The highlight of the Friday’s Daytona action was an incredible race for Maple Ridge, BC’s Steve Crevier in the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XR1200 race. The Motosport Plus/Dominion Lending/Motorhead-backed racer had very little practice on Thursday due to mechanical problems, leaving him 11th on the starting grid. Crevier however quickly moved through the field to fight amongst the top three motorcycles, briefly leading the race before finishing in 5th, just 0.37 seconds behind winner Tyler O’Hara.
To emphasize his impressive performance, the fiesty 47-year-old managed the quickest lap of the race as well as the highest average speed at 153.505 mph. Since the XR’s don’t run tomorrow, the Crevier crew was celebrating on Main Street in Daytona and not available for comment.
Daytona 200 competitors Kenny Riedmann and Ben Young dropped their times on Friday, Riedmann finishing 5th in the morning session before dropping to 14th at the end of the second stanza. Riedmann’s crew chief Sandy Noce of Pro 6 Cycle (Toronto) and his 6-time AMA Daytona experience has been a real asset for the Daytona rookie. “We did a lot of work on the bike last night to get it right. even our gearing was wrong,” Riedmann said. “It’s important to get the bike’s ergonomics set up correctly as the wind and banking forces don’t allow you to adjust your body on the bike once you get on the banking.”
Riedmann is really enjoying his first Daytona experience, but still has much knowledge to gain. “I’m still learning the nuances of the track and I know I can go faster; I haven’t put together a perfect lap yet”, he stated after Friday’s final qualifyign session. A red flag at the end of the qualifier negated a would-be 12th position for the youngster from Belfountain, ON.
Young was just warming up and getting into a groove when the red flag came out. His times had dropped consistently on the same tires they used in the morning session. Fresh rubber late in the session fell victim to bad timing.
“We had just put a new tire on when the red flag came out with about 7 minutes left,” team manager Scott Young commented. “We never got a flying lap in on it.” Daytona officials decided to close the session because of a large oil spill that couldn’t be cleaned up in time. The frustration of leaving some of your best effort on the table is a hard thing for racers to deal with, but Young took it well.
“That’s racing,” Young stated plainly. “I plan on getting a good start tomorrow and playing it smart.” The Daytona 200 is not just about the rider, of course, and so after qualifying the Fogi/BYR Racing crew was practicing tire changes and fueling in advance of tomorrows race.
Darren James had a disappointing round with a crash yesterday in Daytona Sportbike practice after also crashing his XR1200 ‘A’ bike before the race. Never one to give in, James fought to the end, mounting a backup XR for the final, but the bike suffered mechanical problems shortly into the race. James was notably disappointed and in a Facebook post indicated that his XR1200 motorcycles were up for sale.
The last Canadian to race on Friday was Winnipeg native Jordan Imrie. “We kind of threw him into the deep end,” a TPL Racing member shared with us about the Daytona rookie’s entry into the Supersport division at this legendary circuit. “He’s only completed 2 expert races.” Imrie settled his nerves and had a fair result, climbing up five positions in the field from 33rd to 28th in a field of 53 riders during Supersport Race 1. Imrie too felt he could have done better.
“It turns out we are about 12 horsepower down on the rest of the field,” he admitted post-race. “I may switch back to the bike that I had the low-side with on Thursday afternoon.
The young Imrie is still in his early years as a racer, and was soaking in the Daytona experience for all it was worth.
“I’m just ecstatic to be here. Big thanks to TPL Racing, Leo Vince, American Honda, Nexx Helmets, Racer Glove USA, Jet Tuning, Capit, and the coaching from Jake Zemke has been priceless.”
Over on the short track oval, Doug Lawrence and Don Taylor again struggled to go deep in AMA Flat Track GNC Singles eliminations. Lawrence, from Mississauga, ON, finished 5th in his semi heat, with Taylor (Port Colborne, ON) coming in 8th in the same heat. Neither would make it to the Main Event.
The Canadians will wrap up racing tomorrow, starting with SuperSport Race 2 at 10am. The Daytona 200 will start at 1pm. Stay tuned to Inside Motorcycles for the latest and visit our Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/inside_motorcyc
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