Parts Unlimited/Vance & Hines’ Steve Rapp harnessed his second victory of the 2011 Harley-Davidson XR1200 series at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday. The 39-year-old held on for the win just 0.156 seconds ahead of Bruce Rossmeyers Daytona Racing’s Chris Fillmore, who’s last lap charge toward the front wasn’t enough to record the win. Meanwhile Tylerohara.net/GP Bike Parts’ Tyler OHara finished third, recording his first podium of the season more than 11 seconds off the pace of Rapp.
Rapp pulled an early lead form pole position ahead of Fillmore as OHara, Drag Specialties’ Michael Barnes, HOG Racing’s Shawn Higbee, Harv`s Harley Davidson’s Travis Wyman and Payton Sassaman all fell in line. While the top-three order remained relatively stable throughout the contest, there was much position swapping going on behind them as Higbee and Travis Wyman made passes on Barnes to move up to fourth and fifth, respectively. J&P Cycles’s Michael Beck was an early casualty after crashing out on the first lap.
“In the beginning of the race when Michael got spit off, it was right in front of me and I ran into the grass,” said Fillmore. “I kind of checked out of the race for a second then realized we had to get back in line.”
Up front Rapp was still leading Fillmore by less than half a second. With the possibility of a second consecutive win in his grasp, Fillmore was eager to stay with the leader as Lap 4 approached. Meanwhile Travis Wyman, Barnes, Sassaman and Chase McFarland were running fifth through eighth, respectively.
With six laps left Rapp had some breathing room from Fillmore but not much. Higbee had to pull out of the race due to mechanical troubles – giving Travis Wyman fourth. Bruce Rossmeyers Daytona Racing’s Michael Corbino and Kyle Wyman both made their way around McFarland for sixth and seventh on Lap 7 as Fillmore closed to within 0.238 seconds on Rapp. The race was going down to the wire between these two.
With the white flag out Rapp maintained a steady lead by just a bike-length. Despite his best efforts though Fillmore couldn’t put the finishing touches on Rapp, and he had to settle for runner-up. Rapp’s victory puts him a few points closer to Fillmore, who still currently leads the series.
“I got a decent start,” said Rapp. “I was in third going through the first couple corners, then got a little bit of a draft going in to Turn 4 and was able to start passing some people. By end of the first lap I was back in the lead, and then I just went as hard as I could without crashing. This class really shows bike skill and rider set-up, that’s what I like about it. I had fun.”
“I wish I’d tried some more aggressive moves, but I was pretty much doing everything I could just to stay there,” Fillmore said. “I’m looking forward to going to Mid-Ohio; we kind of struggled here.”
2011 AMA Vance & Hines XR1200 Barber Results:
1. Steve Rapp (Harely-Davidson)
2. Chris Fillmore (Harely-Davidson)
3. Tyler OHara (Harely-Davidson)
4. Michael Barnes (Harely-Davidson)
5. Michael Corbino (Harely-Davidson)
6. Kyle Wyman (Harely-Davidson)
7. David Estok (Harely-Davidson)
8. Chase McFarland (Harely-Davidson)
9. Payton Sassarman (Harely-Davidson)
10. Brett Sassarman (Harely-Davidson)
11. Gerry Signorelli (Harely-Davidson)
12. Matthew Heidel (Harely-Davidson)
13. Paul James (Harely-Davidson)
14. Travis Wyman (Harely-Davidson)
15. Bryan Desimone (Harely-Davidson)
2011 Vance & Hines XR1200 Championship Points:
1. Chris Fillmore, 135
2. Steve Rapp, 119
3. Michael Barnes, 80
4. Kyle Wyman, 78
5. Tyler OHara, 67
6. Michael Corbino, 65
7. Chase McFarland, 61
8. Michael Beck, 59
9. Danny Eslick, 50
10. Joe Kopp, 45