The Vance & Hines XR1200 Series made its debut this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, Florida and was filled with as much anticipation as uncertainty. With the success of the inaugural rounds last year the field has grown to a healthy 21 riders so far.
Many of the new riders competing were just that, new riders! Half of the field had never even ridden an XR1200 before. To make things even more difficult the limited amount of track time for the XR’s was cut even shorter when rain canceled out the first session. With only two half-hour qualifying sessions before the actual race, riders were going to have to make the most of every minute. Once riders got on the track many things were realized. Riders and teams were scrambling trying to find the right set up. Unfortunately a few riders found out the hard way that their set-up was off by hitting the deck and causing even more work for themselves. Luckily most of the riders were able to piece things back together for the start of the race.
With series champion Danny Eslick focusing all his efforts on the Daytona SportBike class the door is left wide open for a new champion. Once the green flag dropped the 18 XR1200 Riders thundered into the first turn like only a pack of Harley Davidson V-Twins could! After the first lap numerous micro battles quickly formed.
The most intense race action was the lead group of Kyle Wyman, Chris Fillmore, Joe Kopp and Steve Rapp who battled for the top spot the entire 7 lap final. At the checkered flag it was RMR Bruce Rossmeyer’s Kyle Wyman taking the checkered flag by a scant .016 seconds in front of RMR teammate Chris Fillmore and only .089 Seconds in front of Dirt Track star Joe Kopp of the Latus Motors Racing team. 2007 Daytona winner and fastest qualifier Steve Rapp riding for Parts Unlimited looked like he was the man to beat, but when it came down to the finish line he came up just .136 seconds short.
All in all Daytona was a great experience and the riders and teams all learned a lot about the XR1200. It will be very interesting to see how things shake down at the next event at Infineon Raceway May 13-15. Stay tuned for race coverage and for the latest up-to-the minute updates follow our XR1200 racing twitter feed. www.twitter.com/xr1200racing
Check out our huge gallery of photos from qualifying and the race.[nggallery id=18]