INDIANAPOLIS, IN, AUG. 27 – Tyler O’Hara won the first AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 race of his career today in inarguably the biggest XR1200 race to date, the Californian coming out the best of a five-rider scrap in the XR1200 debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 24-year-old O’Hara was in the battle at the front for the duration, leading seven of the 10 laps as a five-rider war broke out at the front of the field. As expected, it all came down to the final lap with two of the top men – including championship leader Chris Fillmore – crashing out in the first handful of corners at IMS. Fillmore was the first to go as Northern Ireland’s Jeremy McWilliams tried to put his XR where there wasn’t room, bumping Fillmore off in the process.
Two corners later, however, and McWilliams was also down as he lost the front and crashed his Harley-Davidson of Bloomington XR. McWiliams was able to remount to finish 10th.
With those two down at the start of the final lap, it left the battle for victory to O’Hara, Parts Unlimited/Vance & Hines’ Steve Rapp and Latus Motors Harley-Davidson’s Jason DiSalvo and they took it to the line. Rapp knew he had to lead out of the final corner to win as only O’Hara seemed capable of a draft pass. And a draft pass is what he got as he motored around Rapp en route to the finish line, beating him by just .047 of a second. DiSalvo was a shadow third, just .058 of a second behind.
The win, though, was the self-sponsored O’Hara’s and he was happy about it though the jubilation was thwarted a bit when his XR1200 broke down on the cool-off lap.
‘I’m pretty sure I broke it so if anybody’s got a bike I can borrow, I’d appreciate it.,” O’Hara said from the podium. The XRs square off again tomorrow afternoon in the second race of their doubleheader.
With Fillmore failing to score points, the championship chase tightened up. With tomorrow’s race and the races at New Jersey Motorsports Park remaining, Fillmore leads Rapp by just six points, 168-162.
With Fillmore and McWilliams going down on the final lap, Drag Specialites/Vance & Hines’ Michael Barnes was elevated to fourth place, the veteran some 17 seconds down on the lead trio at the finish line.
Fifth went to multi-time Canadian champion Steve Crevier, the Motorsports Plus-backed rider barely besting Indianapolis South Side Harley’s Shawn Higbee in a battle of racing veterans.
RMR Bruce Rossmeyer Harley’s Michael Corbino edged Michael Beck for sixth with Beck having clawed his way back from a back-row start after hitting mechanical problems in qualifying and failing to record a time.
Canadian Darren James finished ninth with McWilliams 10th. Californian Shelina Moreda became the first woman to race a motorcycle at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today and she finished 20th – scoring a championship point in the process.
XR1200 Race One
1. Tyler O’Hara
2. Steve Rapp
3. Jason DiSalvo
4. Michael Barnes
5. Steve Crevier
6. Shawn Higbee
7. Michael Corbino
8. Michael Beck
9. Darren James
10. Jeremy McWilliams