America’s most historic motorcycle race, the DAYTONA 200, is gearing up for its 76th iteration in 2017. Along the journey from humble beach-scene origins to an iconic home at the “World Center of Racing,” the DAYTONA 200 has produced generations of motorcycle heroes – but only seven that have climbed the championship mountaintop on three or more occasions.
Five-time DAYTONA 200 Champion (1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998)
Russell may be more known by his pseudonym around the track, carrying the title of “Mr. Daytona” as the race’s most public figure and face of an entire decade of road racing. He owned the 1990’s, claiming two separate pairs of consecutive victories, winning back-to-back in ’94 and ’95, and then again in ’97 and ’98.
His fourth victory in 1997 broke the long-standing logjam of record-holding three-time champions of the DAYTONA 200. Three of those five victories came from the pole position, the most in the 75-year history of the race.
Five-time DAYTONA 200 Champion (1991, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005)
Miguel Duhamel holds the most impressive benchmark for dominant longevity in the event, standing above the pack with the longest stretch of time between his first and last championship – 14 years. It’s twice as long as the next closest gap between a riders’ first and last victory in the 200, cementing Duhamel’s place in history.
Three-time DAYTONA 200 Champion (1955, 1959, 1960) An astounding 62 years ago, Andres became the youngest rider to win the DAYTONA 200, checking in at 18 years, 11 months old – a record that still stands today. Forced to sit out the 1957 season due to injury, Andres was told he would never race again before becoming the race’s second rider to take home three first-place finishes with victories in ’59 and ’60.
The Stockton, California native is the only rider in AMA history to win his first and last professional race and is the only rider to win the Grand National Championship as a rookie. In addition, he won the final DAYTONA 200 held on the shores of Daytona Beach’s historic beach course.
Three-time DAYTONA 200 Champion (1949, 1951, 1952) Klamfoth was a surprise victor in the spring of 1949, setting the tone for a Hall of Fame career by winning his first attempt at the DAYTONA 200. The 1949 race was followed by consecutive victories in ’51 and ’52, placing him at the forefront of the sport’s greatest riders as the DAYTONA 200’s first three-time champion.
The story behind his final DAYTONA 200 victory may be the most unique in race history. Wet conditions had led Klamfoth to assume the race would be postponed to the following day, leading the rider to book a fishing expedition for that day.
However, conditions improved and it was only a chance run-in with a fan that sent the reigning DAYTONA 200 champion speeding to the beach course. Arriving just before the green flag, the two-time champion composed himself and took home his third career DAYTONA 200 victory.
Three-time DAYTONA 200 Champion (1978, 1983, 1984)
No other rider put himself in better position more times in the DAYTONA 200 than Kenny Roberts, who stood on the pole of the DAYTONA 200 no less than seven times -- a race record. He placed first in qualifying in 1975 and 1976, again in 1978, and then went on to take the pole position every year from 1980 – 1983 -- yet another performance for the record books.
Three-time DAYTONA 200 Champion (2000, 2001, 2004) The Australian rider is an legend, winning seven Superbike Championships over his storied career and retiring unchallenged as the most feared rider in modern superbike racing. He was at the top of his game for his three victories in the DAYTONA 200, with each victory propelling Mladin forward in a championship season.
Not only is he legendary in the entire field of superbike racing, he is one of Suzuki’s most accomplished roar racers ever, having won three of Suzuki’s five DAYTONA 200 trophies.
Three-Time DAYTONA 200 Champion (1961, 1964, 1965) Reiman permanently etched his name into the cornerstone of motorcycle racing in Daytona by claiming a number of significant firsts in his three DAYTONA 200 victories.
His first, in 1961, was the inaugural DAYTONA 200 at the Daytona International Speedway. His second win occurred during the first race to utilize the iconic high banks at DAYTONA. And his final victory was the first Daytona 200 to run in the rain. Reiman was able to continuously conquer adversity that no other rider had faced before his time, marking his place among the motorsports pioneers.
To see the next chapter of champions unfold, be here Saturday, March 18 for the 76th running of America’s most historic motorcycle race. For tickets or more information, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.
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