TWMX Race Report: Round 12, Daytona

Everything about the Daytona supercross is bigger. A bigger course, stretched through the infield grass of Daytona’s famous high-banked tri-oval. Bigger lap times—almost double the length of the lap times at last weekend’s race in Indy, and also bigger fields (30 riders for the 250cc main), But the prestige might be the biggest thing of all. Crammed in along with the Daytona 200 and the rest of bike week, a win at Daytona is huge, and maybe second only to the season-opener at Anaheim in importance to the riders and factories.

Quirks? This race had a few. It’s the only event on the supercross schedule that isn’t promoted by Clear Channel Entertainment, but also the one that has same-day TV coverage on Speed Channel. Spectators are further from the action than at all the other venues, and the track itself is somewhat unusual. Assembled by Gary Bailey, rather than the Dirt Wurx crew that does the rest of the events, and it has a variety of surfaces. There’s the sand that’s native to the area, a white shale material, and red clay jumps.

Pre-Race and Qualifier Notes

Unfortunately, torrential rains turned it all into a rather big mucky mess. Daytona’s always known for being rough and tough, but this year’s event especially looked more like an outdoor national than a regular supercross.

Ricky Carmichael came to Daytona looking to tie Jeff Stanton’s Daytona record of four straight win, and was closing in on the all-time win list, with only four to go to surpass Jeremy McGrath’s win total.

Last year David Vuillemin had to sit out Daytona with a shoulder injury. This year wasn’t any more kind to the fastest Frenchman in the supercross series, when he nosed the front end of his Yamaha in on a timing section, and went down hard. He didn’t make it back for his semi, instead seeking medical treatment.

Brock Sellards and Branden Jesseman took wins in their respective 125cc heat races.

Josh Woods surprised his KTM teammate, Joaquim Rodrigues, by taking a win in heat one of the 250cc class.

Sean Hamblin grabbed the holeshot in the second 250cc heat, but a yard sale crash behind him brought out a red flag and caused a complete restart. Ezra Lusk took advantage of that, and won with a lead in the half-minute range. Ricky Carrmichael put a similar whuppin’ on his heat race (yes, there were three heats instead of the usual two).

Main Events

Paul Currie bagged the holeshot in the 125cc main, but Shae Bentley quickly went by him and enjoyed a relatively mud-free view…for about half a lap. Behind him, Brett Metcalfe was moving quickly forward, and got by Bentley to grab the lead. Mike Brown was also moving forward, settling into third spot.

During lap two, Brown and Bentley started to battle, and Branden Jesseman moved up to join them.

Mike Brown started to reel in Metcalfe on lap three, and Jesseman went by Bentley for third. Then, in the same spot where David Vuillemin had crashed earlier in the day, Metcalfe went down. Brown nearly got tangled in the carnage of Metcalfe’s downed bike, but went into the lead.

Branden Jesseman was cranking out fast laps, and was reeling in Mike Brown on lap four, and went by him in a timing section.

The leader board stayed the same till the midway point of the main, when Jesseman lost the front end in a corner, and handed the lead back to Brown. At that point, it was Brown, Shae Bentley, Jesseman, and Brock Sellards.

A couple laps later, Jesseman went by Bentley for second spot, and other than one heart-stopping moment for Brown where he ran over his own leg and tipped over in a corner (he restarted before losing a position), and Sellards making a charge to try and get by Bentley for the third podium spot (all for naught), that’s how it finished.

Mike Brown took to infield grass and spun soome well-deserved donuts on the big Daytona logo, Earnhardt-style. This was a huge win for Pro Circuit, Kawasaki, and Brownie.

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125cc Main-Daytona (East round 4)

  1. Mike Brown
  2. Branden Jesseman
  3. Shae Bentley
  4. Brock Sellards
  5. Kelly Smith
  6. Brett Metcalfe
  7. Troy Adams
  8. Tyson Hadsell
  9. Michael Blose
  10. Erick Vallejo
  11. Joshua Summey
  12. Matthieu Lalloz
  13. Jeff Gibson
  14. Ryan Morais
  15. Steve Boniface
  16. Ryan Mills
  17. Kevin Johnson
  18. Clinton Shealy III
  19. Jacob Marsack
  20. Colt Humphrey
  21. Paul Currie
  22. Jeremy Chaussee

Larry Ward continued his string of great starts with another holeshot in the 250cc main, though Ricky Carmichael went by him immediately after the first turn.

After a bobble by Ward, which saw his feet flying in all directions (but thankfully no crash), Chad Reed moved into second spot and looked like he was going to make a race of it. He charged and got close to RC, but got fed a faceful of sand roost from the back wheel of the Honda, which slowed his forward progress. Sean Hamblin also got a good start, and was sitting in fourth spot.

On lap five, Tim Ferry went by Ward, jumping up to the third spot. At this point, ruts were already starting to achieve bike-eating proportions.

The standings stayed like this for much of the rest of the main, with the exception of RC extending his lead over Reed to nearly a quarter-minute, and over Ferry by almost a minute. He also lapped everyone but Reed and Ferry.

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Travis Preston put in a great ride on the big Honda 450 to take fourth.

RC now leads Chad Reed by 25 points…a full race win worth.

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250cc Main-Daytona (Round 12)

  1. Ricky Carmichael
  2. Chad Reed
  3. Tim Ferry
  4. Travis Preston
  5. Ezra Lusk
  6. Danny Smith
  7. Nick Wey
  8. Larry Ward
  9. Heath Voss
  10. Sean Hamblin
  11. Ernesto Fonseca
  12. Keith Johnson
  13. Paul Carpenter
  14. Ryan Clark
  15. Tyler Evans
  16. Jason Thomas
  17. Doug Dehaan
  18. Joseph Oehlhof
  19. Clark Stiles
  20. Barry Carsten
  21. Greg Schnell
  22. James Povolny Jr.
  23. Jimmy Wilson
  24. Damon Huffman
  25. Scott Metz
  26. Scott Davis
  27. Jon Boruff
  28. Joshua Woods
  29. Joaquim Rodrigues
  30. Andrew Short