The #34 Drag Specialties/Vance & Hines/RS Taichi/Sidi-sponsored H-D XR1200 of Michael Barnes sits on the stands inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garages during the AMA Pro Road Racing XR1200 Series test at IMS on August 19, 2011 the week before the machines of iron were set to make their debut at the 4th Annual Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP round as part of the racing undercard. Team mate and 2011 AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series runner-up Steve Rapp's #5 Parts Unlimited/Vance & Hines-backed XR1200 gets the tire warmer treatment just prior to the fourth and final practice session at the century old facility.
In the second (and first full) season schedule of the XR1200 class, both Barnes and Rapp had great seasons in the growing series, with Barnes 6th in the series after the season-ending ninth race of the year at New Jersey. Rapp, along with his runner-up in the championship to winner Chris Fillmore, also carded two 2nd-place finishes over the course of the Indy weekend, the series' penultimate rounds, while Barnes carded two 4th-places at the Brickyard.
At the 2012 season kick-off in Daytona, 20 riders qualified for the opening round, with 18 finishing the 7-lap race. Kyle Wyman took the win, with 2011 Indy winner Tyler O'Hara in second, Barnes 3rd, with David Estok and Darren James rounding out the top-5. 2011 XR1200 Champ Chris Fillmore is now riding the HMC/KTM full-time in the AMA Superbike Championship and Rapp rode an Attack Performance-backed Kawasaki ZX-10R in the season-opener as well, and is hoping for more sponsorship to be able to stay in the premier class throughout the '12 season.
Barnes is now riding for the Bartels H-D team with a very sweet-looking orange-and-white paint scheme, and was in the running for the win right down to the checkered flag at Daytona, finishing just .412 seconds behind winner Wyman.
It was just announced that H-D and V&H are ponying up another $60K in year-end monies (on top of the already-announced $60K point fund for the 2012 AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series Championship) that will be divided up amongst the top-10 in the finishing order, based on a 5-race shoot-out format, ala NASCAR and NHRA's 'chase for the championship,' which could make for some even-more exciting racing out of the 500 lb.+ spec class.
You can read the full press release below thanks to AMA Pro Road Racing.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 27, 2012) - With new teams, riders and sponsors participating in the opening round of the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series season opener at the Daytona International Speedway, the XR1200 division, now in its third season, has never looked better. And if the thrilling finish on the high banks that saw podium finishers Kyle Wyman, Tyler O'Hara and Michael Barnes cross the line separated by less than half a second is any indicator of what's in store, it's going to be an exciting season.
But there is another twist to the 2012 Vance & Hines XR1200 Series season that is sure to make it like none seen before, and that is the introduction of the XR Showdown, a special $60,000 year-end points fund award to be battled for by the top 10 competitors in the final five races of the season, beginning with the XR1200 doubleheader at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
The key for riders to compete for the XR Showdown will be to secure a place in the top 10 in the point standings by the conclusion of the seventh round at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. After the Mid-Ohio round, each of the top 10 riders in the point standings at that time will have their championship points reset to 1,000 points. This means that the top 10 will be starting from a level playing field to accumulate as many points as possible in the final five races to vie for the overall championship and the additional $60,000 XR Showdown prize fund. In turn, this also means that it is crucial for all competitors to accumulate as many championship points as possible in the first seven races of the season to participate in the XR Showdown.
The XR Showdown is a separate and supplemental $60,000 prize money fund in addition to the $10,000 purse awarded at each of the 12 races in the 2012 XR1200 season. All XR1200 competitors are eligible to compete in all 12 races and thereby are also competing for the $10,000 purse awarded for each event.
"This is truly going to raise the stakes by motivating all riders to push for the best results from the early rounds of the season," said Terry Vance of the XR Showdown. "With the combined $120,000 race purse and $60,000 Showdown purse funded by Harley-Davidson and Vance & Hines, we are doing more than ever to offset the costs of racing for the XR class competitors."
Keep up with all the latest on the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series by going to www.amaproracing.com, www.vanceandhines.com/xr1200 and www.harley-davidson.com.
In a month, AMA Pro Road Racing will return to Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia for Round 2 of the 2012 championship and the first of the season's three Triumph Big Kahuna events, the Big Kahuna Atlanta.
The event, scheduled for April 20-22, 2012, is the first return to Road Atlanta for the Series since the 2010 season and marks the return of M1 PowerSports to full-time event promotion at the site of the original Big Kahuna.
For event information and tickets, please visit http://www.m1powersports.com/big-kahuna-atlanta/.
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 www.amaproracing.com.
For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014, email@example.com