(March 2, 2008) – For the second straight year, an Aprilia found Gatorade Victory Lane in the opening round of the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series at historic Daytona International Speedway.
The team of the Ty Howard and Mike Himmelsbach on the No. 1 Aprilia USA/ Lloyd Brothers Motorsports team captured the overall win in the Daytona 300 SunTrust MOTO-ST Series race on Sunday afternoon.
“I’ve been coming to Daytona since 1989,” Howard said. “I’ve never had any kind of luck here. Always one of the fastest guys but never able to finish or do very good. On that cool down lap, I almost wanted to cry. It was like I finally had a result here. It was so awesome that it was first.”
Howard, who ran out of gas coming out of the chicane earlier in the race as he was getting ready to pit, slowed in the final laps of the 108 lap, 500K event to conserve fuel. He wasn’t concerned about losing the lead to the runner-up overall finishers – the No. 75 Touring Sport Ducati of Doug Polen and Peter Friedland
“We knew we had a big lead,” Howard said. “They weren’t catching me at all until the last five laps. I slowed down and started doing about 8,000 RPMs on the banking to make sure we had enough fuel to finish. I wasn’t too worried about them catching me. I could pick it up and go fast if I wanted to.
“With five laps to go and a 24-second lead, I backed her down. I’m not turning over 8,000 RPM on the banking until I hit the finish line. I know it would take a lot for them to catch me. The gas light had been on for five laps and I was like, ‘Oh no.’ ”
Nate Kern and Richard Cooper on the No. 4 BMW R1200 made a late charge to take a third-place overall finish on a street bike that they converted into a race bike.
“I’m still speechless,” Nate Kern said. “From our third rider getting hurt, from our A bike MOTO-ST bike getting absolutely destroyed. I brought my street bike to instruct at Team Hammer. Man, it’s bone stock. Richard Cooper with eight laps to go, we were 12 seconds down. He made up 12 seconds in eight laps.”
In last year’s Daytona 300, the Italian team of Federico Aliverti and Giancarlo DeMatteis, riding aboard the No. 6 Aprilia Tuono won the inaugural event.
The winning average speed 90.814 mph and the margin of victory was 4.573 seconds.
In the Sport Twin Class, the No. 43 Cycle Dynamics Kawasaki, powered by James “The Rocket” Rispoli and Ted Cobb took first in class, 9th overall. Jay Springsteen and Jimmy Filice rode their No. 9 Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki to a second-place finish while Dane Westby and Kyle Martin placed the No. 67 M4 Avteq Racing Suzuki on the podium in third.
Rispoli and teammate Cobb dedicated the win to Rispoli’s mother, Loretta, who passed away recently. “I would really like to dedicate this race to my mom,” said Rispoli. “She was really helpful. She was the best.”
Teammate Cobb added, “I want to dedicate this race to my teammate’s mom, Loretta, who unexpectedly passed away two weeks ago. It was a big effort for them to come and make the race so I want to dedicate the race to her.”
In the Grand Sport Twins Class, the No. 69 Team RightsforBikers.com Ducati piloted by Rodolfo Ramirez, Jason Edmonds and John Linder took top honors.
“We had a good time. We always have a good time and we love coming out here,” said Edmonds. “Daytona has been really good to me. We love being up here on this podium and it’s a good feeling for all of us.”
Added Linder, “It was a good race. We did the whole series last year and never got a win. It’s nice to finally get that first win. Maybe our luck will turn around this season.”
Quick hits: Next up at Daytona International Speedway will be two days of AHRMA Vintage Racing … Close to 100 riders participated in a hour-long SunTrust MOTO-ST Series autograph session on Sunday morning in the Sprint FANZONE.
Sunday’s Results: SunTrust MOTO-ST Series Daytona 300: Overall: 1. Ty Howard, Mike Simmelsbach, Aprilia; 2. Doug Polen, Peter Friedland, Ducati; 3. Nate Kern, Richard Cooper, BMW. Amateur Unlimited SuperSport: 1. Gustavo Sanchez, Yamaha 1000; 2. James Cohrs, Yamaha 998; 3. Bruce Nelson, Suzuki 1000; Expert Unlimited SuperSport: 1. Jeff Wood, Suzuki 1000; 2. Michael Barnes, Suzuki 1000; 3. Chris Ulrich, Suzuki 1000; Amateur Middleweight SuperSport: 1. Rapael Ferrer, Kawasaki; 2. Larry Karpinsky, Yamaha 600; 3. Chris Maher, Kawasaki 600; Expert Middleweight Supersport: 1. Martin Cardenas, Suzuki 600; 2. Cory West, Suzuki 600; 3. Michael Beck, Yamaha 600; Expert Lightweight Supersport: 1. Ryan O’Donnell, Suzuki 650; 2. Gino Angella, Ducati 1000; 2. Alex Lazo, Suzuki 650; Expert Heavyweight Supersport: 1. Darren Luck, Suzuki 600; 2. Sean Dwyer, Yamaha 600; 3. Andrew Londono, Yamaha 600; Expert Thunderbike: 1. Nate Kern; 2. Dave Estok, Buell 986; 3. Richard Cooper, BMW 1200; Amateur Thunderbike: 1. Carl Reid, Buell 1203; 2. Joel Spalding, Buell 1200; 3. Fernando Barbosa, Ducati 1000; Expert Unlimited Superbike: 1. Robertino Pietri, Suzuki 1000; 2. Chris Ulrich, Suzuki 1000; 3. Hawk Mazzotta, Suzuki 1000; Amateur Unlimited Superbike: 1. Gustavo Sanchez, Yamaha 1000; 2. Rafael Ferrer, Kawasaki 600; 3. James Koers, Yamaha 998; Expert Lightweight F40: 1. Kevin Mendee, BIM 1000; 2. Joe Delaney; 3. Eric Menethier, Ducati 1000; Amateur Lightweight F40: 1. Jay Smith, Buell 1200; 2. Marcelo Juchem, Ducati 1000; 3. Scott Anderson, Suzuki 650; 125 Grand Prix: 1. Scott Coccoli, Honda 125; Morten Frederiksen, Honda 125; Steve Wenner, Honda 125; Amateur Lightweight Supersport: 1. Fernando Barbosa, Ducati 1000; 2. Justin Pennella, Suzuki 650; 3. Leonard Roy, Suzuki 650; Amateur Heavyweight Supersport: 1. Rafael Ferrer, Kawaski 600; 2. Larry Karpinsky, Yamaha 600; 3. Christopher Maher, Kawasaki 600.
Tickets for Daytona 200 Week By Honda are available at http:///www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.