Full slate of races at Daytona International Speedway cap off 82nd annual Bike Week
With a thrilling dive to the inside apron as a pack of five bikes prepared to cross the finish line within a half-second of each other, Josh Herrin captured the second DAYTONA 200 championship of his career 13 years after first topping the podium.
The 13 years between wins is the longest gap between DAYTONA 200 victories in the history of the race. The previous longest number of years was seven for Eddie Lawson with wins in 1986 and 1993.
For Ducati, it was the make’s second win after last winning it with Jason DiSalvo in 2011.
Yamaha secured second and third place with Joshua Hayes riding the No. 4 Squid Hunter Racing bike, and Cameron Peterson rounding out the podium on this No. 45 Attack Performance Yamaha.
Herrin sat on pole for the 81st running of the DAYTONA 200, but the race wasn’t straightforward for the rider of the No. 2 Warhorse HSBK Ducati NYC.
With 24 laps to go, lead pack Celtic/Tytlers Cycle/TSE Racing rider PJ Jacobsen went down in the infield portion, and that was followed three laps later by Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim going down in the middle of the Le Mans Chicane on the oval backstretch. Both had been running in the top six at the time of their incidents. Gillim was able to get his bike back up and remained on the lead lap to return as a factor late in the race.
After the second set of pit stops, Herrin and Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider Richie Escalante separated themselves from the rest of the field – putting up an 18-second lead over third-place Hayes with 10 laps to go. The pair traded the lead back and forth – and at times from turn to turn.
But with eight laps to go, Escalante and Herrin went toe-to-toe coming out of Turn 1 as Herrin dove inside of Escalante for the pass, and only Herrin made it through. Escalante went down and that left Herrin alone out front.
“We were after the final pit stop, I had been seeing different spots that I could overtake if I needed to. His bike was a missile,” Herrin said post-race. “That was one of the spots where I thought would be a possibility and would kinda throw him off of his rhythm. With however many laps to go, I just saw an opening and wanted to try it, and as far as I was concerned, I was there, had the line.
“I’m just trying to figure out where I could win the race from. I was just trying to get creative and find spots, and I think he just wasn’t expecting it because it wasn’t the last lap.”
Following the incident, Herrin built up a 24- second lead on Hayes, but a red flag with five laps to go for an incident between fourth-place Teague Hobbs on his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki and Edge Racing Yamaha rider Jason Waters, who was two laps down, in the infield. The field was brought down pit road and Hobbs was able to get his bike back to pit road and repaired for the restart.
During the red flag a pair of officiating decisions were announced by MotoAmerica. Herrin was penalized six grid positions on the restart for the incident with Escalante, which dropped him to seventh and put Hayes on the pole for the restart. Additionally, five laps were added to the remainder of the race, to make it a 10-lap dash for the finish.
The grid penalty didn’t hurt Herrin as he made his way back to the lead a lap after the restart. And a battle reminiscent of Herrin and Escalante earlier in the race developed between Herrin, Hayes, Gillim and Petersen.
Coming to the white flag, Herrin led a tightly packed together lead group of seven riders. He pulled a strategic move as they came out of the infield portion onto the high banks, swinging wide to allow a pair of riders to pass him.
“Before the first banking, I went in hot and tried to get at least a couple guys to go by me because I didn’t think I would be able to hold it off leading,” said Herrin. “That worked out good. That was huge risk number one. Huge risk number two was going into the chicane I chopped everybody up and rolled through the chicane really slow to give Josh about a five to 10 bike-length lead because I knew if I was on him I would pass him about halfway through the banking and it would be a double-wide draft of guys behind and they would get by us.”
Hayes carried that slight gap out of the Le Mans Chicane and up onto the banking. But it wasn’t enough of a lead as the pack caught him in the draft coming onto the front stretch and Herrin dove to the inside apron for the winning pass as the pack came to the finish line.
Two-time defending DAYTONA 200 champion and TOBC Racing rider Brandon Paasch was in the lead pack of six bikes that initially separated itself from the field, but a pit-road speeding penalty on the first pit stop landed him a 15-second time penalty that was assessed at the end of the race. He crossed the line with the lead pack of seven but was relegated to a 12th-place finish.
Roland Sands Super Hooligans Class
The second and final weekend of the 82nd Bike Week at DAYTONA Presented by Monster Energy got underway with the first event of MotoAmerica racing. Friday, March 10 saw the first round of the Roland Sands Super Hooligans Championship at The World Center of Racing. Tyler O’Hara, rider of the No. 1 Indian FTR, crossed the finish line first in an exciting last lap pass over Bobby Fong, rider of the No. 50 Indian Challenger, after the two battled it out for six intense laps. British rider Jeremy McWilliams rounded out the podium, finishing third place on his No. 99 Indian FTR.
The second round of the Super Hooligans class took place on Saturday, with another six laps of racing around the road course. Cory West came across the finish line first on his No. 13 Team Saddlemen bike but was later disqualified for a technical infraction. The final finishing order for Roland Sands Super Hooligans race two featured the two of the podium placers from race one, Tyler O’Hara finishing first and Jeremy McWilliams in second, with rider of the No. 665 Grey Area Racing KTM Mark Price moving up into third.
Rev’It Twins Cup Class
The Rev’It Twins Cup kicked off Friday afternoon with an eventful nine laps of racing. Three laps after riders left the grid, the action intensified when the rider of the No. 25 Team ISO Yamaha, Dominic Doyle, crashed out, taking Ben Gloddy on his No. 72 Rodio Racing Aprilia. The crash caused a shift in the battle for third place, as both riders were in fourth and fifth when their races ended. Hayden Shultz finished third on his No. 49 Cycle Tech Yamaha, with Jackson Blackmon finishing second on his No. 18 Trackday Winner/Blackmon Racing Yamaha. Gus Rodio, the rider of the No. 96 Rodio Racing Aprilia, came out on top in race one.
Doyle’s bad luck continued in race two of the Rev’It Twins Cup on Saturday. The Rodio Racing rider crashed out again on lap three of the nine lap race, bringing out the red flag. Racing resumed about 20 minutes later in a five-lap sprint, with the Stefano Mesa, the native Floridian, standing in for Kayla Yaakov following a leg injury, finishing first on the No. 137 MP13 Racing Yamaha. Gus Rodio finished second and Jackson Blackmon finished third, both riders securing a couple more points on the weekend.
Mission King of the Baggers Class
The Mission King of the Baggers Championship returned to Daytona for the second year, with Baggers racing on the high banks of the superspeedway. Race one got underway on Friday afternoon, with James Rispoli coming in first on his No. 43 Vance & Hines Harley Davidson after a great save coming out of turn six. His teammate Hayden Gillim finished second on his No. 79 Vance & Hines Harley Davidson, with Tyler O’Hara picking up another podium this weekend after scoring points in the Super Hooligans Class.
The second race in the Mission King of the Baggers class finished early Saturday evening, closing out an epic weekend of MotoAmerica racing with a Harley-Davidson podium lockout. American Kyle Wyman crossed the finish line in first place on his No. 33 Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle, with Vance & Hines riders James Rispoli and Hayden Gillim finishing second and third, securing podiums in Baggers both races.