“Early on, being behind Blake and Marvin, was very tough; they were running an intense pace.”
Cast as Kawasaki’s most highly touted championship prospect, Eli Tomac could be considered a real-life, “Hulk” character, to many of his adoring fans in the crowd. A hero to many of the youngsters that sat along the sidelines of this infamous Daytona Raceway, there were children who simply marveled over the relic of the number three machine. A true warrior armed to the hilt with talents and trades rarely seen, the way he could man the rocket ship of the green 450 below, was something of superhuman fashion. Greeting fans and friends alike with a Herculean like figure, he would take the track for practice, looking to capture the crowd’s attention immediately. Attempting a portion of tripling combinations, in the section just before the dragon’s back, Tomac was searching for the tiniest bit of separation, in regards to creative line selection. Etching his way toward the top of the leaderboard, there was no question that by night’s end, he very well could be the one on the top step of the podium. The field was in a heap of trouble, almost immediately; as Tomac’s notoriously lackluster starting nature, was reversed to the fullest extent, blazing by the mass of the field with honors of a holeshot. Hitting the “SX” triple before the whoops, a subtle whipping of the chassis would have him looking unreasonably comfortable, despite having twenty-one of the best 450 riders in the world just behind him. Landing every section from then on out in near flawless fashion, he couldn’t help but envision the throne being given to him, after the twenty-minute main event would conclude; he would eventually go onto win the heat race, leading every lap in the process. The main event was up next, and he would be contending with the likes of Webb, Baggett, and Musquin, almost immediately. Baggett seemed to warrant an issue of high notice, the way he was blazing the track and torching the field behind; but Tomac was having none of it, and would attempt to put out the flame with numerous passing attempts. Leaping back and forth, Tomac would give Baggett a taste of his own medicine, by jumping yards out onto the start straight off the anthill. In an unforeseen launching attempt, Tomac would make his way around Baggett for good, after nearly sliding out in the corner before the finish line just prior to. With his feet hanging off the pegs, the pass would forecast what Eli was willing to do, in order to obtain victory. Never letting go of the respective throttle in his right hand, he would truly bulldog the chassis around this deteriorating raceway, leaving no inch of track untraveled. Lap after lap, he would remain consistent, until the checkered flag would fly. A much needed victory, Tomac walked away from the podium stoked on his performance.
“The track broke down really bad tonight.”
Coming into the round of Daytona, all in attendance wanted to know, if Cooper Webb could keep his period of winning ways alive; burning out on the concrete of the speedway once all was said and done. Riding in a truly astonishing effort prior to this point of the championship, Webb’s confidence was as high as ever when he walked to the line for practice. A sly grin under the shell of his helmet, he would nod his head in subtle fashion, blipping the throttle and awaiting the green flag to drop for qualification. The KTM would begin to absolutely rip the turf of the infield to shreds, as parts of the track would reflect the sands of Glamis, much less that of a normal Supercross track. One of the first to launch the multiple tabletop triple combination, he was flying well into the twenty foot range of pure airtime. There was no question as to whether Cooper Webb had the pure speed to conquer this Floridian round, it was if he could do it for the entire sector of the main event, that was the true riddle. The heat race had him staring off in seventh, which would be undesirable to many; but he would use it as a positive, taking unorthodox lines as he carved through the pack, his KTM as slick as they come. Moving into fourth in the closing laps, he would sit just behind both, Cole Seely and Joey Savatgy. Although the aforementioned names were serious contenders, held in the highest regard by many, Webb looked at them as merely average riders, who needed to be passed. And it would work, as he would take second when crossing timing and scoring for the final time. The main event was then his for the taking, and he would try his best to power the 450 in superb fashion off the start. Immediately doing his best to shoot for the inside portion of the corner, he would watch from afar as Baggett, Tomac, and Musquin would begin to make their moves. Baggett was the man who looked to have the rawest of speed first, but would slowly trickle back as mistakes would begin to accumulate. Tomac would then pounce, and Cooper Webb would begin to configure his way into the runner-up ride, distancing himself from Marvin Musquin, after the number twenty-five stalled the machine. Now, in a bit of a lull in the depths of second place, he could feel Marvin begin to steadily creep into his rearview. Doing his best to tally up the points totals for the evening, the two would nearly be a reflection of one another, with Webb pulling a gap before the finish line, while Marvin reeled him in within the deep sand. Nearly side-by-side, Webb would then display enormous amounts of resiliency, keeping the number two in the runner-up spot for the rest of the race’s entirety.
