Saturday, August 27, 2011

AMA Road Racing: Tyler O'Hara Wins Inaugural Vance & Hines XR1200 Event at RedBull Indy MotoGP Round

Tyler O'Hara on the #29 Tyler O'Hara Racing-sponsored H-D XR1200 leads the lead pack of riders with just a few laps to go in the inaugural AMA Pro Road Racing Vance & Hines XR1200 Series presented by Harley-Davidson Insurance event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon.  O'Hara kept it out front for the final run to the flag to beat out Steve Rapp by just .048 seconds after 10 laps of exciting racing at the Brickyard.

In what was a high-level energy event at the first of a two-race round this weekend, the XR1200 Series put on one heckuva show today that more then showed they belong on the undercard of the premier road racing series in the world at the World Capital of Racing. 

The lead pack of O'Hara, XR1200 point leader Chris Fillmore on his #55 Bruce Rossmeyer's Racing/Revolution Performance-sponsored machine, Irishman Jeremy McWilliams on the #99 H-D of Bloomington/Indiana Biker's Choice-backed XR, Steve Rapp on the #5 Parts Unlimited/Vance & Hines-sponsored mount, and Daytona SportBike-regular Jason DiSalvo on the #40 Latus Motors Racing/ XR broke off from the 33 rider field early in the going.  Taking advantage of the large hole that the over-500 lb. machines punch through the air, the estimated 50K+ crowd was treated to what surely will go down as one of the most exciting races of any kind to run at the century old Indianapols track.  Needless to say, between the draft and the slick moves these riders were putting on one another ALL over the 2.6 mile track, it was quite the racing spectacle of who could make the move on whom throughout the 10-lap race, let alone where.

Swapping the lead too many times to keep count, the five-rider lead pack was slimmed down to 3 men when McWilliams and point leader Fillmore came together on the final lap of the 10-lap race.  Fillmore was the big loser on and off the track on this one, as his machine was too damaged to continue and was credited with 21st place, with McWilliams going down a couple of corners later, but able to remount to finish a very credible 10th.  Fillmore's lead in the point standings was whittled down to 6 points with Rapp's resulting 2nd place finish, after scoring a single point for what up until his crash was a very fine performance. 

Meanwhile, Rapp, DiSalvo and O'Hara were having a battle for the ages on the final lap, just as they had throughout the whole race, with O'Hara taking a hard-earned and well-deserved win over Rapp by just .048 seconds.  DiSalvo was another .59 seconds back in what was all but a photo finish.  Rapp moved within striking distance of the championship as a result of his great run in 2nd and Fillmore's crash, after coming into Indy with a 30 point deficit.  With tomorrow afternoon's round and the final event of the season next weekend at NJMP, Rapp sits firmly in the catbird seat ready to pounce for the championship.

Tomorrow afternoon's event is scheduled to roll off at 3:30 PM EDT, and the weekend's events will be shown on SpeedTV tomorrow night at 6 PM EDT.

You owe it to yourself to check this one out!  These guys put on one of THE best races to have ever run at IMS, and that's coming from someone who has seen an awful lot of racing at the Brickyard in the last five decades.  It very well could have been one of the most exciting races to have EVER run there, and the riders, teams, sponsors, fans and AMA Pro Road Racing should all be applauded for putting on such a great show today.  Bravo!

Tyler O'Hara Takes Career-First AMA Pro Victory in Inaugural XR1200 Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 27, 2011) - Tyler O'Hara joined a select group of racers today by taking his career-first AMA Pro victory in the inaugural AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 presented by Harley-Davidson Insurance race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Though O'Hara led eight of the ten laps, his win was anything but easy, as Tyler -- running under his own team banner -- battled Parts Unlimited's Steve Rapp, series points-leader Chris Fillmore (Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing GEICO), 2010 British XR1200 Trophy Champion Jeremy McWilliams, and Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo throughout the pass-laden contest.

"It just feels really good right now," said an emotional O'Hara, who ran down pit lane on foot -- waving the checkered flag -- after his bike stopped on course during the victory lap. "This is my first AMA Pro win, and I feel phenomenal right now; it's been a long time coming. I've been racing pretty much my whole life, about eighteen years, and I've had a lot of upsets, led a lot of big races, and never really caught a break, and it seems like this weekend I was in the right place at the right time and caught a break there at the end."

