- Unique Ricky Carmichael-Designed Course Provides Grueling Test for Competitors
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Eli Tomac will attempt to win his third consecutive DAYTONA Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship on Saturday night.
It won’t be easy.
But then, this event never is.
That’s largely due to the invariably unique course carved into the Daytona International Speedway infield grass, a course designed for the 11th consecutive year by five-time DAYTONA Monster Energy Supercross champion Ricky Carmichael. The racing surface is a combination of clay, sand and dirt. It’s the longest course on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross schedule and arguably the toughest, considered a hybrid between a traditional outdoor Motocross circuit and most modern-day Supercross stadium layouts.
As a result, where many Supercross races are flat-out sprint battles, Daytona is a multi-tasking grind, testing riders’ speed, skill and conditioning like no other track they may encounter.
“The track looks good,” Carmichael said “It’s a little ‘jumpier’ this year. I think the fans like that and I also think the riders like that. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to watch these guys rip it up.”
Tomac, a 25-year-old Kawasaki rider from Cortez, Colorado, seeks to become the fourth man to win the DAYTONA Monster Energy Supercross three times consecutively. The others: Jeff Stanton (1989-92), Mike Kiedrowski (1993-95) and Carmichael (2000-03). Tomac comes into Daytona – the 10th race of the season – fifth in the series standings, riding the momentum of three consecutive podium finishes. The most recent of his four victories this season came two weeks ago in Tampa.
“We’ve had some awesome success here,” Tomac said. “This is just such a special place, because of where we are and the nature of the track that turns into something we never really experience anywhere but here – just a gnarly Motocross/Supercross track. It’s one event that everyone has on their list to win. I’ve been fortunate enough to win two. Now we’re going to give it a run for that three-peat.”
In addition to Carmichael’s course, Tomac also must deal with an incredibly deep field of rivals, including Frenchman Marvin Musquin, a two-time Daytona champion in the 250SX class who lives and trains in nearby Clermont, Florida. Musquin, riding for Red Bull KTM, is second in the series standings behind leader Jason Anderson (Husqvarna).
“I heard about Daytona growing up,” Musquin said. “I came to watch the DAYTONA 500 last year. It’s amazing here. I love it. And now, it’s my turn to race.”
Another rider is chasing some history. Chad Reed (Yamaha), Daytona champion in 2004, ’05 and ’09, could become the fourth man to win the event four times. Stanton, Carmichael and Ryan Villopoto (2010-11 and 2013-14) are the others.
“Each and every year [this race] has it challenges,” Reed said. “It’s about getting out and getting a good start. Track position here at Daytona, ironically, it’s the same as the NASCAR side of things here. You get away, get some clean laps and it can be a big advantage.”
The DAYTONA Monster Energy Supercross is the first racing event of the 77th annual Bike Week At DAYTONA. Racing continues at DIS on Sunday and Monday with the Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross, followed by FLY Racing ATV Supercross on Tuesday, the DAYTONA TT American Flat Track event on Thursday night and the historic, 77th annual DAYTONA 200 on Saturday, March 17.
Tickets for Bike Week At DAYTONA and other Daytona International Speedway events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.
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