“I was charging very hard tonight, but at the same time, making mistakes.”
Although a native of overseas, Marvin Musquin has been one to adapt to all facets of U.S. lifestyle, especially the racing culture in our North American continent. Conforming to the technicality of Supercross almost immediately, he has graced fans with his presence for numerous years now, keeping the team at KTM happy, with every race he competes in. He’s been at exceptional at Daytona in years past, and hoped to duplicate his success again this year, as the round would come to a commencement. In practice, he would demonstrate a superb effort of competitiveness, constantly competing against himself for stronger times. It was a continuous circle of fierce efforts, where he could be found lunging forward to the best of his abilities. Seat-hopping everything in sight, the way he was tackling these particular rhythm sections, were truly an act of amazement; something he hoped to carry through the day, as nightfall were on the brink. For the heat race, his start was less than stellar, and the opening few corners were that of pure survival. Knowing that he would have to try and weed his way through the pack, he would swipe through tearoff’s at a jaw-dropping pace, hoping to get a mere hint of clear vision. Finally making his way through the terrors of the top ten, he would be placed just behind Cole Seely, where fifth overall awaited him. For the main event, he would be bundled up with the likes of Blake Baggett, Eli Tomac, and Cooper Webb, dicing it up for the top four. In a trio of KTM’s, Tomac would be quickly overtaken by Musquin, and the duo would go back and forth, while the number four of Baggett would try and pull away. Jumping off track on occasion, it was all the number twenty-five could do to stay upright, while attempting to run down the number three, who’d worked his way by again. Making a costly error around lap six, his frustrations with Cooper Webb would continue; forcing him to stall the bike around the landmine section, in the following left-hander. Hitting the restart button over and over, he finally got the KTM to crank, and would be in hot pursuit of the position he once had. Making the move into the top four, he would situate himself past Blake Baggett, with a few tricky inside lines through the sand. It would then be a matter of he and Cooper Webb, where the two would simply terrorize this track beneath them. The way they were ripping these bowl turns, followed by just placing the machines on every inch of the track they wanted, was an act of truly exceptional riding. He couldn’t make the move past Webb once all was said and done, sliding the back end around on the last lap; however, the pace that the two were providing, was something that should’ve been applauded with the loudest of cheers.
As the series gets closer and closer to the final round, everyone within the top portion of the field, understands just how critical every position is. Each spot earned, is something that the series could come down to, once all is said and done within the championship standing. Blake Baggett realizes that, and knows he must put his best effort forward, each time he lines up behind the gate. For practice, he looked to scan the track far and wide, for the best groove possible. The track, already beginning to roughen up, would begin to break down from the middle; and as the laps accumulated, the field would disperse toward the edges. Pulling into the mechanics area, he would adjust the clickers accordingly; and then going onto set some of his fastest laps, of the session. Heading the line for the heat race, he was walking alongside his bike with a swagger like no other; knowing that if he could “show-out” in front of a crowd like this, all kinds of attention would be cast upon him. He would get out to a solid start to begin, looking to contend with the likes of Cole Seely, and push his way as close to the lead as possible. Hopping through the far-side rhythm lane as possible as possible, he and the other riders in tow, were jumping as far as eighty feet in length! Absolutely soaring through the air, his times would reflect his efforts to the front, keeping the number plate relatively clean through it all. The laps would trickle down, and he would take an astonishing victory. The main event would then be underway, with a fury of the world’s best riders contending for the absolute best spot possible. With the camera running alongside the finish line section, the speeds these riders were hitting were truly astonishing. Barreling into the following left-hander, his clutch lever would nearly drag the sand through the arc of the turn. He would be out front, absolutely launching through the raceway in the lead, but with Eli Tomac hot on his heels. Baggett would do all he could to sustain the gap, but Tomac was just a little too much for his liking, making the move on lap four. Meanwhile, Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb weren’t letting him get too far, so there was hardly any chance to breathe. Hitting the finish line, scrubbing the chassis to the right, he could hear the crowd roar as stormed through the section lap after lap. Letting his two KTM comrades around, he had a solid ride going, just inside the top five, from then on out. The white flag would then be thrown, and he would be placed in the fourth place overall.
