we got back out there and got on the podium.
“I put my head down. I wanted to get back up there as quick as I could. I had only done three laps on the backup bike ever. That one just got built and brought down here. I’m just happy I had an opportunity to get back out there; I’ve never had a spare bike before, actually. It’s really nice.”
Gerry Signorelli (Kuryakyn/Racing for a Wish) now leads the Sunoco “Go The Distance” Award, given to the rider that completes the furthest total distance in 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing race-weekend events, with 280.65 miles to second-place Darren James’ (Deeley Racing/ Ruthless Racing) 280.02 miles.
AMA Pro Road Racing will next head west for Round 3 with a stop at scenic Sonoma, Calif. The Great Clips West Coast Moto Jam will take place at Infineon Raceway in two weeks time, May 4-6. For tickets and event information, please visit www.infineonraceway.com.
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