2012 AMA Pro Vance & Hines AMA XR1200 Series
KLR Group rider Kyle Wyman captured his fourth victory of the season and first of the 2012 XR1200 Showdown Saturday after a wild, crash-filled race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“This was one crazy race,” Wyman said. “I’ve experienced every emotion a person could have in the last few hours. Usually, when goofy stuff happens it never seems to fall my way, but today it did and I couldn’t be happier. The timing is perfect.”
Running in conjunction with the Red Bull Moto GP, the AMA Pro Vance & Hines riders closed the day’s action with it’s first of two races slated for the weekend. As has been the case all year, the 10-lap tilt got off to a competitive start and soon settled into a back-and-forth battle for the lead between polesitter Patrick Jacobsen and Tyler O’Hara, with Wyman following in third place.
But at the end of Lap 4, things began to change. First, O’Hara crashed in Turn 16, allowing Wyman to move up to second place. Half a circuit later, all hell broke loose with Jacobsen going down hard in Turn 10. Moments later, Wyman also went down in the same spot, followed by several more riders.
“There was oil on the track,” Wyman said. “P.J. had a few seconds on me and I saw him crash but just as I processed what had happened I went down. It happened that fast. I got up and raised my arms to signal the guys behind us but everyone was coming and it was just total chaos.”
The race was quickly red-flagged and most of the riders went back to pit row, some on damaged machines. Only Jacobsen and Wyman were left out as their bikes required major repair and needed to be towed.
As teams scrambled to repair and prep for a possible restart, Wyman had to come to grips with the possibility of not being able to continue.
“It was like our chance at the championship was slipping through our fingers,” Wyman said. “We couldn’t go to the back-up bike because we were past the second lap so if we either had to ride our primary bike or not race. The problem was our primary bike was on a tow truck somewhere.”
After several tense minutes, race officials realized the oil spill would require a massive clean-up and the race was officially called. At the time, Jacobsen was determined the winner, with Wyman given the second-place trophy and Ben Carlson third-place honors.
“I was good with that because P.J. isn’t in the championship points so we had the points lead,” Wyman said. “We even had a little cushion, so we were pretty relieved.”
Things only got better for Wyman as it was later determined that Jacobsen had caused the oildown, resulting with him being moved to the bottom of the final standings. Wyman was then awarded the win, with Carlson moved up to second and Michael Corbino to third.
“It’s a goofy deal but we’ll take it,” Wyman said. “To start off the Showdown like this…I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m so happy for Gaston Kearby and the KLR Group, plus everyone at Spyke’s Harley-Davidson who was here today. This is just unreal.”
This race marks the first time all season that Wyman didn’t share the podium with O’Hara and Michael Barnes, who is now Wyman’s teammate. Every other race had the three in some order of first, second and third. Barnes ended up fourth and O’Hara 12th.
“I thought I’d seen it all but today might beat ’em all,” said Barnes, who also was collected in the big pile-up. “I was happy with the race. I got a great start but maybe braked a little early into Turn 1. There was some bumping and banging going on but I settled into sixth and just kind of went to work from there.
“A few laps in Corbino had a big moment and I got past him and Carlson so I was up behind Kyle. I really started struggling with front grip. We made some geometry spring changes in the back so now we need to make a geometry change to the front to properly compensate for that. If we get that done properly we’ll be good. I feel confident on the bike and with the way I’m riding. I’m ready for tomorrow.”
A veteran of two decades of racing, Barnes applauded the decision to call the race early.
“We’re here racing at Indy as guests of the Moto GP folks and we need to be gracious because the exposure this gets us and our sponsors is unparalleled,” he said. “The best thing to do was call the race and let them get to work on cleaning the track and prepping it for tomorrow’s GP race.
“There were too many people caught up in that wreck who would have gotten the short end of the stick if they had tried to restart it. They definitely made the right call. This is the fairest decision for everyone involved.”
Sunday’s second XR1200 race begins at 3:30 p.m.