With palm trees littering the track, many in attendance were at the facility on a bit of a vacation trip. The beautiful coast of Florida was mere miles away, a crisp ocean breeze would fill the air, and nothing but sand could be sprinkled within the toes of all. However, for Joey Savatgy, the trip to Daytona International Speedway, was all business. Putting all expenses on the company card, he soared into the pit area of this famous track, ready to go. Blitzing off the clay start line for practice, he would take a few laps to figure out these immaculate rhythm sections. Nearly a pure drag race of jumping action, he had to keep focus on just how far he was launching off these particular takeoff’s; otherwise he could be landing within the face off the next propulsion ramp. He would begin to figure out the course, little by little, mastering the track once all had concluded. Feeling rather spectacular when heading back to the pit area, he couldn’t wait for the racing portion of the event, to be underway. The field would then barrel into the first turn for the heat race, a few of the riders being forced to the outside concrete. Lingering around the third position, he knew he must continue in an ascending manner, otherwise the crowd would begin to engulf him in a midst of chaos. The track was beginning to develop with some solid lines, as he railed the section of back-to-back sandy chicanes. Keeping the 450 in a lugging manner, he made sure to keep the weight to the back of the motorcycle; otherwise, the front end could wash, in all hopes of transferring would be lost. Luckily he would stay relatively mistake free, putting the machine in a third place spot, and excited for the main event to come near. Launching off the line for the start of this battle royale, he would begin to clash with opposing riders immediately. Locking bars in a tussle of fierce combat, he knew he would have to keep his front end ahead of the pack, otherwise his momentum would be slashed to a halt. Trying his best to weasel through the treacherous landmine section, the chassis would slop side to side; but luckily he would have the core strength to keep the machine in a “north and south” manner. The laps would begin to trickle down, and he would begin to cement his placing into the fifth place ride; fifth place across the final registry of timing and scoring, he would walk away with a generous sum of points.
Zach Osborne is one of those riders, who’s able to flip the switch, so to speak. A cool, calm, collected demeanor a vast majority of the time, when the helmet is strapped on and the goggles are secured, he’s a competitor through and through. Balling the feeling of inner rage, aggression, and charisma, he looked to put his torch onto the track of Daytona beneath him. Walking alongside his bike as he proceeded to his respective starting area, his face beneath the snout of his helmet was as solemn as ever. It was an “all systems go” mode, where he was going to tackle this Daytona track with a sense of urgency, that hadn’t been shown at all of the respective rounds this year. Ceasing the moment, he was launching the triple, and accompanying rhythm sections on the first lap; keeping the throttle open to it’s maximum velocity, as he came toward the finish line. Soaring into the straightaway shortly thereafter, he was wheel-tapping whoops and moguls alike, hoping to squeeze out of every millisecond possible. Reaping dividends of success, he exited the raceway, heading back to the garage with a subtle thumbs up to the crowd. His shifting points would then be extremely precise as he came out of the launch pad, feeling the aggression of the 450 beneath him. Hitting the triple on the first lap, he could feel the intensity of the surrounding competition attempting to engulf him; but he couldn’t be overtaken, understanding that this race would be a battle of both will, and attrition. Each lap, he would attempt to slither away from Justin Bogle behind him. Stabbing the clutch in the deepest of sand sections, he was hoping that his rear wheel would create a storm of sorts, blurring the eyesight of anyone in his background. All seemed to be well, until a washout of sorts, had him flipping over the front end in the ending of the sand section! Remounting as quickly as he could, he wouldn’t lose a position. Taking fifth, he was eyeing the main event for a place to do damage. The pack would roar around the circuit for the first lap, as fans attempted to capture every bit of intensity with the capacity of their Iphone camera’s. With bulbs flashing in every parameter of the facility, he knew that this was the absolute pinnacle, in which he should display his talents. Flicking tearoff’s to the wayside as he skied over the “SX” triple, he would head into the following whoop section with the throttle absolutely pinned. The knees would grip the shrouds with the utmost intensity, leaving his adductors burning with immense fatigue. Continuing to stay loose, he could hear Justin Hill creeping up behind; however, he would keep his focus penetrated forward, zeroing in on the flags that were to be cast in the recent future. Each round would be clicked off, with laptimes now hovering within the one minute, twenty second range. He had to hold on, otherwise his placing of sixth overall would be an afterthought. Gripping the bars with an absolute white-knuckled grip, he would soar across the finish line with a sigh of relief; the aforementioned sixth, was his.
