Race Report: Vance & Hines XR1200, Race 1
NEWS March 11, 2011
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (March 11, 2011) - The first AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 event to take to Daytona asphalt manifested as a draft-laden, four-rider battle for the lead that featured an unrelenting string of monster sling-shot passes between RMR Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing’s Kyle Wyman and Chris Fillmore, Latus Motors Racing’s Joe Kopp, and Parts Unlimited-supported rider Steve Rapp, the top four ultimately finishing in that order. The top three were separated by a .105 second spread, with Rapp just another tenth behind.
David Estok (Black Hills Harley-Davidson) was an earlier frontrunner, but had slipped back to seventh by the end of the race. Conversely, Kopp—who had started the race in seventh—gradually picked his way up to fourth, then announced his intentions by sliding inside Fillmore (whose bike wobbled wildly throughout the entire race) to temporarily take away third.
Behind the front back was a closely packed group of six that included well-known riders Travis Wyman (Harv’s Harley-Davidson), Scott Russell (HOG Racing), and Michael Barnes (Drag Specialities), and as the frontrunners diced for the lead, running three- and even four-wide at times, the runner-up group waged its own battles. At the finish line, fourth- through sixth-place riders Travis Wyman, Chase McFarland (Latus Motors Racing), and Estock were separated by only .138.
Kopp, 3rd: “It’s been a tough weekend. Most of you know I’ve been doing dirt track and road racing—probably bit off more than I can chew—and I don’t have much road race form at all, so I’m super-excited [about finishing third]. Yesterday I hit the asphalt pretty hard and it kind of put a wall on me; it kind of affected my performance in flat track and I was a little spooked, but once the green light went today, I was ready to go.
“I feel like I had a good shot to win that race. I lead it going into the first banking on the last lap and they went by me so damned fast I couldn’t catch their draft. Coming out the chicane, I put the hammer down and went for it, and all of a sudden all three of them dropped down the yellow line. They were wobbling and weaving and I kind of panicked. But I still ended up getting by Rapp at the end there, so I was really excited about that. In another hour I’ll go over to dirt track and put on my shoe… I had a sip of champagne and probably shouldn’t have.”
Fillmore, 2nd: “I just tried to keep it as under control as possible. We literally thrashed all week trying to get going here…. Kyle’s dad and our mechanics worked pretty much 20-hour shifts. Like Kyle said, the bikes showed up 20 minutes or so before qualifying/practice, so to finish second and keep it under control, I feel pretty good. I just had to pay it smart, and I’m sure I scared these guys off a little bit, but second is good—I’m happy.
“Once time when I was leading I had these guys just blow past me and leave me in the dust, so when I was sitting in fourth at the end I knew I had an opportunity to do the same thing to them. It was almost like bumper-karts there for a second, and I just missed out on getting Kyle, but it was good.”
Kyle Wyman, 1st: “It’s amazing. Last time I was here I ended up going to the hospital, so it’s always been kind of weird coming back here, but I was able to put it out of my mind and go out there. More important I was able to put out all the adversity of this week, because we were just down to the wire, like Chris said. It’s amazing to be first and go 1-2 for the team after all we’ve been through.
“It’s a lot of fun, it was just 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, so it’s a little different than I pictured it, but it was awesome.”