Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Daytona 200- Great Day for The Italians at Daytona!

The Daytona 200- Great Day for The Italians at Daytona
 March 12. 2011

The 70th edition of America’s most historic motorcycle race has gone into the history books with a spectacular finish seeing 6 riders in competition for 1st place on the final lap. Two of those riders crashed (uninjured) at the finish line as Jason DiSalvo rode the Ducati 848 to a first ever victory for the Italian manufacturer. All this with a light breeze, temperature in the 70s and a sunny Florida sky. Sounds great, doesn’t it. Well it could have been had it not been for the promoters, AMA Pro Sports & Daytona Motorsports Group who managed a great race to mediocrity.

  1. Competitors were provided (sold) tires that were unreliable and unpredictable under race conditions. This after live tire tests, one in January and another “secret test” in February.

  1. At about 18 laps, the first of 2 pit stops, front tires showed excessive wear and began to fail. The seriousness of the situation was emphasized when Danny Eslick crashed due to a front tire failure on lap 25 of the scheduled 57 lap race.

  1. AMA & Dunlop got together and decided to stop the race (red flag) for a mandatory front tire change for all riders. (can’t argue this from the standpoint of rider safety, but, it should not have been necessary, see # 1)

  1. Mounting and changing a front tire should take a maximum of 15 minutes.   Teams that I talked to said they were ready to go in 30 minutes. However the red flag lingered for almost 2 hours. Then the controlling AMA people shortened the race to 142 miles because they did not have enough tires to go the 200 miles, particularly considering the questionable tire reliability.  

  1. The long delay allowed for the eventual winning Ducati/DiSalvo team to replace the engine that blew out on the final green lap before the race was stopped.

  1. The delay resulted in SPEED TV abandoning the race leaving viewers to a tape delay late night continuation.

Summary: Some great riding and racing overshadowed by poor race management resulted in the Great American Motorcycle Race being relegated to a 15 lap sprint with no live TV coverage. The winner required 2 engines to run for 142 miles. They should have had a DNF/blown engine instead of the winner’s trophy.