DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 13, 2014) - If there's a guaranteed barnburner to be found anywhere in the world of motorsports, the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway would certainly seem to fit the bill.
In the contest's three-year history, the combined margin of victory stands at just over two tenths of a second. And last year's dogfight saw ninth position take the checkered flag less than eight tenths removed from the victory.
Each previous contest has developed into a full-blown drafting war, with the class' evenly matched machinery testing the tactical acumen of its pilots as they negotiate the high banks within inches of one another.
The 2014 edition of this annual spectacle looks to be the most compelling yet, featuring an absolutely loaded field. Nine of last year's AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series top ten are back on a grid that will also be highlighted by the return of the class' original champion and a two-time winner of this race.
Leading the charge is none of than defending king Steve Rapp (No. 1 Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200). This will be the first time in Rapp's 16-year AMA Pro Road Racing career that he will carry the No. 1 plate into battle. He earned that honor in dominant fashion last season, winning six of nine races en route to the crown.
However, he has some unfinished business at Daytona. In last season's contest, he completed just a single lap, forcing an uphill climb to last year's triumph. And in his previous attempt to claim victory in the Daytona AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series opener, he started from pole but missed out on the win by a scant 0.136 -- and still fell short of the podium.
Despite those disappointments, Rapp does have some serious Daytona history in his corner; the Californian reigned supreme in the 2007 edition of the prestigious DAYTONA 200.
The Californian is expected to have his hands full with a deep and talented field of contenders.
Last season's championship runner-up and Daytona winner Tyler O'Hara (No. 29 Josh Chisum Racing/Bartels Harley-Davidson XR1200) returns. O'Hara has finished in the class' top-three for three consecutive seasons and is motivated to finally claim the title for himself in 2014.
Also back is the class' 2012 champ, Michael Barnes (No. 34 Arai/Taichi/Sidi/D.E.A.D. Cycles/Wheeler Racing Inc. Harley-Davidson XR1200), who is seeking redemption following an up-and-down '13 title defense.
Rapp will also be tested by a pair of ultra-talented riders who didn't challenge him for last year's crown. Kyle Wyman (No. 33 KWR/Millennium Technologies Harley-Davidson XR1200) triumphed in the first two runnings of the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series Daytona opener and came within 0.075 seconds of making it three straight a year ago.
Additionally, former AMA Pro SuperBike superstar and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series' first-ever champ, Danny Eslick (No. 69 Ruthless Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200) will be gunning for victory this weekend as brings his thrilling style back to the class once again.
The stacked field offers up several other potential winners, with Ben Carlson (No. 45 Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200), Shane Narbonne (No. 64 Six Four Motorsports Harley-Davidson XR1200), David Estok (No. 123 Thrashed Bike Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200), Nick Hansen (No. 97 Aerostar Global Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200), Josh Chisum (No. 10 Josh Chisum Racing/Bartels Harley-Davidson XR1200), and Barrett Long (No. 2 Longevity Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200) chief among them.
The seven-lap AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series opener will take place on Friday, March 14 at 2:15 p.m. EST.
How to Watch
FansChoice.tv will be the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track events in 2014. The site will also provide coverage of IMSA's development and single-make series, and NASCAR's touring and weekly series. Complete details about FansChoice.tv will be released in the coming days.
About AMA Pro Road Racing
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 series is comprised of four production-based classes: AMA Pro SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about AMA Pro Road Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.
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.
More, from a press release issued by MotorSport Vision:
Danny Eslick from Oklahoma has announced he will make his UK debut this season with appearances in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship with ILR Kawasaki. The announcement makes the Double AMA SportBike champion the fourth American rider in as many different classes to be represented in the 2014 MCE BSB paddock.
Eslick lines up for the annual Daytona 200 event in Florida this weekend before he flies to the UK ready for his debut with Ian Lougher's team. The American competed in last year's AMA Pro Superbike Championship; ending the season in fifth place overall and now the 2009 and 2011 AMA Pro SportBike champion is eager to fly the flag in the 1000cc class in the UK.
Eslick said: "Excited...that's about the only way I can describe how I feel about going to race within BSB. With our series having a big break between races it creates the opportunity for me to go slide with some of the best riders on the planet! It will be a huge challenge learning a new bike and team in a very short period of time. I have great confidence in the ILR program and look forward to a great experience."
Ian Lougher ILR Team Manager concluded: "We welcome Danny to the ILR Kawasaki team and are excited by what we can achieve together. He is young and exceptionally talented, and this is a great opportunity for him to show what he can achieve on the ZX-10R Ninja, in what is probably the closest and fiercely fought support championship within the BSB paddock. I am personally very much looking forward to working with Danny at two planned pre-season tests, before moving on to Brands Hatch for the first round.''
The countdown is on to the start of the 2014 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch this Easter weekend (18/19/20/21 April). Advance ticket can be purchased at www.brandshatch.co.uk or by calling 0843 453 9000.
More, from a press release issued by Ruthless Racing:
RACING INC. ANNOUNCES THEIR RIDERS FOR 2014 AND THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN THE 2014
AMA VANCE & HINES XR1200 SERIES
to the start of the 2014 Season,
at Ruthless Racing Inc. are pleased to announce our Rider line up for this
year. Ruthless Racing Inc. has joined forces with Trev Deeley Motorcycles
of Vancouver, British Columbia and together will field 2 Riders in the 2014 AMA
Vance & Hines XR1200 Championship.
James #229, a 2 time Canadian Thunder National Champion in 2005 and 2006,
4th Overall in the British Superbike XR1200 Championship in 2010 and top 3
Overall for the last 3 Seasons in the Deeley Harley-Davidson XR1200 Cup Series
with CSBK. The #229 Bike is proudly Sponsored by Ruthless Racing Inc.,
Trev Deeley Motorcycles, Dragon Eyewear, Etnies Shoes, Flexi-Glass Bodywork,
Arai Helmets, Projekt Bags, 2Under Underwear and Twist Sport Conditioning.
“Slick” Eslick #69 , 2 time AMA National Sportbike Champion 2009 and 2011 and
the 2010 Vance & Hines XR1200 National Champion. The #69 Bike is
Sponsored by Ruthless Racing Inc., Trev Deeley Motorcycles, Shoei Helmets, Mach
Modified, Etnies Shoes, Projekt Bags, 2Under Underwear.
welcome back to the Team Crew Chief Thomas Morin, Assistant Crew Chief Glen
Veatch, Suspension Jon Cornwell and Techs Billy Veatch and Corey Warren.
are looking forward to a great 2014....Please follow us at any of the following
- Ruthless Racing Inc. (page)
Web - www.ruthlessracinginc.com