GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Riders Gearing Up for 72nd Running of Daytona 200
NEWS March 8, 2013
Photo by Brian J Nelson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 8, 2013) - The Daytona 200 remains the cornerstone of Daytona’s historic Bike Week festivities and will once again feature the stars of AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike (DSB) in a grueling 200-mile battle pitting man and machine as they take on the traditional 3.51-mile, 12-turn speedway road course. The 72nd running will provide another chance for one rider to claim victory and stamp their name in the record books alongside some of the biggest names in the history of the sport.
The Daytona 200 is the only endurance race slated on the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing schedule in 2013. The riders will not only have to maintain a blistering pace to keep their names high on the running order, they’ll also have to rely on their respective pit crew to use quick and tactical maneuvers during their pit stops. Races are often won and lost in the pits, one slip up while replacing a tire or even a delayed refuel can mean the difference between victory and defeat. As if there wasn’t enough on the line already, a Rolex watch will be granted to the rider who qualifies the fastest and acquires pole position.
In 2012, fans witnessed a 57-lap shootout come down to a photo finish as Joey Pascarella (Riders Discount Triumph) edged out previous defending Daytona 200 champion Jason DiSalvo (Team Latus Motors Racing/Triumph) by a mere .048 seconds to take home the win. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha Extended Service/Graves) and eventual 2012 GoPro Daytona SportBike champion Martin Cardenas (Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing) were also less than a second off the lead as the cluster of superstars crossed the finish line for the final time.
This year’s DSB roster again features an interesting mix of seasoned vets and rising stars. While two-time champ Martin Cardenas (2010, 2012) returns to the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike ranks, the talent pool is arguably deeper for 2013. Dane Westby, who finished second in the 2012 Daytona SportBike Championship with one win and nine podium appearances, will ride the GEICO Motorcycle-branded #5 Honda CBR600RR in 2013 and is primed for a run at the title this season.
Quite possibly the biggest storyline for GoPro Daytona SportBike heading into the 2013 season is the addition of National Guard/Celtic Racing rider James Rispoli. The Ormond Beach, Fla. resident made the switch after dominating in AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport competition in 2011 and 2012, winning two consecutive overall SuperSport championships. At just 21 years old, Rispoli has already made his mark on the sport and is now looking to add a GoPro Daytona SportBike Championship to his resume in 2013.
Yamaha’s SportBike charge will be led by Graves R6 rider Cameron Beaubier. After lighting up the radar gun in 2012 and falling just short at last year’s Daytona 200, the kid from California has the title in his sights and has made himself a perennial contender. Beaubier got hot at season’s end last year as he recorded wins in seven of the last 11 races and looks to carry over his momentum into 2013. Another Graves rider aiming for the podium this season is 17-year-old Garrett Gerloff. The young star is one of many talented riders making the transition from SuperSport to Daytona SportBike in 2013. Gerloff recorded his lone win of 2012 late in the season at NOLA Motorsports Park and has claimed victories in each of his first two seasons on the circuit.
RoadRace Factory/Red Bull rider J.D. Beach will be gunning for the podium at Daytona. The multi-discipline competitor has raced in both GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track events at Daytona International Speedway in previous seasons, often racing between the two tracks to make the next qualifying session. After a monster 2012 campaign in DSB which included landing in sixth place in the overall point standings, four top 10 finishes and 17 top-five finishes, the versatile Beach is poised for a repeat season in 2013, and it all begins in Daytona. Beach will be flanked by teammate Jake Gagne, who looks to rebound this season after finishing just outside the top 10 in the 2012 Daytona SportBike final point standings.
After taking the entire 2011 season off, Bobby Fong returned to the circuit last season and finished eighth in the Daytona SportBike point standings. Fong has since inked a deal with newly merged Triple Crown Industries/Richie Morris Racing with sponsorship from Motosport.com. For 2013, he will not only be competing for the Daytona SportBike crown but will also be racing in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. The California native will have large shoes to fill as Richie Morris Racing has backed some of the finest road racing talent in the United States, including the likes of 2011 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series Champion Chris Fillmore and 2011 DSB champ Danny Eslick.
Last year, thousands of avid race fans flocked to the “World Center of Racing” to catch a 57-lapper that was filled with some of the best motorcycle racing in the world. This year, the stars of DSB are back and are ready to deliver. The coveted Daytona 200 checkered flag is up for grabs and each rider knows the importance of this race. From young and hungry talent to wise and experienced veterans, the 2013 grid is filled with superstars willing to do whatever is needed to cross the finish line first.
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