ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 5) — The Vance and Hines XR1200 class is barely more than a year old but the gang from GEICO Racing already has it figured out as team rider and points leader Chris Fillmore won Sunday’s race in the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America. Fillmore was followed closely by reigning class champion and teammate Danny Eslick, who yielded the lead to Fillmore with two turns left.
“It’s very satisfying, for sure,” said Fillmore, who edged Eslick at the stripe by .126 seconds for his second win of the year. “It was a pretty wild race. I got a good start and settled in with that front group. I’m not even sure how many of us there were up there. We all kind of passed the lead around and it was fun riding.
“About halfway through I went off the track at Turn 5 and by the time I got back out I was back to eighth or so. I just had to put my head down from there and play catch-up.
“At the end no one really wanted to take the lead because you wanted to ride the draft up the hill to the finish line but when Danny lifted up I had to just go. I think maybe I surprised him a little going by so fast but we got around that last turn and it was on all the way to the finish line. I was able to stay out front and that was important.”
As is the norm in the class, no single rider controlled the action. Instead, a breakaway group of eight pros battled throughout the seven-lap contest around the 4.1-mile course. Both Fillmore and Eslick led the race at various points, with each rider picking their favorite spots to pass, and it wasn’t unusual to see riders leapfrog three or four competitors in one motion.
“This class is turning out exactly how we had hoped,” creator and sponsor Terry Vance said. “The action is incredible every race. That’s why the fans are responding to it so favorably. I know that as more people get to know about this style of racing and the fans see it in person or on TV, it’s going to sky-rocket.”
Eslick certainly had fun, riding the freight-train draft to perfection time and again, seemingly passing at will. But the nature of the spec class is that everyone competes on the same equipment so it’s nearly impossible for a single rider to pull away.
“I could sling-shot around people in certain spots and I knew I needed to do that coming onto the final straightaway,” Eslick said. “Fillmore slipped by with a few turns left and I was planning to ride right behind him and then pull out and drag race to the finish line but he tucked in and got far enough away to take the win.
“I’m happy for Chris because he’s riding for the championship. The points are important to him and to the entire GEICO/Bruce Rossmeyer/Lucas Oil race team.”
Team riders Kyle Wyman and Michael Corbino rounded out the top 10, securing ninth and 10th place.
Up next is the Barber SuperBike Classic, which runs June 17-19 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.