While the entire moto-world was falling all over themselves messing about with testing (testing!) at that fancy-schmanchy new track in Austin, Texas we held a little thing here in Florida we like to call The 72nd Annual Daytona 200. Daytona 200 Wrap-upBoasting a pre-pavement history long enough to recall racing on the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, recent 200s have suffered in popularity due to a lack of top-flight equipment.
However, what Daytona lacks in high-tech equipment is more than made up for in rider talent and excitement. Like the time a few years ago when a rider-less bike tumbled across the front-straight finish line Talladega Nights-style. Then there was the year with so many tire issues the eventual winner Jason DiSalvo was able to replace his entire Ducati motor during the stand-down.
Which is why this year’s 200 was so surprising. You’d think a field of modified 600cc street motorcycles would be evenly-matched but no, Cameron Beaubier ran away with the thing, lapping all the way up to 6th place. With 5 laps to go, 22 seconds ahead of second place, Beaubier put his Yamaha on autopilot and followed 6th place Honda rider Steve Rapp around the circuit.
All was not lost on the excitement front: Superbike class provided an epic youth vs. wily veteran battle. After Josh one-of-two Hayes bowed out with a puff of smoke from his Yamaha’s tailpipe, eventual race winner Martin Cardenas opened up a comfortable lead. The action then centered on second place. Television star of Superbike Family and pit-row favorite, Larry Pegram traded places with Josh two-of-two Herrin for the rest of the race. Herrin won the classic Daytona chicane-to-finish-line drag race to finish second but it was no sure thing at the end.
Supersport class, nearly stock 600s, was the most competitive of the day. For this race I was allowed to hang in the pits with the Baby Appleseed/CycleMall motorsports team thanks to Motorcyclist columnist Ed Milich’s good offices. Thus, I may be suffering from Stockholm syndrome a bit.
Baby Appleseed/CycleMall had two riders entered: Jeff Tigert and Neill Herbert. After finishing well in Friday’s race one, Herbert had an unfortunate first-lap wipe out. Tigert, who held the team wipe out honors on Friday, was on a tear. Pushing his way into the lead in the early laps, Tigert faded a bit mid-race only to come roaring back at the end to miss third by hundreths of a second. It was so close results were delayed until scorekeepers could sort things out. Tomas Puerta took first followed by Charles Weaver, Corey Alexander and my man, Jeff Tigert. You really could have thrown a large circus tent over the first four finishers.
Yes, yes, yes, I know it’s not GP racing but it’s all American racing and it’s all ours.