Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson podium with Tyler O’Hara (center) in first, Kyle Wyman (left) in second and Bobby Fong (right) in third.
Daytona Bike Week 2013 had a little something for everyone. Though the epicenter of the action is, without question, the few blocks cordoned off on Main Street in downtown Daytona Beach, there were plenty of ancillary events in the surrounding area to satisfy the tastes of nearly any motorcyclist. For race fans and speed-junkies, Daytona International Speedway provided fare which varied from the low-key, family-centered Amateur Supercross presented by Ricky Carmichael to the historic Daytona 200 road race. Just a few miles out of town, fans could also catch drag racing at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, or head a bit further north to Georgia for the second round of GNCC action at the Maxxis General. Nearly every form of professional American motorcycle racing was represented in the region during the week, and we took in as much possible.
I hit the ground running, arriving in town the Friday prior to Monster Energy AMA Pro Supercross. On the morning of the event, having never been to Daytona International Speedway before, I took some time to wander, taking in the sheer scale of the place, which is immense. The grounds were bustling with activity and it was clear that Bike Week had officially started thanks to the ceaseless roar of V-Twins coursing up and down International Speedway Boulevard. The DIS Midway was packed with vendors like J&P Cycles, Mustang Seats, Arlen Ness, Motorcycle Superstore, Dunlop, Kuryakyn, Vance & Hines, Victory, Harley-Davidson, Indian Motorcycles and Big Bear Choppers (just to name a few) giving eager attendees the chance to ogle over some amazing customs and enjoy access to an almost unlimited supply of accessories and gear. Out near the Turn 1 entrance, the Big-Four were represented in full-force: Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki each had sprawling campuses with new rides, demo opportunities and plenty of information and hoop-la for interested customers.
I lost some time meandering from tent to tent, dreaming of all the gear I’d never be able to fit in my woefully undersized checked bag, but the deep grumble coming from inside DIS called me back to the task at hand, and I headed in to catch the final afternoon SX qualifying sessions.
On Saturday, Hayes ran into trouble again in SuperBike Race 2, with an engine malfunction that took him out of competition mid-race. Hayes’ misfortune opened the door for new Yoshimura Suzuki rider and 2012 Daytona SportBike champion, Martin Cardenas, to earn his first race win of the season. In Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport, Tomas Puerta grabbed the top spot followed by Napa Auto’s Charles Weaver, a young rider who fought from outside the top-10 to earn his first career trip to the podium.
Then the capstone race of the week, the Daytona 200, started and through the opening laps it looked to be a close one. Beaubier had dominated through practice and qualifying, but was challenged by a full roster of riders before the first pit-stop. Thanks to the quickness of his team in the pits and the multitude of mechanical failures that hit other riders, Beaubier was able to stretch out his lead early in the 57-lap contest and eventually took the win 22 seconds over his teammate, Garrett Gerloff.
It was a non-stop week of all things motorcycle, and though it was jam-packed with events of all kinds, the high-pitched scream of the road bikes as they rounded the high-bank at Daytona still rings in my ears.