DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 11, 2013) – There are only two more races remaining for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series contenders to claim a spot as one of the ten qualifiers for the $60,000 XR Showdown.
That makes this weekend’s GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing event — the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course — especially vital for a number of title hopefuls who are attempting to fight their way in for a shot at the prize.
The big names at the top of the order after three races are sitting relatively pretty. Steve Rapp (No. 5 Suburban Harley-Davison) has been the story at the previous two rounds as the versatile one-time DAYTONA 200 winner comes into Ohio following consecutive runaway victories.
Rapp’s heroics have allowed him to surge to within a single marker of the title lead despite earning zero points at the season opener. Reigning class champion Michael Barnes (No. 1 Spyke’s Harley-Davidson) currently retains that slim advantage thanks to his consistently strong performances this season; while Barnes is still seeking his first victory since brandishing the #1 plate on the front of his XR1000, the resilient pilot has been picking up steam as the season’s progressed. He has decades of Mid-Ohio experience, which he put to good use to win pole at the venue last season, and will be seeking to snap Rapp’s recent run of dominance this weekend.
Tyler O’Hara (No. 29 Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade), who led the most laps en route to winning at Mid-Ohio one year ago, is expected to be in the mix once again. O’Hara is currently ranked third, seven points down on rival Barnes, and thus well positioned to make a push over the season’s final four races after the points of the top ten riders are leveled at 1000.
Rapp’s teammate, Ben Carlson (No. 45 Suburban Harley-Davison), and up-and-comer Travis Wyman (No. 24 Harv’s Harley-Davidson) have also proven to be regulars in the top five and week-to-week threats to take pole positions and podium placings.
Barnes, Rapp, O’Hara, Carlson, and Wyman have firmly established themselves as the leading five riders in this year’s AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series field and will likely be dicing for top honors once again this weekend. However, with the XR Showdown looming, attention will shift in part to those attempting to either hold onto or steal away one of the spots in the championship’s bottom half of the top ten.
Only nine points separate seventh from 17th, and riders ranked even lower still have a realistic shot at earning their way in with two outstanding efforts.
Barrett Long (No. 2 Longevity Racing), Shane Narbonne (No. 46 Mob Racing), Ricky Parker (No. 96 ChiliPepper Racing) and Nicholas Hansen (No. 97 H&S Distributors) are just a few of the talented racers looking to secure a spot in the XR Showdown and then make waves over the season’s decisive final four races.61