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Jun 8, 2013

AMA Pro Racing Recaps The SuperSport And Harley-Davidson Races At Road America

The AMA Pro SuperSport field in action at Road America. Photo by Brian J. Nelson/AMA Pro Racing.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The AMA Pro SuperSport field at Road America was packed with 45 entries for the combined East-West round, but Corey Alexander was the racer who emerged at the top of the event. Alexander won both races at the 4.0-mile track on his National Guard/Celtic Racing Suzuki and the young rider completed his best weekend yet on the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing scene.

Alexander proved he can win a race two ways in Wisconsin. He was able to pull away from the group on Saturday and on Sunday he did it the hard way, surviving a five-rider draft fest to take his third career victory. Alexander was in fourth with less than half a lap to go but went to the front at the right time.

"If you asked me if I thought I was going to walk away from this weekend with two first place trophies I'd probably say wishful thinking and be content with the thought of just one win," said Alexander. "From the first session right off the bat I knew my National Guard Celtic Racing GSX-R 600 was good enough to win. My boys Barry, Mike, and Tim all gave me a great set up right off the truck based off of last year and it was up to me to get the job done."

"Saturday's race was eventful but was more of a two-rider duel between me and Stefano (Mesa) and I was able to put my head down to take home the win," he continued. "After Saturday I knew I had the potential to get the win on Sunday if I played my cards right. After the ten-lap, five-rider battle, I crossed the finish line three-wide without a clue where I finished. To say I'm both lucky and happy to have walked away with the win is an understatement."

Alexander had previously shown speed in SuperSport when he won at Utah in 2011. He's been fast but "doing the double" shows the New Yorker has upped his game even more. As an East division competitor, Alexander jumped into second place in points after Elkhart Lake and is just six points behind Stefano Mesa.

"We have some momentum going into Barber so I am excited," he said.

Mesa, on the RSRacecraft entry, earned second both times out and backed up an excellent Daytona with two more podium results. He earned pole and finished second both times out. The Colombian missed a win by just 0.012 on Sunday.

"It was a solid weekend with my new team and I can't thank those guys enough for picking me," said Mesa. "It was a good weekend with two second-place finishes. My hat is off to us five. I had no idea we had two more bikes behind us."

Mesa and Alexander have pulled away in East points and after four races are in the books, it looks to be shaping up as a two-rider battle.

In West points, Tomas Puerta of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull is pulling away, too. He has a 32-point lead after four events. After winning at Daytona, the Colombian looked to repeat the feat in Wisconsin. He had a solid weekend and on Sunday just missed victory with third place.

"It was a good race and the team worked really hard to fix the things I didn't like from yesterday's race," said Puerta. "We were battling really hard in the top three and I didn't know how many other riders were behind us. With two laps to go, I got the lead and tried to break them ... but it didn't work. We're going to go and try really hard to win at Barber."

Puerta has earned the lap leader point in two of the four races so far.

Another rider who has impressed is Jeffrey Tigert. Tigert, on the Baby Appleseed CM Motorsports Yamaha, finished third on Saturday and on Sunday joined the pack for the win before earning fifth and setting fastest lap in the race.

Tigert got a great start on Saturday. "I tried to latch on to Mesa and Alexander. There were sections where I could gain ground and others where they pulled away a little. It was a cat-and mouse game. I had my own race at the end and settled in. We had pulled away from fourth. I had a good run."

Travis Wyman earned fourth on Sunday and was in the pack that fought for the win. Wyman. On the Harv's H-D machine, finished 18 seconds back on Saturday to take eighth, but found more speed on Sunday. The dramatic improvement nearly netted him a podium as he finished just 0.148 behind Puerta.

David Sadowski is second in West points after a fifth place finish on Saturday. The Mach Motorsports pilot DNF'd on Sunday but he still retains his position in the standings by a sole point over Tigert.

Oklahoman Conner Blevins earned his two best AMA Pro finishes yet with tenth and sixth on his Ajax Kawasaki.

Ricardo Valdez (Southeast Sales Yamaha) impressed, earning a front row start and sixth place on Saturday but was involved in a crash on the first lap of Sunday's race.

Other riders earning the top ten at Road America included Sebastiao Ferreira of BP Racing, Travis Ohge (Houston Superbikes), Team 95's Hayden Gillim, Wyatt Farris of Meen Motorsports and Miles Thornton (Arai, Sidi).

The East division returns with the next round at Barber Motorsports Park this month while the West resumes at Laguna Seca in July.

More, from another press release issued by AMA Pro Racing:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - 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.'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).

Hoban Cycle's Paul James, Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade's Josh Chisum, and Aerostar Global Logistics' Brice Cooper completed the top ten.

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 .

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 .

All season long, stay connected with GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing on social media at and .

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 SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing at .

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