The first day of AMA racing proved to be challenging for Canadians, but they all pulled through with guts and grit on what proved to be a very slippery track in the morning that slowly improved as the day went on.
In Daytona SportBike 200 qualifying action, event rookie Kenny Riedmann was one of five riders who crashed in the slippery chicane section and was noticeably disappointed after the early morning session. The afternoon session proved much more friendly, though the team is still ironing out fueling issues and further mapping is required.
After the second session, Riedmann was back to his fun loving, personable self. “I didn’t want to sop after I got the checkered flag to end the session, I had such a huge smile on my face,” he remarked. “I feel confident and know I can go faster.”
Ben Young also struggled in the morning session with the slick conditions, partially attributed to the cool and windy weather. He was well off his personal best, but so was most of the field. After finishing 15th overall in the first session, Young dropped 2.5 seconds in the second session but dropped one position to 16th. “I was cautious today with all the fallen riders,” Young admitted after the race. “16th overall is a good base that we can improve on. I’m hoping for better conditions tomorrow morning so I can push a little harder.”
Darren James rounded out the Canadian Daytona 200 competitors, but suffered a fall when his Yamaha R6 tucked the front end. James spent some time in the medical centre but still made it into Harley-Davidson XR1200 practice action, toughing out his injuries to finish 14th in both sessions while barely being able to mount the bike.
Steve Crevier’s pit crew battled a mechanical gremlin in both sessions that left him with very little track time. The wily veteran proved his grit by finishing within one second of second place, but he’ll be looking to improve on his current 13th place standing.
In Suopersport action, Winnipeg’s Jordan Imrie had a mid-pack effort with in both sessions at 32nd and 33rd respectively, but the track claimed another Canadian, with Imrie falling in the 2nd session.
Over on the dirt track, Canadians Doug Lawrence and Don Taylor struggled; the pair qualified 22nd and 33rd, respectively, but both made the semis and finished 4th and 5th in their respective races. Unfortunately, neither was quick enough to make the main.
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