Viewing the track from above, in the ever so familiar “Goodyear Blimp” of sorts, riders and fans alike, could see just how many different types of soil were blended into this raceway. It was as though each composition represented a particular hue on the pallet of neutral colors. Light brown, dark brown, pure white, and even a section of black Florida soil, were spaced in respective portions across the track, in hopes of creating a treacherous race-course for these competitors. Justin Hill expected the worse, as far as track deterioration, by night’s end; knowing that this raceway would be split by the slimmest of knobbies, butchered as though it’d been hit with the sharpest of steak knives. He, meanwhile, would do his best to spray the compost onto the outlying concrete raceway, a testament to just how much energy his throttle and rear wheel were hoisting. Keeping the mechanism absolutely pegged to the gills as he jockeyed around this storied course, you could see just how much fun he was having, by viewing his riding style from the outside. It was as though every piece of airtime and launching of a double, he would take a hand from the handlebars, grabbing his helmet to display a sense of looseness. It was all dandelions and sunny skies so to speak, as he exited the raceway unscathed, accompanied with a strong qualifying time. The bike would absolutely burst off the line for the heat race, going into these bowl turns at nearly full speed. Riding the brim as long as he could, he would dive into the forthcoming sections, at time launching the motorcycle as far as he could. Choosing both inside and outside lines, you could see that the pack was beginning to venture further and further from the narrowest rut, knowing that at times, they were disadvantageous; and too deep for his liking. The chassis was dragging, yet he was still “pouring the coals” to the throttle, letting the waffle grip seemingly melt in his hand. By the time the white flag would come about, he would be sitting in eighth place; where he would reside. The main event clock would begin, and immediately he would position himself as a threat; keeping the machine on the straight and narrow path, he would do his best to try and find a suitable line, to save energy. Riding the banner-line so to speak, he was blitzing the whoop section to the best of his ability, before vaulting across the start straight. In an effort of madness, the halfway flags would come about; lingering near eighth, his pace from here on out would be critical. Otherwise the pack behind him would gain. He could see Roczen in the distance, as he took a subtle look over his shoulder. The gap would be sustainable to the finish line, where he would take seventh at the stripe.
Walking into the parameters of the Daytona International Speedway, Ken Roczen felt a certain aura around him, while gazing at the concrete course beneath him. A storied land of numerous battles, the pioneers of auto racing had proven their worth, on these particular grounds. Races for the ages, had also taken place on the green sod of the infield, with Supercross hosting their annual event, for numerous decades; something he watched as a child on the television screen. But now, it was his time to prove his worth, etching his name in the record books for all to see. He marveled at the track before practice, and could hardly wipe the grin from his face, as he took the opening laps for qualification. Each lap, it was as though his senses would heighten; and he would feel the bike and track morphing into a particular unit. Throwing the chassis every which way, he could be seen in a constant flutter of sitting and standing, realizing that he had to be efficient with his energy patterns, especially as the track got rougher. Sitting in a sound position on the leaderboard, he walked to the line for the heat race, ready to leave it all on the table. Pushing a feverish pace from the moment his tires hit the racing surface, the pack was two and three wide as they were held under the lights of the raceway. With fans cheering in close proximity, he could hear them roar, as Dean Wilson inched closer and closer; but he wasn’t letting the opponent by that easy. Although just a heat race, he knew the speckle of confidence that a move like that could bolster, and just wasn’t going to let any portion of enemy territory, around that easy. He would focus forward as a wheel would be shown, seeing him in adjacent view as he shot out of these particular chicaned-style sections. He would wish for the final flag to fly, and would be able to hold onto a second place finish behind Eli Tomac. Refueling the body with a little bit of electrolyte and carbohydrate mix, along with the bike and a antifreeze, race-fuel combination, all were ready to go as he boarded the line for the main event. Hovering near eighteenth, after a fall in the first sand corner, his mechanic would continue to relay his currently placing as he rounded the track lap after lap; although he knew about where he was, the definite reassurance was nice as he calculated and configured tabs in his head. He couldn’t get too lost in the algorithm however, as before he knew it, Justin Brayton was hot on his heels. The bike would begin to really loosen up, the brake rotor’s pinging as he went into the corners, and the accompanying chain slapping just a bit on the swing-arm. He had to make sure “old faithful” would hang on, as he crept in on the white flag. His crew chief would wave the team towel, a clockwise manner of forward motion as he set sail through the final rhythm lanes. Taking eighth at the stripe, he could walk away from the round with his head held high.
