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by David Swarts
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Professional rider Tyler O’Hara is planning to race a Yamaha
YZF-R1 Superbike in the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout presented by Yamaha
during the Pacific Nationals May 3-4 at Sonoma Raceway, in Sonoma, California.
O’Hara, the 2013 AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson
Championship runner-up and a regular on the AMA Pro series for the last four years,
tested the bike (which was recently acquired by Meen Motorsports) April 2 at
Thunderhill Raceway Park with very positive results.
“I was actually surprised at how quickly I felt comfortable,”
O’Hara told Roadracingworld.com. “It’s a well-built bike. The motor on that
thing is so rider-friendly. I expected an exotic, out-of-control thing that I
wasn’t going to be able to ride, but we got along really well and I had a lot
“It handles like a 600 and the power delivery on that thing
is so linear, so smooth. It’s the best of both worlds. I was kind of blown away
by how nice that bike is. I get it as to why Josh [Hayes] and those guys can go
kick ass. Obviously, they’re on the factory bikes with the fancy electronics
and stuff, but it’s just a really easy bike to ride. I didn’t touch anything on
the bike. I just rode it and got used to it, but it was dialed. I didn’t have
to touch anything, which was really cool.”
Other than Meen Motorsports, O’Hara says he has no sponsors,
which may limit him to doing just the Superbike Shootout at Sonoma Raceway, his
“I’m still trying to line up a sponsor for the weekend, but
if I can’t I’m just going to pay for it out of my own pocket, which I’ve been
doing, just because it’s such a good opportunity for me at my home track. I
know I’ll have a lot of family and friends come out, and I just want to let
people know I can ride a Superbike. Maybe later in the year I’ll do a wild card
ride at Laguna Seca or something.”
O’Hara said he also hopes to figure out a way to turn his
Superbike racing effort into a way to raise support to help cover some of the medical
and rehabilitation expenses for his Superbike’s previous owner – Dave Stanton.
Stanton, a long-time professional racer and former AFM
Formula Pacific Champion, crashed June 2, 2013, and suffered injuries to his
spinal cord that have left him paralyzed from the chest down.
“Dave’s going to be there and maybe we can get some good out
of it,” said O’Hara. “I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet, but we’ll try to
get some benefit out of it for Dave.”