DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 11, 2012) - Michael Barnes was forced to wait nearly seven years to claim his second AMA Pro Road Racing victory after claiming his first early on in his career. However, that was nothing compared to the wait to get a third.
The Bartel's Harley-Davidson ace pulled off an improbable last-gasp victory in Sunday's AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series final to collect his first AMA Pro win in more than 15 years. Just like at the previous round at Road Atlanta, Barnes battled Bartel's Harley-Davidson teammate Tyler O'Hara for the win. And like at Road Atlanta, O'Hara proved incredibly strong on the brakes.
Tyler O'Hara #29 leads Michael Barnes #34 and Kyle Wyman #33 during the running of the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, May 6. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
However, this time around O'Hara left a small opening for 'Barney' exiting the final corner, and the experienced Barnes took full advantage to power by just as they took the checkered flag. "Tyler was really strong on the brakes again, but I figured if I could just stay there, one little mistake and I could capitalize," Barnes said. "It caught me by surprise when he missed a shift. We were out of the last corner already and I was already thinking I would have to wait for the next one. But I heard his Bartel's Harley-Davidson miss a gear and I just made myself real narrow. There was just enough space for me to get through."
"It feels pretty good. I've come close, and not just on the XR but also in 600 Supersport a few years ago. The win before '96 was '89 so they few and far between. '89 was my first year doing the nationals and '96 was a really good effort for me. But for it to come 16 years later, it shows how tough this sport is. You just don't ever want to give up. And that's how we are -- we just keep on digging, whether it's the first race or the last race, the first lap or the last lap."
"Barney kept me honest the entire time and it just took one mistake," O'Hara said. "Coming out of 11 my Bartel's Harley-Davidson popped out of gear. But I'm not disappointed at all. It's one of those things and I'm really happy for Barney... Hats off to him."
KLR Group/Spike's Harley-Davidson/Vesrah Racing's Kyle Wyman picked up another distant third. Unlike at Road Atlanta, where Wyman was forced to switch to his back-up bike and race his way up through the field, he got away cleanly from his starting position on the pole. However, illness and arm pump issued hindered his efforts and he was unable to challenge the Bartel's men for the win. Wyman said, "I was there for the first few laps. It's unfortunate what happened to me because I definitely had the bike to be up front. I don't know whether it's a combination of getting this cold and taking medicine and my diet and how it's changed over the past few days, but arm pump came like a brick wall about lap 4 or 5 and I just couldn't hang onto the bike, so I decided to settle in a little bit."
Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson's Shane Narbonne narrowly defeated XP Motorsport's Michael Corbino to claim fourth.
Three races into the 2012 AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series three different men have stood atop the podium -- Wyman, O'Hara, and now Barnes.
Top 10 Finishers from Infineon Raceway:
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series Point Standings After Round 3
Year-End Award Updates
With a total of 398.34 miles and 145 laps completed so far in the 2012 AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series season, Darren James also leads the Sunoco "Go The Distance" Award.
Current Sunoco "Go The Distance" Award Standings After Round 3
AMA Pro Road Racing will next head west for Round 4 with a stop at Tooele, Utah. The BigM Weekend will take place at Miller Motorsports Park in three weeks time, May 26-28. For tickets and event information, please visit http://www.millermotorsportspark.com
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