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The Vallee Report - Just some random thoughts while I wait for our race season to begin.

With no more Supercross action in Toronto, Gary, Heather, Kim and I headed to Ford Field in Detroit to join many other Canadians taking in the action (the B-Team was out in full force). After a quick stop at Dollar Tree in Mexican town (everything is a dollar but they still have a flyer???), we headed to Nemo’s for a quick bite before the race. Voted the number three best sports bar in America, Nemo’s only serves chicken and fries or burgers and fries but those burgers are the bomb. Off to the race and like every other Supercross event I have attended, it was excellent. It seems to be a great mix of intense racing mixed with tremendous entertainment energy. With the excited announcer who has to be hopped up on Red Bull, pyrotechnics and endless action, Supercross never fails to please. Bonus for us as it was a Triple Crown Race so extra feature races were on the menu.

I feel like a fool but I’ve never noticed Detroit’s fascination with predatory cats until I hit the concrete jungle of downtown. Detroit Lions. Detroit Tigers. What the hell were the Red Wings thinking? Didn’t like Detroit Cheetahs? Or maybe the Detroit Cougars? I guess that last one may be a totally different column…….

Speaking of Supercross, is there anybody out there who picked Cooper Webb to possibly take the title other than perhaps Cooper Webb’s mom? Webb is a contender every week and is looking pretty good on that bright orange KTM. Stay tuned.

AFT has done a complete flip on the front fender rule. After banning front fenders last season, they are mandatory for this year. This change could have a bit to do with safety but I’m guessing with increased manufacturer support it has more to do with the bikes looking more like the ones you see in your local showroom. Regardless, more manufacturers involved in the sport is always a good thing.

The first AFT round is in the books as the Daytona TT took place on March 14th. Alex Dumas and Brodie Buchan took their shot at the TT but despite valiant efforts, they were unable to make the final in the event which saw 64 riders competing for just 16 spots in the Singles main event. 57-year-old motorsports legend Jeff Ward tried at the TT as well, but a bad start in his semi wrecked his chances of making the final. I attended the first two Daytona TT’s and watched this one on the computer but I’m still not a fan of the layout. The two hairpin turns at the end of the track just don’t do it for me. Shouldn’t there be at least one turn were the riders are on the gas in full lock, with both feet up on the pegs powering out of the corner?

A couple of days after the Daytona TT there was an outlaw race at New Senoia Raceway in Georgia, which is a clay short track. Buchan and Trent Pickle took part and as a fan I’ll admit the racing was fun to watch although I still get sketched out by the concrete walls that surround many of the American venues. Social media lit up after this race as fans praised the many different racing lines available to the riders and the action that created. I almost feel bad because practically every track we have in Canada offers a multitude of racing lines with incredible action at each round. The Dash for Cash race from our round at Flamboro Downs last year has been shared well over 600 times on social media receiving plenty of praise, mostly by excited residents of the US. Cross the bridge and come see us my American friends. I promise it will be worth it.

How cool is it to be Sean Dylan Kelly right now? The 16-year-old not only finished a very close second in the Daytona 200 but he actually sat on the pole for the race. Picture most of the other 16-year-olds in North America playing video games while Kelly was riding at death defying speeds around the most iconic superspeedway in the world. Wonder if he is on the radar for any MotoGP teams?

Don Galloway had another successful trip to Georgia and Florida during Bike Week. Riding pretty well every vintage class you can think of on his fleet of pristine bikes, Galloway once again gained his share of podiums throughout the week. Congrats Don. Dustin Brown ran some races at Bike Week as well and picked up the checkered flag in the Super Singles class at Volusia Speedway.

Family day has come and gone and like many others I consider those in the racing world to be “family.” I was pleased to get a call from CSBK Series announcer Frank Wood on Family Day and we spent a good two hours talking about everything regarding two wheels. I have shared the announcer’s booth many times with Frank and have the utmost respect and admiration for him. After a few years now I think the feeling is ALMOST mutual. Thanks for the call my friend. We’ll see you at the track soon.

