Steve Rapp wins Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 7, 2013) – Suburban Harley-Davidson’s Steve Rapp defied the odds when the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series returned to Road America — its birthplace and spiritual home track — for the second round of the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing season.
On Saturday as his rival class contenders were staking their provisional grid positions for what was expected to be yet another H-D class barnburner (the largest margin of victory the class had ever seen in Wisconsin was just 0.157 seconds), Steve Rapp was hard at work. Not throwing down quick laps around the four-mile circuit, but instead putting in time inside a commercial airplane simulator a thousand miles southwest of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, training for his new job as a pilot.
The veteran racer didn’t make it to the track until Sunday, where he earned a front-row grid position despite cold and slow conditions. He then proceeded to decimate the competition in the afternoon’s six-lap race. Rapp claimed the victory in one-sided fashion, leading every lap and taking the checkered flag more than four seconds ahead of a heated battle for second.
While Rapp is a known quantity and widely respected talent — he’s taken AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike and GoPro Daytona SportBike podiums in recent seasons and boasts a DAYTONA 200 victory on his resume — he still amazed with his one-day dominance.
“I love this place — I do,” Rapp said. “Every time I come here I look forward to coming here… I’m just happy to be here…It was really just a great, great day for me.”
Explaining his Saturday absence, Rapp said, “I have a new flying job and I was actually training in Dallas. I don’t even think they know I left. Today is my day off and I’ve got to get back there tonight to go back to work tomorrow.
“It’s just a rare circumstance. Everything has to be working and I was mentally prepared to come here. I was bummed after Daytona where I didn’t even finish the first lap. When you get behind, it puts you under pressure and sometimes you perform well under pressure and sometimes you don’t. Today I felt like I did okay.”
The race was not only a special round for Harley-Davidson in general, it was also a hugely important event for the Suburban Harley-Davidson squad.
After a rough opener at Daytona where Rapp DNF’d and teammate Ben Carlson was DQ’d, the team was motivated to successfully defend its home turf in Wisconsin. The squad did so with aplomb.
Based out of Thiensville, Wisconsin, and with Carlson hailing from nearby West Bend (both located between Milwaukee and Road America), the Suburban Harley-Davidson claimed a triumphant 1-2 result when Carlson set up reigning champion Michael Barnes on the final lap and edged him to the stripe by an impossibly small 0.001-second margin.
Harv’s Harley-Davidson’s Travis Wyman was also very much in the mix, finishing just a further 0.064 seconds back in fourth. Daytona winner Tyler O’Hara (Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade/Bartels) was a major player in that slugfest as well, crossing the line in second to start lap 5 of 6, until he was the victim of a mechanical DNF just moments later.
“It was tough,” Calrson said. “I knew Barney and O’Hara were somewhere in back of me… I didn’t expect Wyman…That last lap I was behind (Barnes) and I thought if I could stay with him through 12-13-14, I’d be okay. I had to give him three or four bike lengths so I could get a run on him and that was the only way I could get a run on him. That was the plan of attack.
“As a local team, we couldn’t have a better result than 1-2.”
The third-place finish of Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson Barnes was also a return to form of sorts, following his sixth-place run at Daytona in his first race with the #1 plate. As a result of the big shift of fortunes throughout the field from Round 1 to Round 2, ‘Barney’ now controls the points lead.
The experience Barnes said, “My hats off to Steve. First I thought he was coming and then I didn’t see him in the morning (Saturday) and thought, ‘he sometimes misses the first practice.’ And then qualifying came around and I was like, ‘well, maybe he’s not coming… but he’s still entered and there’s still second qualifying. He could still show up and go fast in the morning and then be there for the race.’ And here he is.
“It’s not easy to do. He’s got a great team behind him and he and Benny both rode a great race. Benny just barely beat me out. The points lead is a little consolation for me.”
Despite their mixed starts to the 2013 season Barnes, Rapp, Carlson, Wyman, and O’Hara are all solidly positioned inside the championship top ten. That’s an important fact considering the recent announcement of the return of the XR Showdown in which the season’s top ten following Round 5 at Miller Motorsports Park will enter a four-race shootout for the season’s crown and the $60,000 bonus prize that comes along with it.
ChiliPepperRacing.com’s Ricky Parker came out on top of four-way fight for fifth position at Road America. The struggle also included Happy Trails M/C Connection’s Hayden Schultz (a last-lap mishap dropped him to 15th), Deeley Racing’s Darren James (sixth) and Longevity Racing’s Barrett Long (seventh).
The AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series will resume in two weeks’ time as the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season heads to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. on June 21-23 for the Triumph SuperBike Classic presented by America’s First Federal Credit Union.
CBS Sports Network Broadcasts and AMA Pro Live
This season GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network as part of the CBS Sports Spectacular. Fans can find CBS Sports Network on their TV by using the channel finder at http://www.cbssportsnetwork.com/.
In addition to the live broadcasts on CBS Sports Network, AMA Pro Live will be live streaming multiple channels of behind-the-scenes video alongside Live Timing & Scoring. AMA Pro Live puts fans in the director’s chair, allowing them to choose from a variety of viewpoints including track cameras, paddock cameras and a press conference channel. at http://www.amaprolive.com.
All season long, stay connected with GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing on social media at http://twitter.com/AMAProSBK
About GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing:
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing is the premier motorcycle road racing series in North America and is universally regarded as one of the most competitive road racing organizations in the world. The 2012 schedule consists of 12 rounds of competition on the country’s finest road courses. The Series is comprised of four production-based classes: AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.
About AMA Pro Racing:
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.