DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 20, 2013) - The leading men of the always-unpredictable AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series are preparing to do battle at scenic Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. this weekend.
Early-season form suggests that picking a winner at the Triumph SuperBike Classic presented by America’s First Federal Credit Union, the third round on the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing calendar, will not be easy. No contender has had a particularly easy go of things in the championship’s opening two contests, with mixed results being the order of the day.
Defending champion Michael Barnes (No. 1 Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson) currently heads the rankings as the H-D pilots desperately jockey for position, each eager to earn one of the ten coveted slots in the XR Showdown, the $60,000 final three-race shootout that determines the year’s champion. And even reigning class king Barnes has been forced to claw his way into that spot, having earned it through determination and consistency rather than race-winning domination with third and sixth-place results to his name in ’13.
The up-and-down nature of the first two rounds is perhaps best represented by Tyler O’Hara (No. 29 Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade). O’Hara is currently ranked second and just two points behind Barnes, despite only being credited with 17th at Road America after suffering mechanical issues while fighting for the podium late in the race.
Daytona winner O’Hara will be eager to make up for last year’s trip to Barber Motorsports Park, in which he earned pole position but was narrowly beaten to the checkered flag for the race win on the final lap by rival Kyle Wyman.
While Wyman is no longer focused on the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series, brother Travis Wyman (No. 24 Harv’s Harley-Davidson) has done an admirable job upholding the family honor in the class. Travis is third in the points and showed impressive pace at both Daytona and Road America, claiming pole for the season opener and then missing out on the podium by a scant 0.064 seconds in the season’s second contest.
Suburban Harley-Davidson’s duo of Steve Rapp (No. 5 Suburban Harley-Davison) and Ben Carlson (No. 45 Suburban Harley-Davison) rebounded from their double Daytona disaster (DNF for Rapp, DQ for Carlson) in ideal fashion at their team’s home round in Wisconsin last time out.
Rapp pulled an improbable ‘one and won’ Sunday, in which he turned up at the track on race day, qualified on the front row in less-than-ideal conditions, and then stormed off to an easy victory.
Carlson, meanwhile, impressed his home fans by handing the team a 1-2 result, fending off Barnes by 0.001 seconds at the checkered flag to finish second.
One-time class winner Shane Narbonne (No. 46 Mob Racing) will look to get his season on-track at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend. Narbonne appeared to be in line for a top-five result at the circuit a year ago before crashing out of the fight for the podium late in the race.
Barrett Long (No. 2 Longevity Racing) is another rider to keep an eye on this weekend. Long currently sits seventh in the points on the strength of 13th and 7th-place runs.
With no rider having yet taken a firm grip on the class and only three races remaining to earn a place in the XR Showdown, this weekend’s results are absolutely critical. Expect the race action to reflect that reality.
AMA Pro Live will be live streaming multiple channels of behind-the-scenes video of the weekend’s activities alongside Live Timing & Scoring. AMA Pro Live puts fans in the director’s chair, allowing them to choose from a variety of viewpoints including track cameras, paddock cameras and a press conference channel. Streaming will begin with coverage of the weekend’s practice and qualifying sessions on Friday, June 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT at http://www.amaprolive.com.