Photography by Larry Lawrence
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 17, 2013) – Call it the luck of the Irish. Jeremy McWilliams had something going his way, as he emerged from a last-lap draft-fest to win Saturday’s Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series, first in the four-race $60,000 XR Showdown.
McWilliams used the draft of early leader and pole winner Steve Rapp to shoot to the front at the checkered flag. He was followed to the line by Tyler O’Hara and Malaysian racer Hafizh Syahrin, in his first appearance in a XR1200 race.
Rapp was the odd-man out among the leading quartet, going from first to fourth in the span of Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s home straightaway.
McWilliams led the 29-rider pack into the first set of turns, but by the end of the first lap Rapp had gotten into the lead and already had a 4/10ths of a second lead. In the first half of the race Rapp built up nearly a full second lead, but the following group used drafting perfectly to close in on the pole winner. McWilliams and Rapp had some pretty intense moments in the closing laps as they jockeyed for position, especially in the first set of tight turns on the road course.
In the end it came down to the final draft moves on the front straight and it was McWilliams getting the nod in nearly a photo finish on his Harley-Davidson of Bloomington machine.
Just 0.188 seconds separated the top four riders.
“Just luck really, being in the right place at the right time,” McWilliams said when asked how he did it. “I sort of lost my way a little bit at the beginning. These guys started moving ahead and I thought if I don’t dig in it’s not going to work. I just wanted to be in a position at the end to give me self half a chance. If it wasn’t for the draft here I don’t think I’d of got back on the tow.”
While McWilliams won the race, O’Hara was perhaps the biggest winner, being the only regular in the series on the podium, who will compete for the Showdown and the championship. Defending champ Michael Barnes finished seventh.
The series resumes Sunday at Indy for the second race at 3:30 pm Eastern.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series results from Indianapolis – Aug. 17, 2013
1 99 Jeremy McWilliams Newtonabbey, N. IrelandHarley-Davidson XR1200 10 Laps
2 29 Tyler O’Hara Petaluma, CA Harley-Davidson XR1200 +00.039
3 55 Hafizh Syahrin Kiala Lumpur, WP MalaysHiaarley-Davidson XR1200 +00.130
4 5 Steve Rapp Mathattan Beach, CA Harley-Davidson XR1200 +00.188
5 24 Travis Wyman Macedon, NY Harley-Davidson XR1200 +01.089
6 59 Hayden Schultz Fayetteville, AR Harley-Davidson XR1200 +14.727
7 1 Michael Barnes Boca Raton, FL Harley-Davidson XR1200 +15.979
8 46 Shane Narbonne Tyngsboro, MA Harley-Davidson XR1200 +17.816
9 51 Gage McAllister Lincoln, CA Harley-Davidson XR1200 +25.571
10 77 Eric Stump Berlin, NJ Harley-Davidson XR1200 +25.702