2012 AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Season Finale
KLR Group/Spyke’s Harley-Davidson rider Michael Barnes won his third AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series race of the season and earned the first AMA Pro Racing class championship of his 25-year professional racing career Sunday at NOLA Motorsport Park in New Orleans, La., in a race that began with an atmosphere of highly charged anticipation and ended in controversy as the 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing season drew to a close.
Barnes and fellow championship contender Tyler O’Hara (Bartels’ Harley-Davidson/Scrubblade) jumped into the lead at the start of the nine-lap contest after polesitter Jake Holden (MOB Racing) crashed on the opening lap.
Following another crash on lap four by Ray Delaney that caused a red flag stoppage, the pair picked up where they left off on the subsequent restart, setting up a five-lap sprint for the XR Showdown crown and its $25,000 first place bonus.
O’Hara shadowed Barnes until the penultimate lap, when he made a move to the front early in the lap, only to give the position back on the white flag lap in Turn 1. O’Hara attempted to regain the lead again several corners later but went wide under braking, allowing Barnes to stay in front.
Then as the pair exited the final corner onto the start/finish straight side by side, O’Hara reached over and appeared to grab Barnes’ right arm, pulling it off the throttle and causing his motorcycle to lose momentum as O’Hara drew past him and crossed the finish line in the lead.
However, AMA Pro Racing officials subsequently ruled the incident as avoidable contact between riders and issued a penalty that repositioned O’Hara to last place in the finishing order, settling the championship in Barnes’ favor.
Michael Barnes says: “Tyler came up on the inside of me, but I had the outside line and I knew I had the better drive. Then he grabbed onto my arm and pulled by me.
“I know he was desperate, but we should have just run it right to the line. You never know, he could have got it. But he grabbed onto my arm and pulled me back a couple of feet. I was just screaming as soon as he did it, ‘Man, what you doing? Why would you do that?’ There was a lot on the line. We’ve had such an awesome season. Wow, a championship. It only took me 25 years.”
Following the race, O’Hara had little to say about the incident: “Barney was coming over and I just had to let him know I was there. I grabbed him with my arm and that was it.”
A crash by eventual fourth place finisher Michael Corbino on the last lap caused a second red flag to be thrown resulting in several riders behind him being scored a lap down at the finish.
NOLA Motorsports Park AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Race Results:
1. Michael Barnes (KLR Group/Spyke’s H-D), 9 laps
2. Shane Narbonne (MOB Racing/Teterboro Rams LLC), +5.761 seconds
3. Benjamin Carlson (Suburban Motors H-D), +6.680 seconds
4. Michael Corbino (Rossiter’s H-D/XP Motorsports), 8 laps, crash
5. David Estok (Ruthless Racing/Deeley H-D Racing), +9.055 seconds
6. Josh Chisum (Bartels’ H-D/Scrubblade), +12.746 seconds
7. Eric Haugo (MOB Racing/Teterboro Rams LLC), +17.606 seconds
8. Brice Cooper (Woodstock H-D/Powerlet), +32.807 seconds
9. Paul James (Hoban Cycle/Woodstock H-D), +33.504 seconds
10. Chris Hamilton (Rig Tech), +37.365 seconds
11. Tyler O’Hara (Bartels’ H-D/Scrubblade), +37.366 seconds
12. Travis Wyman (Harv’s H-D), 5 laps
13. Ray Delaney (Fury Offshore Racing Team), 4 laps, crash
14. Darren James (Ruthless Racing/Deeley Racing), 1 lap
15. Jake Holden (MOB Racing/Teterboro Rams LLC), 0 laps, crash
Final XR1200 Showdown Points Standings (Championship Bonus)
1. Michael Barnes, 1,121 ($25,000)
2. Benjamin Carlson, 1,103 ($10,000)
3. Tyler O’Hara, 1,098 ($7,500)
4. Michael Corbino, 1,082 ($4,000)
5. Travis Wyman, 1,071 ($3500)
6. David Estok, 1,065 ($3,000)
7. Kyle Wyman, 1,062 ($2,500)
8. Josh Chisum, 1,057 ($2,000)
9. Gerry Signorelli, 1,018 ($1,500)
10. Darren James, 1,000 ($1,000)