Finally, my wife and I cancelled our annual trip to Bike Week this year choosing instead to allocate those funds towards a trip to Cuba for us and the kids. We had a blast in Cuba and I don’t regret our decision for a moment. Two days after getting home from Cuba however my daughter hopped on a plane with some friends and flew to Bike Week without mom and dad. Well played Taylor. Well Played.

Friday, 29 March 2019 20:15 Published in The Vallee Report

The Vallee Report – Daytona Bike Week’s Top Five List

With Daytona Bike Week only a couple of weeks away, many Canadians will be headed to the Sunshine State for a little two-wheeled fun. While I won't be able to attend this year, last year’s Bike Week was the logical destination for a little fun with my buddy Gary as we were both celebrating our 50th birthday. With our wives Kim and Heather in tow along with friends John, Irene and Brent, we invaded Daytona and did our best to fill our week with good times. Although your list may differ from mine, here are five great things to check out in Daytona if you happen to be making the trip this year.

Daytona Supercross. In a series that is normally set inside stadiums, there is something special about taking in the race at Daytona International Speedway. While the track layout is quite different from the norm, there is still plenty of action to get the crowd fired up in the giant grandstand. Under the stars the bikes seem to stand out a little more and the fireworks seem to pop just a little brighter. The event was perhaps even more special in 2018 as Justin Brayton took his first ever main event victory and in the process, became the oldest ever Daytona winner in history. Congrats Justin.

Daytona TT. Also taking place at the speedway, the Daytona TT is the season opener for the AFT series. Like Supercross, there is something a little different about seeing your favourite flat track stars do battle inside the giant speedway. With 2019 being the third Daytona TT event, AFT has modified the track layout to include a paved stretch of the iconic superspeedway which could prove to be a game changer come race night. Along with the races at the speedway there is also a huge motorcycle midway with everything from demo rides to parts, gear and so much more. You can easily spend a full day at the Speedway and still wouldn't be able to take in all it has to offer.

Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona. Located about 15 miles north of Daytona Beach, Rossmeyer’s little slice of heaven can maybe be best described as a day camp for bikers. Over 150-plus acres where you can find a 109,000-square-foot Harley showroom, a hotel, restaurants and more. Much like Daytona there are vendors everywhere, bands playing, beer chilling and just overall good times. Last year while visiting Rossmeyer's we saw the Wall of Death, the Globe of Death and all kinds of meat on sticks that may clog your arteries and lead to your death… While bikers are given the best spots for parking, they do provide a shuttle from the far side of the property for those driving cars.

Daytona 200 Monument. Located beside the beach not far from Main Street, the Daytona Monument is a tribute to the original Daytona beach races and the origins of bike week. The monument itself is stunning with granite plaques honouring past and current racers. The project was spearheaded by Dick Klamfoth who happened to win the 200 in ’49, ’51 and ’52. Klamfoth was on hand for the ceremony last year and along with him I spoke to Hall of Fame announcer Pat Gonsalves, flagman extraordinaire Kevin Clark, flat track pro Sammy Halbert and many others. AFT Chaplain Raymond Rizzo was also on hand to speak about a few of the motorcycle greats we had lost recently including Jamison Minor and the man with the great voice Barry Boone. You can easily spend hours here reading all the plaques and stones and you can even purchase your own customized brick to go into the design surrounding the monument.

Main Street. The best way to describe Main Street is to say it is like Port Dover on steroids. The street is lined on both sides with bikes, people and bars. Every bar has three things in common; cold beer, street meat and great bands. You won’t hear much Justin Bieber or Abba here, but you will get your share of AC DC, Aerosmith, and Def Leppard. Somehow, we always ended up at The Boot Hill Saloon and I drank my share of cheap beer to ensure I had some cash left for some of the delicious shooters. Canadian racing dad James Phibbs showed me some great dance moves and I even got to see one happy/tired patron being wheeled home in a luggage cart one night! Remember though, throttles and bottles don’t mix so if you are going to partake in the festivities leave your two-wheeler at the condo.

Thursday, 21 February 2019 18:49 Published in The Vallee Report