AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Racing Series top three at Daytona International Speedway, from left to right: Joe Kopp, Latus Motors Racing (Third), Kyle Wyman, RMR Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing (First), and Chris Fillmore, RMR Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing (Second).
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Racing Series top three at Daytona International Speedway, fr
Competing again for 2011 is the Harley Owners Group (HOG) team, which was put in place to help draw awareness to the XR1200 class by hosting guest riders, like last year’s season finale rider, Jeremy McWilliams, the European racing superstar, who took the checkered flag at Barber Motorsports Park. Crew Chief and Mechanic for the HOG Team Matt King, who is also product communications manager for Harley-Davidson, is amped for the rest of the 2011 season and feels it’s only going to get bigger. “Road racing promoters want to attract Harley riders because they’re obviously a big part of the road racing community and maybe they’re not historically road racing fans but they’re seen as a growth opportunity for promoters,” King states. Considering that Harleys make up the majority of motorcycles on the road, it makes sense for a Harley racing class like this to exist.
King also thinks it’s great for the dealers and for racers that can’t afford to spend a lot of dough. “It’s a fairly grass roots deal for a lot of these guys. They’re able to be part of the AMA pro racing weekend. It’s a great opportunity for a lot of these guys to get their foot in the door of that level of racing. Which is why it was a great idea from Vance & Hines and AMA to put this class out there so it’s more affordable for entry level of racing, more attainable, and a great opportunity for a lot of dealers,” King says.
Eslick shares the same feeling. “It’s relatively cheap to get into it. You’re not burning up tires like we do in the sportbike class, where we’re going through several sets of tires. Last year I was doing it on one set of tires a weekend. We used our race tires from the weekend before to practice on and to qualify, then put a new set on to race,” Eslick recalls.
Eslick races in both classes for Richie Morris Racing. Richie Morris, who’s involved in multiple motorcycle racing classes, is pretty excited since he used to race the 883s back in the ’90s US Twins days. “If we can get the Harley riders interested in our sport it will bring a different demographic to the racetrack. Plus it’s great racing! You’ve got equally prepared motorcycles, which leaves it up to the rider, and I think Daytona was a pretty good example,” Morris states. Daytona top four finishers were within one second of each other. “It makes for some fantastic finishes,” he says.
Morris, along with the Rossmeyers, are currently sponsoring three racers in the Series: Kyle Wyman, who took First at Daytona, Chris Fillmore, who took Second at Daytona, and Micahel Corbino, who looks promising for the rest of the year.
Richie Morris says the Series should be a hit if local dealers start to get involved. “I think that if we can continue to get bikes to the grid more and more people will get involved; the key is getting the local dealerships involved. I’m trying to work on a corporate sponsor where I can afford the local dealerships to be involved within a 300-400–mile radius of their dealership. We’re working on a lot of different plans and we’ll just have to see how everything unfolds,” Morris says.
The AMA is also psyched for the return of Harley road racing, which hasn’t been present since the short stint of the AMA Harley-Davidson 883 class. Dave McGrath, director of road racing for AMA Pro Racing, says the AMA is looking forward to what the new class will bring. “We’re very encouraged from following the half season from last year. From the entries at Daytona [this year] and the noise that’s been made for the guys going west to Miller to finish up this season has been very encouraging. The Vance & Hines folks have told us that people are buying the kits, and the teams that were potentially on the fence last year seemed to have made the investments that they can and are really making the efforts to join them, so that’s very encouraging,” McGrath states.
Look for the up-to-date race results on hotbikeweb.com, or visit vanceandhines.com/xr1200series for a complete list of AMA rules, up-to-the second results, and more news regarding the series in general. HB