Milwaukee – Kyle Wyman broke free from an exciting four-rider drafting pack to make a dramatic last lap pass to earn his first professional road racing win on his Harley-Davidson XR1200 motorcycle in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series season opener at Daytona International Speedway March 11.
Riding for RMR/Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing, the 21-year-old racer from Macedon, NY, nipped teammate Chris Fillmore at the finish line by a mere 0.016 second, and ahead of third place finisher Joe Kopp (Latus Motors Racing) and polesitter Steve Rapp (Parts Unlimited). The top four riders were separated by only 0.136 second at the end of the race.
The four-rider pack broke from the rest of the 18-rider field almost immediately from the start of the 7-lap, 25-mile race, with several other multi-rider battles forming up throughout the field at the draft-heavy high banking of Daytona International Speedway’s 3.5-mile long course.
“Steve drafted me up the inside coming off NASCAR four and dropped all the way down to the yellow line. I tried to get down there and get a little bit of a side draft. My front wheel was still ahead of his rear wheel so there was no way I could get fully behind him, but I got just enough side draft to get a little past him for the win,” said Wyman. “It was such a good race. I thought if I was going to be on the podium anywhere with Joe Kopp it would be at the Springfield Mile, but here we are the Speedway. A little different than I pictured it, but it’s awesome.”
Wyman’s RMR/Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing teammate Chris Fillmore described coming up just short in the late-race drafting battle: “I passed Joe going into the chicane and stayed behind Kyle and Steve. I had a really good run on them and I had to almost check up sitting behind them. I thought I was going to blow out of the draft too early and get passed by everyone. It was kind of like bumper karts there for a second. I just missed out on getting Kyle. It was close, but not quite close enough.”
Veteran dirt tracker Kopp, who retired from full time competition in the AMA Pro Racing Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship this year to make a late-career switch to road racing, made an impressive debut in his first professional road race. Kopp led the four rider battle at the start of the race’s final lap heading into the infield section of the course before being passed on the banking prior to the back straight chicane.
“It was a drafting war. I’m pretty experienced at the drafting part, so I felt pretty comfortable in there and I feel like I really had a good shot to win that race,” Kopp said. “I think I was hitting in the best spot right there when I caught up to their draft, then all of a sudden they all three went down to the yellow line, and I just had to go around the outside. I still ended up getting by Rapp there at the end, so I’m really excited about that.”
Wyman’s younger brother, Travis Wyman (Harv’s Harley-Davidson) finished fifth, at the head of a trio of riders including Chase McFarland (Latus Motors Racing) and Dave Estok (Black Hills Harley-Davidson) covered by a 0.139 second gap. Five-time Daytona 200 Winner Scott Russell (HOG Racing) finished 13th.
1. Kyle Wyman, 7 laps
2. Chris Fillmore, -0.016 second
3. Joe Kopp, -0.088 second
4. Steve Rapp, -0.136 second
5. Travis Wyman, -8.118 seconds
6. Chase McFarland, -8.198 seconds
7. Dave Estok, -8.257 seconds
8. Michael Beck, -14.499 seconds
9. Michael Corbino, -25.462 seconds
10. Brett Sassaman, -25.552 seconds
11. Paul Schwemmer, -26.376 seconds
12. Paul James, -26.457 seconds
13. Scott Russell, -30.625 seconds
14. Matthew Heidel, -58.107 seconds
15. Michael Morgan, -73.556 seconds
16. Michael Barnes, -2 laps, DNF, retired
17. Tyler O’Hara, -4 laps, DNF
18. Charlie Long, -7 laps, DNF, crash
19. Gerry Signorelli, DNS
The next round of the Vance & Hines XR1200 series will be May 12-13 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit harley-davidson.com.