Milwaukee (May 31, 2011) - Veteran racer Steve Rapp charged from a fourth place start to take his first win in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series with victory at Miller Motorsports Park May 31 aboard his Parts Unlimited Harley-Davidson XR1200 motorcycle.
Following challenging conditions throughout the weekend that threw rain and temperatures in the 30s and 40s and even a brief hailstorm on the starting grid at the racers, Monday's 8-lap race went off on a mostly dry race track with scattered rain drops. Polesitter Michael Barnes (Drag Specialties) took the early race lead, but Rapp and Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Racing's Chris Fillmore each took turns at the front on Lap 2.
After dropping to eighth on the opening lap from his seventh place start, 2010 XR1200 Series champion Danny Eslick rallied back up to the lead pack, picking off multiple riders in each of the opening four laps until he reached the second position just a half-second behind leader Rapp. But strong pressure from Fillmore on the Oklahoman allowed Rapp to build a gap at the front as the Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Racing teammates battled throughout the last third of the race. Eslick and Fillmore ran side by side across the start-finish line to begin the final lap, with Fillmore taking the initial lead into turn 1. The pair traded positions on the final lap until Eslick cut underneath Fillmore a few turns from the end and held on to the advantage.
At the checkered flag it was Rapp with the win, Eslick in second 0.974 second back, with Fillmore just 0.081 behind Eslick in third, to take his third podium of the season. Barnes, Michael Beck (J&P; Cycles), and Tyler O'Hara (GPBikeParts.com) completed the top six in the running order with a spirited battle for fourth.
"I don't know what was going on behind me, but it was an exciting race for me," Rapp said. "I looked back a couple of laps from the end just to see what was going on. It doesn't take much to get passed on one of these, so I was kind of worried."
"It was a lot of fun to get back on the Harley," said Eslick, who sat out the first two races of the season to focus on his Daytona SportBike effort. "[Fillmore's] put the whupping on me in supermoto so I had to show him how road racing is done. I knew he couldn't get by me before the line unless I really messed it up in the last corner. On these things you get a lot of drafting but it's done at the end of the straightaway, so I knew if I led him out of the last corner I'd get him at the line."
Memorial Day weekend also saw XR1200 racing action in two other international racing classes, with the debut of the Harley-Davidson XR1200 Class as part of the Canadian Superbike Series at Circuit ICAR won by Cody Matechuk and the first round of the XR1200 Trophy class as part of the British Superbike Championship at Thruxton won by James Webb.
The AMA Pro Racing Vance & Hines XR1200 Series returns to action after a short turnaround this weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.
Miller Race Result:
1. Steve Rapp (Parts Unlimited), 8 laps
2. Danny Eslick (RMR/Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Racing), +0.975 second
3. Chris Fillmore (RMR/Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Racing), +1.056
4. Michael Barnes (Drag Specialties), +5.389
5. Michael Beck (J&P; Cycles), +5.502
6. Tyler O'Hara (GPBikeParts.com), +5.804
7. Chase McFarland (Latus Motors Racing), +9.944
8. Kyle Wyman (RMR/Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Racing), +13.221
9. Joe Kopp (Latus Motors Racing), +19.893
10. Michael Corbino (RMR/Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Racing), +47.514
11. Josh Chisum (Troy Lee Designs), +58.502
12. Michael Morgan (Python Exhaust), 1:07.406
13. Paul James (James Gang/Hoban Brothers/H-D of Appleton), +1:07.488
14. Gerry Signorelli (Kuryakyn), +1:25.934
15. Troy Siahaan (HOG Racing), +1:31.569
16. Matthew Heidel (Shar-Tuff), +2:01.615
XR1200 Series Points Standings
1. Chris Fillmore, 78
2. Steve Rapp, 71
3. Kyle Wyman, 51
4. Joe Kopp, 45
4. Michael Beck, 45
6. Michael Barnes, 44
7. Chase McFarland, 43
8. Michael Corbino, 38
9. Tyler O'Hara, 33
10. Paul James, 26
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.