Working with the team all week, the boys of Justin Brayton’s crew had worked diligently in their efforts to prepare the machine for this weekend’s Daytona Supecross. A spectacle like no other, in many different facets, forced even the brightest of mechanics, to put their highest powers of critical thinking, on display. With a conundrum of setting the bike up for more outdoors, or Supercross styled-action, the team decided to split the configuration right down the middle; hoping to get the best of both worlds, as they headed to the starting line for practice. Visually trying to compress the suspension to the highest degree, he was purposefully over-jumping sections, just to get the forks to the bottom of their stroke. With the shock never budging an inch, he seemed to give a quick thumbs up to his guys behind the paddock area, and lay down some serious sprinting efforts, shortly thereafter. Satisfied with everything behind the bars, they would lock in to their respective set-up, just before the heat race. With the track being extremely rough for the first round of action, he would have to keep a stern grip on the handlebars, in order for the triple clamps not to slap the frame in a side-to-side motion. He could sustain the strength however, knowing that he packed the intensity to keep Ben Lamay behind him. Piecing together this cluster of rhythmic combinations, he was having to walk a tightrope, in order to propel into the air; otherwise the chassis would cross-rut, and he would subsequently crash into the ground. Keeping all in-tact, he would take a sixth place finish, as the clock would strike zero. It was then time to put it all on the line, as the 450 of his would sprint on the green flag lap. Scrubbing the daylights out of the finish line jump, he knew every second would be precious, in securing the ninth place ride over Chad Reed. Ruts were beginning to truly dig into the foundation of soil below them, as the more a rider would throttle out, the more the chassis would ring like a jackhammer when exiting the turn. Luckily, his forearm strength was up to bar, as many others would begin to flounder. The flags would begin to change colors, and the black and white rag would then fly into the wind. Holding it all together, he would take ninth overall, a respectable finish in conditions like these.
Coming into the round of Daytona, Chad Reed felt as though he had a clean slate to perform on. Yet it wasn’t as though the points of the past had been wiped away, a brand new contract from his team had been placed, or anything of that matter; it was that of the layout of the course, and how these notoriously treacherous riding conditions, would be favoring to his riding style. Practicing on replica tracks throughout the week, he felt adequately prepared to do damage, hoping to wreak havoc on the field as the gate would fall for this particular Saturday evening. Once the green flag began to wave for practice, the ground below would immediately be disintegrated. Chewed up and hurled out, by the rear of numerous 450cc machines, bumps were beginning to develop on the course, within the blink of an eye. Toying with different lines all throughout the particular sessions, he felt solid that he could do damage, once the races would begin. He did his best to stay within the rut that lay in front of the gate, as the field darted off the line for his heat race. Managing to stay out of harms way in the first couple of turns, he headed to the back of the raceway, launching off the “SX” triple. Side by side with dozens of cameras, they would record, as he would battle the daylights out of Zach Osborne. Clicking into fourth gear as they darted across the start straightaway, they would volley back and forth before hitting the “landmine section.” Littered with obstacles raring up to bite you, they would continue for laps on end. He would walk away with the upper hand, revealing his cards to the dealer, for a solid fourth place finish. The main event was then upon him, and he had to remind himself to breathe, as the racing got underway under the lights of Daytona. Wheel-tapping his way through the rollers after the finish line, the back end of the motorcycle would want to squirm; yet his leg and hip musculature could hold the chassis in a somewhat stable manner. He had to control this bucking bronco underneath him, otherwise the enemy of Dean Wilson behind him, would lasso him up once and for all. Trying to disguise the franticness being displayed within the shell of his helmet, he would then piece together solid portions of track, establishing a bit of a gap between he and the aforementioned. With the checkered flag flying, his final position of tenth would be where he would conclude.
