DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Nineteen-year-old Canadian Ben Young earned eighth place in the 72nd running of the Daytona 200 aboard the #86 Tim Hortons-Sudbury/BYR Yamaha R6 on March 16, his best finish yet in the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona Sportbike class.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona Sportbike competitors battled unseasonably cool conditions at the legendary Daytona International Speedway leading up to this year’s Daytona 200. Temperatures of 39°F/4°C and a slippery track presented a variety of set up challenges for the BYR team during Friday morning’s first of two qualifying sessions. Young qualified 10th in the first session.
Young and the BYR team were eager to improve on his starting position during the second qualifying session and gambled on saving a fresh set of Dunlop tires for the waning laps of the session. With less than 10 minutes remaining Young pitted for some fresh rubber to attack the Daytona banking with a few fast laps. However, another rider had mechanical issues that triggered a red flag, unexpectedly ending the session and Young’s hopes of bettering his starting position.
Although he improved his times significantly over the last two days Young would find himself starting from 17th on the highly competitive grid.
“Ben never got a flying lap in on his new tires but it was impressive to see what kind of times Ben was putting in on used Dunlops,” said BYR team manager Scott Young. “Some things are just out of your control and when it comes to the safety of all the riders the Daytona officials did the right thing. It’s still tough to stomach leaving your best laps on the table.”
Sponsor and mentor Lang Hindle, of Hindle Exhaust Systems, reassured the young resident of Thornbury, Ont. and reminded him to refocus on the day ahead.
With Friday’s challenges behind him Young was eager to put his Jerry Daggett prepared Tim Hortons-Sudbury/BYR Yamaha R6 through its paces during the morning warm-up, which saw Young achieve 11th fastest in the session.
Decked-out in his new AXO gear the Canadian privateer took to the grid knowing that the key to getting up to the lead pack would be all in the start. Young bolted off the line and quickly moved into 15th place and continued his charge forward.
Twenty minutes into the race Young already had his sights on 11th, which he quickly acquired.
The first of two mandatory pit stops was executed flawlessly by the Tim Hortons-Sudbury/BYR crew getting Young quickly back into the mix. Within a handful of laps Young promptly piloted his #86 Yamaha R6 into 10th place.
With 32 laps behind him Young moved up to ninth place with the BYR team preparing for the second and final mandatory stop of the race. During the first pit stop the team opted only to change the rear tire, however this time it would be two new Dunlop tires and fuel.
There was a bit of confusion in the Tim Hortons-Sudbury/BYR pits as Young was expected two laps before he eventfully appeared entering pit lane for his final stop. These extra laps seriously put Young’s race in jeopardy as there was only half a litre of fuel remaining in his tank. It was determined that visibility of the pit board was an issue however this minor setback had no effect on the execution of the final pit stop of the race.
With eighth place in Young’s grasp he quickly seized the spot which he held right to the checkered flag.
“I had expectations coming to Daytona but starting from 17th made them seem a bit unrealistic,” Young explained. “My Tim Hortons-Sudbury/BYR Yamaha R6 ran amazing and allowed me to charge hard throughout the entire race. I have to give it up to the entire team who executed two trouble-free pit stops with amazing precision. I’m so pumped right now and I can’t wait to see what we can do this season.”
Cameron Beaubier went on to win the 72nd Daytona 200 followed by Garrett Gerloff in second and Bobby Fong in third.
Young’s eighth place finish betters his previous AMA Pro GoPro Daytona Sportbike class-best finish of 12th that he achieved at the end of last season at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans, where he last rode his 600cc Yamaha R6.
Ben Young and the BYR team would like to thank Tim Hortons – Sudbury, Scotbuild Developments, Fogi Racing Development, Arai Helmets, AXO, GP Tech LLC, Hindle Exhaust Systems, KICK Energy Drink, K&N Filters, Performance Cycleworx , Performance Friction Brakes, BCL Motorsports Pit Kit, Vortex Racing, Motul Oils, Bickle Racing Tire Warmers and The North American International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW, the fans and family, and a special thank you to the crew of Jerry Daggett, TJ Fahey, Mick Vaclavic, Zach Herrin, Kris Garvie, Stuart MacDonald, Graham Bennie, Taylor Bennie and Tom Vallee.
To keep up to date on Ben Young throughout the year visit www.fogi.us, www.facebook.com/BenYoungRacing and on Twitter @bcyoung86.
–From Tim Hortons-Sudbury/BYR Yamaha