Sep 18, 2012
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Title contenders Wyman, Barnes brace for big weekend in South Florida
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 18) -- The five-race XR Showdown was designed to add some late-season drama to the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series. With three of the five races in the books, that mission has definitely been accomplished with the top four riders separated by a scant four points as the tour arrives in South Florida for this weekend's Triumph Big Kahuna Miami presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince.
For KLR Group riders Kyle Wyman and Michael Barnes, who are currently second and fourth in the rankings, respectively, the stop at Homestead-Miami Speedway has become the most important race of the 2012 season.
"The points are all pretty much evened out so now it's time to win races, and that's what I plan to do at Homestead," Wyman said. "We had a great test at this track back in March and it's a layout I really enjoy. I can't wait to get back on my bike and pin the throttle."
Wyman has retribution on his mind as his last race ended in a spectacular, last lap crash that robbed him of a sure podium finish. Wyman had built a nice lead in the standings after a win and runner-up result in the first two playoff races, but that evaporated in a flash when he flew over the handlebars of his Spyke's Harley-Davidson and crashed hard to the ground in New Jersey.
"It took a few days of recovery and lots of time at Planet Fitness but I'm 100-percent back from the crash at this point," Wyman said. "It took me a bit of time to recover some of my core strength because of the hard hit I took on my back but I'm confident I'll be stronger than ever and ready to give this thing another go in Miami.
"Losing the points lead only made me mentally stronger. I want the No. 1 plate more than anything and I know I'll need to be perfect to get it, but we've won four times this year and been on the podium at every other race except the one where I wrecked so I know we have what it takes to get it done. It's time to go out there and execute."
Wyman's crash allowed Ben Carlson to take the championship lead with 1,064 points. Wyman is second with 1,062 points, followed by fellow four-time winner Tyler O'Hara (1,061 points) and Barnes (1,060 points).
Barnes, who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., jumped back into the championship mix with a strong runner-up result in New Jersey and he's hoping that momentum will carry over to his home track.
"I'm look forward to this event more than all of the other Showdown venues because it's home for me," Barnes said. "Having lots of friends and family at the track this weekend should make it extra fun for all of us.
"After being on the podium at every race in the regular season I was pretty bummed to finish fourth and fifth at the first two Showdown races during the Moto GP weekend in Indy. After that, I kind of decided to take all those pressure off myself and just go out there and ride. It really seemed to work in New Jersey with earning the pole and taking second place, so I'm trying to keep the same mindset about the championship and just show up and ride as fast as I can this weekend. We'll see where the chips fall."
Action in the XR1200 class begins with a practice session at 10:30 a.m., Saturday. Two qualifying sessions, set for 4:15 p.m., Saturday, and 8 a.m., Sunday, will set the field for the 11-lap, 25-mile main event, which takes place at 12:30 p.m., also on Sunday.