A dramatic start to today's race saw eight bikes crash out within seconds of leaving the line, Kyle Wyman one of the quickest of the unlucky riders. At the front, O'Hara and Fillmore tore through corners followed closely followed by Rapp, McWilliams, and DiSalvo, the five-rider group kicking off one of the classically intense passing-and-drafting battles the Vance & Hines XR1200 class has become known for.

Jason DiSalvo, Tyler O'Hara and Steve Rapp celebrate on the podium at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway after finishing 3-1-2 in the inaugural AMA Pro Road Racing Vance & Hines XR1200 Series presented by Harley-Davidson Insurance race this afternoon in Speedway, IN.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.

While O'Hara and Fillmore traded the lead over and over again -- O'Hara drafting by Fillmore on the Brickyard's long front straight, Fillmore answering back in the corners immediately after -- Rapp and McWilliams both signaled their intention to be podium contenders, with DiSalvo ramping up his own times as the laps clicked off. After sinking momentarily back to fifth, Rapp surged up to third and immediately engaged fellow 2011 XR1200 Championship contender Fillmore. McWilliams, however, wasn't inclined to sit back and watch -- he joined the slicing-and-dicing of Fillmore and Rapp and the trio headed into a corner three-wide.

Contact looked inevitable, and it was. "I saw McWilliams trying to come down on me," said Rapp, "and there wasn't enough room. I knew Fillmore was on the outside of him, and I figured there definitely wasn't enough room for him. I touched Jeremy slightly, and after that, I don't know what happened."

McWilliams, having split Rapp and Fillmore, tangled with the latter, Fillmore getting the worst of it and going down. Though he tried to rejoin the race, Fillmore's damage machined forced him to retire, resulting in serious damage to the Michigan native's championship hopes. McWilliams himself was down moments later, though he was ultimately able to reenter the race and finish tenth.

Tyler O'Hara #29 leads Chris Fillmore #55 and Jeremy McWilliams #99 during the XR1200 Series race one at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Up front, meanwhile, Rapp had gotten by O'Hara and looked prime to take the win, but Tyler absolutely refused to be denied. Instead, the cagey former AMA Pro SuperSport Top Gun champ was able to draft by Rapp at the line to take the historic victory by a margin of just .048 of a second.

DiSalvo, who'd put himself in perfect position to take advantage of the last-lap incidents, took third. "I saw [the contact and resulting crash] coming but I didn't think it was going to be there; I figured it would be off the back straight. I thought guys were going to get a little bit wild, and when it happened, it definitely opened the door for me. I'd been kind of swinging wide there in Turn 2 all race long, and on the lap it happened, I was in the right place at the right time and was able to take advantage of it, for sure."

Drag Specialties' Michael Barnes earned fourth after a solid race, followed across the line by 2011 Canadian Harley-Davidson XR1200 Cup Champion Steve Crevier. Local rider Gene Burcham made his dream of racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway come true today with a nineteenth-place finish, followed by the first female rider both to compete in the Vance & Hines XR1200 class and to race at the Brickyard, Shelina Moreda.

Tyler O'Hara jogs down the pitlane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the checkered flag in hand, after winning his breakout race in the first-ever AMA Pro Road Racing Vance & Hines XR1200 Series presented by Harley-Davidson Insurance race at the legendary Brickyard.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Today's race results have blown the championship points-race wide open, as Fillmore -- who earned only a single point, for pole position -- has seen his prior thirty-point advantage over Rapp dwindle to just six. Race 2, which goes green at 3:30 p.m. ET tomorrow, will provide one of only three opportunities remaining for Fillmore to strike back.

Full coverage of the Indianapolis AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 presented by Harley-Davidson Insurance double-header airs Sunday, August 28, at 6 p.m. ET on SPEED. To see tomorrow's race in person, find Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets and information at

For Live Timing & Scoring, detailed results from today's racing, and additional information about AMA Pro Racing, visit To be a part of the AMA Pro Road Racing Championship, join us on and

AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at
For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,

Thanks to AMA Pro Road Racing for these links to the results of race one of the AMA Pro Road Racing Vance & Hines XR1200 Series presented by Harley-Davidson Insurance event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon.

Race one results (standard version):

Complete event results (PDF versions):

And a big thanks to Paul Carruthers, Editor of Cycle's Digital edition, for chiming in with the story of the great race this afternoon at IMS that saw Tyler O'Hara win his breakout race in the XR1200 Series:

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