Harley XR1200: 2011 Daytona Preview

AMA Pro Vance & Hines

Last year a new series was launched in the Kettle Moraine country of East Central Wisconsin, just up the road from Milwaukee, home of one of the most iconic manufacturers in the motorcycling universe.

Another beginning will take place during the March 10-12 Daytona 200 Week at the famous Daytona International Speedway, as the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series takes to the high banks for the first time in its short history.

The class’ first full season will kick off at Daytona with a record entry of more than twenty Harley-Davidson XR1200 riders. Led by a number of big stars from all facets of the motorcycling world, the field will roll out on Friday, March 11, at 3:15 p.m. for a 25-mile race around the 3.51-mile Long Course at Daytona International Speedway.

The series made its debut at Road America in June of last year, and the inaugural five-race series was won convincingly by Danny Eslick aboard the GEICO Powersports RMR Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing XR1200. Eslick went on to dominate the next three races and captured the first AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Championship.

This year will see a big influx of new teams and riders for the first full season of competition aboard the big Harley-Davidson machines, which feature special but limited modifications via kits from famed high-performance exhaust and product manufacturer Vance & Hines.

One of the notable entries this season will be AMA Pro Flat Track star Joe Kopp, who will ride for Team Latus Motors Racing. Kopp has five AMA Flat Track Championships to his name, including the 2000 AMA Grand National Championship—- one of three championships he won that year.

Previous Daytona 200 winner Steve Rapp (2007), who contended the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike series last year, joins the 2011 XR1200 class aboard a Parts Unlimited-sponsored machine alongside Michael Barnes, who finished second in the final XR1200 race of 2010. Barnes will pilot a Drag Specialties-supported XR1200.

Another legend making a return to Daytona this year will be "Mr. Daytona" himself, Scott Russell. Russell—- five-time Daytona 200 winner, 1993 World Superbike Champion, 1992 AMA Superbike Champion, AMA Hall of Famer, and current SPEED TV announcer—- will ride a Harley Owners Group machine that carries his plate favorite, #4.

In addition to the class’ new faces, a number of riders who participated in the inaugural XR1200 season will return this year, including Travis Wyman on the Harv’s XR1200 entry.

Travis finished second in last year’s points race with best finishes of second at Virginia International Raceway and a third at New Jersey Motorsports Park; his brother Kyle will also be contending the Daytona race as a RMR Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing rider alongside teammate Chris Fillmore. Among other returnees will be last year’s fourth-place finisher, Paul James, who will pilot a Hoban Brothers Racing XR1200.

Likewise important to watch will be class newcomers Tyler O’Hara—- the 2010 AMA Pro SuperSport Top Gun Champion—- and Michael Beck, sponsored by GPBikeParts.com and J&P Cycles, respectively.

Joining the AMA Pro road race lineup at the famed Daytona International Speedway will be a host of other activities and events including demo rides, offerings in the Daytona Motorcycle Marketplace, live entertainment, games, contests, and more.

AMA Pro Fan Walk sessions will also take place on two occasions during the race weekend, during which fans will be able to circulate on pit lane to visit with AMA Pro riders and teams from every class.

For tickets and additional event information, visit daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP. For information related to AMA Pro Road Racing, please visit amaproracing.com.

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