We are currently in the middle of a downpour and severe thunderstorm as we make our way up 17 North into Virginia. I am using my Android tablet to send all outbound communication. Flooding is intense and visibility is less than 10 feet. Dangerous lightning threatens the ground and lights up the sky beautifully! We are in a convenient place for stormchasing. Just another family outing.
These are not the cities we are looking for. Move along.
Daytona held a great race for fans to watch. The track was the largest supercross track this season. This meant longer lap times and the combination of outdoor and indoor obstacles made for a longer, more challenging (and more entertaining) race all together! This gave me the opportunity to see history made as it happened!
An awful turn of events unfolded for defending champion (last year's Rookie of the Year with several other record-breaking achievements from last season alone ), Ryan Dungey, as a mechanical failure caused him not to qualify for the main through the heat race. I watched as Dungey went through the dragon-back section at race pace and then--at a moment's notice-- the rear wheel suddenly halted as the motor seized. Luckily, this happened right in front of the mechanic's area, and Dungey and his Suzuki were able to make it off the track safely. He pushed his bike over to his mechanic, Mike Gosselaar (the last name should be familiar, Saved By the Bell fans,as he is the sibling of the actor), and with body language that unloaded a fury of curses, he explained what happened. They hauled the bike through the tech area and back to their pits and performed a miracle of adjustments and switches to it. Dungey was up and running--in his "title-contender-as-usual" condition--for the LCQ (a rider's last chance to make it to the main event race.)
James Stewart shocked the world by being the only rider to jump the gator pit and clear the eight foot mound of dirt on his bike. He first revealed this manuever in the last lap of his heat race as he ran the track, virtually by himself, with the lead. By running the track this way, he shaved off nearly four seconds on his lap times, proving Ralph Shaheen (announcer for SPEED) right as he claims JS7 to be, "the fastest man on the planet!" He sped away with a huge lead for the first quarter of the race, but a crash before the gnarly triple rung his bell and took him to the back of the pack. This gave last year's Daytona Race Winner, Ryan Villopoto the chance to pull away with the lead.
The lites race has some monumental highlights as well. Riding with a wrist injury to his throttle hand, Justin Barcia claimed the holeshot in his heat race and drove away with a comfortable lead!
Blake Baggett showed the world that he deserves his Factory Ride for Mitch Payton's championship-breeding Pro Circuit team. The kid pulled the holeshot on the main, found another gear, and took off in it! He kept his lead the whole race and put half a track between him and Barcia, who was in 2nd. At an 1:18 second average lap time for the top riders, he opened up almost 40 seconds between him and Barcia and over a minute between him and third-place finisher, Ryan Sipes! Baggett is talented and fast. He earned his first Supercross win and the points lead after last night's race! He currently hold 169 series points, with a four-point advantage over Barcia.
Kawasaki swept the wins in a great night of racing underneath the beautiful weather in Daytona Beach, FL!
What a great kickoff for Daytona Beach Bike Week!