SALT LAKE CITY (May 30) -- Memorial Day was certainly memorable for the GEICO/RMR Harley team in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series as all four team riders finished in the top 10, including two on the podium.
Defending class champion Danny Eslick, who decided to race in the Harley-only category late last week, topped the charts with a strong second-place finish. Teammate Chris Fillmore was close behind in third, while Kyle Wyman and Michael Corbino finished eighth and 10th, respectively.
"It was cool to get out there and battle those guys on the Harley's again," said Eslick, who started seventh but was up to second place by Lap 4. "I just didn't have enough for Steve Rapp up front but I'll take a runner-up finish. I'm okay with that." Eslick, who competes full time in the Daytona Sportbike class, only rode his XR1200 Harley one time prior to Monday's race but he looked like a seasoned veteran in the saddle.
"Once I got comfortable I started picking guys up and was up in the top three pretty quick," Eslick said. "I had a pretty good battle with my teammate Chris Filmore for the second half of the race. That was
fun. Then a few more guys got in there with us for a little while. There are a lot more competitive riders in the class this year and it makes it more exciting for the fans and a lot more fun for the riders."
Fillmore, who won the last XR1200 event a few weeks ago in Northern California, started on the front row thanks to a strong qualifying effort.
"It was pretty interesting at the start," Fillmore said. "As we were lining up it started to hail so that was interesting. I don't think it really affected the track at all but it did mess with everyone a
little bit. We've dealt with so much weather this weekend I'm just glad it's over."
Fillmore stayed up front the entire race and even battled for the lead early in the race with eventual winner Steve Rapp, but just didn't have enough to battle with him or Eslick in the final laps.
"Being on the podium is good," FIlmore said. "The race was good. I did some back and forth for the lead the first half of the race, which was great, but I couldn't hold on to the lead.
"(Rapp) got around me and then Danny and I started battling for secondhan we just couldn't get in his draft. He built up a bit of a gap and at that point Danny and I were by ourselves, just battling it out for
"I overshot Turn 5 and Danny was able to get around me. At that point there wasn't enough track left to catch him. I'll take the third though. We're up on the podium and it still gives me some points in
the championship hunt."
Further back in the pack were Wyman and Corbino.
"I got off to a decent start considering my qualifying position,"Wyman said of his slotting in the No. 11 spot. "I was up in the middle of the pack and battling it out with some of the guys and felt pretty
good about my Harley. Then I was able to make a few moves and finish eighth. Definitely not a bad day."
Rain had been a factor all weekend for the XR1200 riders so heading into Monday they were expecting more wet conditions but that didn't end up being the case. The track was mostly dry except in one turn where Corbino had some trouble.
"The start went well," Corbino said. "I was on a good pace and was in the middle of the pack from the beginning until I had a bit of a mishap in the only turn where there was rain. I ended up on the paint
and that's not where you want to be.
"Luckily I kept it on two wheels and was able to refocus and finish the race. I just wanted to take her home safely and I did that. I'm happy with a top-10 finish. It's good for points and for the whole
GEICO XR1200 team."
The next stop for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series will be June 5 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.