Well,as promised in the last post, this one will be all about AMA Racing at Daytona. After some really great racing the weekend before, Moto-ST, CCS and ASRA followed by very exciting vintage racing, AHRMA, the first days of the week…it was amazing to watch and hear some of these really, really old bikes go around the banking. One thing I have to add here is the heroic effort Nate Kern (www.natekern.com) and the BMW of Atlanta team did to get Nate running in the Moto-ST 300KM race. While I was at Galfer Brake Company, I had the pleasure of getting Nate set up with some really great brakes and meeting the guys at Daytona was a real pleasure. Anyway, Nate’s bike got tossed in practice, pretty badly too. Fortunately, Nate was also there to spend a day teaching with the Team Hammer School and he brought his personal school bike, another BMW R1200RS, but it’s a completely street legal sled!! Mirrors / blinkers and all!! Less then 24 hours later it’s a full blown race bike!! Nate ended up finishing third in the Moto-ST 300. Next for Nate it’s onto a full Factory BMW Race bike for the 200..
After all that, the AMA Roadracing and Supercross Circus rolls into town. Wednesday is set up and some practice time. The 200 is the only long distance race on the AMA schedule so the teams need to practice the pit stops, fun to watch. BMW Motorrad showed up with the Factory Endurance team. German precision at it’s finest.
Thursday at Daytona was a good day for racing..qualifying for the 200 and Superbike and the Superstock and Supersport races..you can read the results at AMA Superbike.com I got a chance to see a little bit of it..work, work, work..the dogs life of a sales rep!
But the real highlight of my day was a chance to spend about 15 minutes with Earl Hayden, yep, that Earl Hayden.
I had met Mr. Hayden a couple of times before but just briefly. This time I got to have a good conversation with him. We talked about Nicky and the struggles he has been having developing the 800..I probably shouldn’t be saying this but, Earl is not all that happy with Honda. Nicky wasn’t getting what he needed until halfway through last season and he feels that they are already a bit behind the curve as they get ready for this season. Side note here, Nicky’s teammate Dani Pedrosa has won a race this season but we’re talking about Nicky. We also talked about Tommy and finally starting a season healthy and it shows. Watching him at Daytona and him finishing on the podium last weekend at Barber, this is going to be a good season for the eldest Hayden Brother. I gotta tella you, Earl Hayden is one of the most interesting people I have met in all my years of racing and the motorcycle biz.
Friday..check this out…we’re under Tornado watch!!?? the rain is unbelievable (just look at the picture..sheets of water off the Market Area. There are rumors of canceling the SuperCross scheduled for that night. I didn’t get a chance to watch any of the practice, but I could hear it every now and again. This afternoon I got a really fun interview with former Speed TV commentator Brian Drebber at the Corona Light Honda pit..you can listen to it on the podcast. It was raining so hard you could hardly see!..
Anyway, they held the Supercross Torrential downpour and all. I was lucky enough to have a nice dry VIP suite to hang out in and watch the race. Our friends at Primedia….Motorcyclist, Dirt Rider etc set us up sweet… beer, good food and a lot of friends.
The Supercross racers are unbelievable!! The strength it took to ride in those conditions! Over the doubles into axle deep mudholes…They are truly my new heroes..if the bike would stall and not restart..they would just leave the bike there, standing upright in the mud and walk away. The end of the race was pretty amazing, Chad Reed had a substantial lead over Kevin Windham and then disaster struck. Three corners from the end in a horrendous mud bog Chad’s bike stalled and would not start again..Chad stood there in the mud and watched his victory disappear with Kevin Windham.
After the race it was off to a local dive for more beer and hangin’ with friends..tomorrow, back to road racing.
Ride safe, ride fast..I’ll see you on the road..