The 2012 AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series is coming down to the final round at the New Orleans Motorsports Park event on October 5-7 and leading the fray heading to the Bayou State is long-time AMA Pro Road Racing veteran Michael Barnes on the #34 KLR Group/Spyke's H-D/Vesrah/GK Motorsports-backed Milwaukee 'V' twin.
Barnes, who has raced anything and everything and just about everyWHERE on two wheels in his over-two decade career in road racing, won his second event last Sunday over title-rival Tyler O'Hara at Homestead by a slim margin of .132 seconds, and leads O'Hara by two points heading into the final race in one week's time (1090-1088), with Wisconsin's Benjamin Carlson sitting another six points back.
Barnie told me at the XR1200 Indy Test back in August (seen above talking with members of the KLR Group team while his and his team mate's Kyle Wyman's #33 machines get attended to during the lunch break) that he was really thrilled with the way this championship could play out, what with the points having been re-set for the final rounds ala NASCrash and the NHRA's shoot-out championship systems.
"The extra money that the sponsors and Geico kicked in really made this a great deal, " stated Barnes, "and makes it worth the extra effort." Barnes noted that Geico's advertising budget alone was thought to be over $500M per year, and it was nice to see them come on board to sponsor AMA Pro Road Racing. "We'd love to see more of that spent here, of course, which could really help the series and road racing overall grow, but are thankful to have what we can in the XR1200 class."
But the fact that at least some of their sponsorship dollars are making their way to any series in the States is big in itself, and will help to sustain some efforts as the economy starts to at least climb somewhat and hold more steady then what it has for the last few years.
Although a lot of riders are still having to pay their way to ride this season, at least a few more teams are starting to return and campaign efforts in some of the various AMA Pro Road Racing classes, and where we are seeing Vance & Hines and the Milwaukee iron making for some great racing in the spec-class championship.
You can say what you want about the over-500 lb. machines, they have put on a GREAT show since their inception into the ranks of the AMA Pro Road Racing calendar as a part-time effort in 2010 and in their third season have grown in popularity and in average entrants at each event. And the two doubleheader rounds at Indy in 2011 and 2012 proved to be crowd favorites in terms of close and exciting racing as the undercard on the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP weekends.
So a big thanks goes out to Geico and the other sponsors in AMA Pro Road Racing for kicking up the ante and we sincerely appreciate what they have brought to the table, and we wish Barnie the best of luck next weekend in trying to wrap-up the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series Championship next weekend in New Orleans. We'll be rooting for you man!
You can read the full press releas below of the review of the Homestead-Miami round thanks to Geico Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 28, 2012) -- The AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series delivered yet another barnburner -- or perhaps better put, 'Barney burner' -- at Homestead-Miami Speedway as hometown ace Michael Barnes emerged victorious at the conclusion of a race-long multi-rider brawl. The weekend was pivotal in terms of the developing XR Showdown for a couple of reasons.
The thrilling victory of KLR Group/Spyke's H-D/Vesrah Racing's Barnes over Bartel's Harley-Davidson's Tyler O'Hara has elevated the Boca Rotan resident to a scant two-point advantage lead in the Showdown over Californian O'Hara with just the New Orleans finale to decide the championship.
Secondly, it marked the end of the title bid of season-long standout Kyle Wyman. Barnes' teammate, Wyman, suffered a second concussion in the last couple of weeks, the first coming with his huge crash on the final lap at New Jersey Motorsports Park, and the most recent during a Friday session.
Wyman will sit out the season finale as a result. The unfortunate turn marks a huge turnaround from the doubleheader XR Showdown opener at Indianapolis, where Wyman grabbed a big lead early with his 1-2 weekend as Barnes and O'Hara struggled by comparison.
Besides Barnes' awesome effort to put out the last-lap win over polesitter and laps leader O'Hara, Wyman's brother, Travis, stepped up his game to put himself in the mix in Kyle's absence.
Michael Barnes #34 leads Jake Holden #59 and Tyler O'Hara #29 in route to winning his second race of the season in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series at Homestead-Miami last Sunday and in the process took sole possession of the overall points standings heading into the final race of the season in New Orleans on October 5-7. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
The Harv's Harley-Davidson entry led at one point and ultimately finished a close third to collect his first podium result of the season. "It's been a real emotional rollercoaster weekend with Kyle getting hurt yesterday," Barnes said. "It affected the whole team but it made us dig that much deeper, and I know Travis was digging deeper for his brother out there too. He was riding hard. It was hard to out-brake him, but I needed to get by Travis in order to get by Tyler. I dug deep for that one."
Suburban Harley-Davidson's Benny Carlson finished with the lead group fourth and remains very much alive in the Showdown hunt. He entered the Triumph Big Kahuna Miami presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince leading the points and leaves displaced to third, albeit just eight points removed from the lead.
With no other rider within 25 points of the XR Showdown lead, it looks like New Orleans will be a three-rider affair for the title -- although if the season leading up to the finale is any indication, the race for the win could be waged by several others as well.
Sunoco "Go the Distance" Award Update:
1. Josh Chisum - 1278.64 mi.
2. David Estock - 1248.98 mi.
3. Michael Corbino - 1200.04 mi.
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing will finish the 2012 season at NOLA Motorsports Park with the Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince, scheduled to take place October 5-7. For tickets and event information, please visit www.m1powersports.com.
Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans October 5-7
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