Racing tension continues to mount in the fledgling AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series, as points leader Chris Fillmore managed to maintain his recent domination of the class in Sunday action at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Fillmore, who picked up his third victory in today’s contest, extended his lead in the title chase to 30 points over second-place Steve Rapp (Parts Unlimited).
Fillmore collected max points at the event, also taking pole position and leading the most laps on his Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing GEICO Powersports XR1200. In the early stages of the race, it looked as if Fillmore and Rapp would battle every inch of the way to the checkered flag – until Fillmore took over the lead and refused to be headed.
“I took a look back and didn’t see anyone there,” said Fillmore, “and I expected him (Rapp) to be there, so I took a couple more glances then put it on cruise control from there. I got a good launch, got through Turn 1 real well, and was kind of switching up my gearing through the race. I tried some different stuff, but pretty much had figured it out by the third lap.”
Behind Rapp were his teammate Michael Barnes (Drag Specialties), Daytona race winner Kyle Wyman (RMR Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing), Michael Beck (J&P Racing), and Tyler O’Hara (O’Hara Racing), the quartet of riders who waging a four-way battle for third. But then Rapp’s pace slowed and Wyman, Beck, and Barnes began a fateful assault. On a dramatic final lap, Wyman put a big move on Beck going into Turn 1, and as the three riders headed into the famous Keyhole, Rapp had a slight bobble that allowed Beck and Wyman to get by. Rapp fought back but was unsuccessful, Beck and Wyman taking second and third, respectively.
“A couple weeks ago I went over the bars of my Harley,” said Beck, “and it was a pretty brutal adventure, so to rebound like this is so great. I got a decent start and was just watching Rapp, Barney, and Fillmore out front. I kept my head down, got by Barney, and saw Rapp in the distance. I caught Steve and was holding on to him, and I noticed his tires were going off dramatically. I felt like my bike was rolling, and all three of us had a pretty big battle — it was really great. Then both of them made a mistake in the Keyhole, and I was able to take advantage of it and ended up second today.”
Added third-place finisher Wyman, who was equally pleased with his result, “I made a move on Michael going into Turn 1 — it was a tight, close one, but I got through. Then going into the Keyhole, Steve made a mistake right in front of me and I had to check up, and both guys got back past me. I just pushed as hard as I could through the second segment, which is the hardest place to pass. I knew if there was going to be a chance it would have to be coming up in Thunder Valley…. I didn’t have the greatest drive, but I tried to get a run out into the inside of the Carousel, but I got out of shape and had to check up again. Then Steve made another mistake and I was able to get a run around the outside of the last corner [and get by him] by maybe six inches or so.”
Behind fourth-place Rapp came O’Hara, taking fifth ahead of Barnes (sixth). RMR Rossmeyer Daytona Racing rider Michael Corbino finished seventh, followed by Chase McFarland (Team Latus Motors), Michael Morgan (Python Dunlop), and Gerry Signorelli (Kuryakyn Bob Fier Racing).
Watch for highlights from today’s XR1200 race during SPEED’s 12:00 a.m. EST/9 p.m. PST airing of Sunday AMA Pro action from Mid-Ohio. For complete broadcast details, visit speedtv.com/schedule.
The AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 class now takes a brief hiatus while the rest of the series travels to Monterey, California’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Round 7 on the season calendar, run as part of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix MotoGP weekend. XR1200 pilots will next take to the track August 12 – 14 at Virginia International Speedway, and will make their own MotoGP-weekend debut August 27 – 28, when they’ll serve as AMA Pro’s sole representation at the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP. For tickets to and information about the latter event, visit indianapolismotorspeedway.com or call (800) 822-INDY.