Sonoma, CA (May 6, 2012) - Veteran racer Michael Barnes, one of the longest tenured riders in the AMA Pro Road Racing paddock, earned an emotional and hard-fought victory in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series race at Infineon Raceway Sunday to break a 16-year victory drought.
Barnes doggedly pursued his Bartels' Harley-Davidson/Scrubblade teammate Tyler O'Hara for ten of the race's eleven laps, never trailing by more than a half-second at the start/finish line, but just as it appeared that O'Hara would deny Barnes victory for the second race in a row, a missed shift by O'Hara exiting the final turn gave Barnes the narrow gap he needed to slip by for the victory.
"Tyler's so strong on the brakes. I could a get good drive and a good run on him out of a lot of different areas on the track but he was just that little bit stronger on the brakes," Barnes said. "It caught me by surprise when he missed a shift because it was out of the last corner already. I just tucked in and made myself real narrow because he was close to the airfence, and I think he gave me a little bit of space there. There was just enough of a narrow opening for me to get through."
Although he has earned numerous podiums and victories in other series, the win was the 43-year-old's first AMA Pro victory since a 750 Supersport race at Las Vegas in 1996.
"Barney really earned it. He kept me honest the whole time. It just took one mistake. Coming out of [turn] eleven, my [transmission] popped out of gear," O'Hara said. "I'm not disappointed at all, it's just one of those things, and I'm actually really happy for Barney."
Polesitter Kyle Wyman finished third, citing an arm pump issue that forced him to settle into a slower pace that allowed Barnes and O'Hara to escape at the front. Further back, Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson's Shane Narbonne came out of top of a back-and-forth fight for fourth place against Michael Corbino (XP Motorsports/Rossiter's Harley-Davidson), and Josh Chisum nipped Travis Wyman for sixth. Gerry Signorelli, David Estok, and Darren James rounded out the top ten finishers.
1. Michael Barnes (Bartels' H-D/Scrubblade), 11 laps
2. Tyler O'Hara (Bartels' H-D/Scrubblade), +0.149 second
3. Kyle Wyman (KLR Group/Vesrah), +10.238 seconds
4. Shane Narbonne (Suburban Motors H-D), + 20.564 seconds
5. Michael Corbino (XP Motorsports/Rossiter's H-D), +20.775 seconds
6. Josh Chisum (Bartels' H-D/Scrubblade), +26.382 seconds
7. Travis Wyman (Harv's H-D), +26.438 seconds
8. Gerry Signorelli (Kuryakyn), +28.201 seconds
9. David Estok (Trev Deeley Motorcycles), +28.620 seconds
10. Darren James (Ruthless Racing/Deeley), +38.967 seconds
11. Michael R. Hannas II (Lilly Mae's Cinnamon Rolls), +1:03.474
12. Pete Demas (Route One Racing), +1:03.971
13. Joe Rozynski (Kyle Wyman Racing), +1:16.432
14. Nicholas Hansen (Suburban Motors H-D), +1:22.097
15. Brice Cooper (Woodstock H-D), +1:22.232
16. Jeremiah Johnson (BE-EV.com/New Roc H-D), +1:22.394
17. Paul James (Hoban Cycle/Woodstock H-D), +1:28.272
XR1200 Championship Points
1. O'Hara, 83
2. Barnes, 77
3. K. Wyman, 74
4. T. Wyman, 47
5. Corbino, 43
6. Estok, 41
7. Signorelli, 38
8. D. James, 37
9. Chisum, 36
10. Narbonne, 33
The next round of the Vance & Hines XR1200 series is May 26-27 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT.
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.