“This was one of the toughest tracks all year; with the different combinations of sand, it got really rutty.”
With names like Zion Williamson and Saquon Barkley making daily headlines in national sports media, Supercross too has been breeding a young sensation of its own. Austin Forkner has truly lit the world of motorcycle racing aflame, as he’s contested the likes of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross Series; walking away with victory nearly every time he chooses to compete. With no shortage of opponents, he’s been willing to face the toughest of competitors, taking their best combination of punches, and countering with knockout blasts of his own. Coming into Daytona, he looked to keep the entirety of the field on the ropes yet again, begging for mercy, as he held them at his expense. It would start in practice, where Forkner was an attraction for all to see, forcing the crowd to flock to the fence line; anxiously awaiting to see just what move he would do next. Carrying enormous amounts of speed around the entire course, there wasn’t any section to be found on the track, where he would be off of the throttle. And this attitude would be carried into the heat race, where he would immediately get into the lead position. Rattling off lap after lap, it was almost as if he was in pure auto-pilot mode, the way he was conquering the trenches of this rugged Daytona track. Landing combinations that were simply mind-boggling, he soared over the multiple table-top section, pushing the chassis outbound into another realm of gravity (pulling a tear-off at the height of his summit as well). More laps in the lead would begin to accumulate, and the oh-so familiar referee would throw out the checkered flag in red-carpet fashion, with Austin exiting the raceway as the winner. The main event would be up next, and he would be just behind Kyle Peters to begin, fending off the likes of Justin Cooper in the process. Inching closer and closer to the Suzuki, the number twenty-four had enough around the three-lap mark, when he would move past Peters by the mechanic section. It was then, that disaster would almost strike; where Forkner would launch the aforementioned sky-shot, but come down on the corner of a tuff-block! Nearly disastrous, he would keep the bike on two wheels, and never look back. Piecing together a few triple combinations that no one else was doing, he would be recipient of the final flag yet again, walking away with a spectacular main event win.
“I had the flu last week and got a cold this week as well, so honestly, I haven’t felt the greatest lately.”
Playing the bridesmaid on numerous occasions throughout the season, Chase Sexton was eager to contest the likes of Daytona, hoping for another opportunity to contend for a race win. An outdoor specialist in his own right, the Honda rider hoped that Daytona could provide a missing ingredient, in his likes for spectacular main event win. He would set the tone early in practice, seeing his name highlighted at the top of the leaderboard. Lap after lap, he would stay aboard the pole position, while others contested to reach up and grab the lead from him. The twenty-three was having none of it, walking away from the qualification rounds with his head held high, and excited to actually get behind the gate. His night wouldn’t start out as forecasted, however, as an awesome start initially off the line, would have him washing out almost immediately in the next sand corner. Frantically trying to pick up his machine in a hurried fashion, a quick bashing of the clutch lever would have him off and running shortly thereafter. Fighting through the midst of the pack, the white flag would be waving off in the distance; and he would use it as another lap to try and push himself further toward the lead. Working his way past Martin Davalos, he would finish just behind Brandon Hartranft, taking fourth place. The main event would then be upon him, and he could see the Kawasaki of Forkner, just a few spots of ahead of him. He tried to force the anxiousness within him to subside, telling himself to calm down and let the race come to him. But he’d seen this song and dance too many times before, knowing that time was precious, in regards to reeling in the number twenty-four. Making his way into second, it was all he could do to stay within striking distance of the Missouri native. Trying multiple lines, there was absolutely no fear being shown by Sexton, as he launched everything in sight, in order to grain substantial ground on the series leader. Keeping the 250f pinned in the highest of gears, Sexton was a true gladiator behind the bars of the Geico rocketship. His mechanic would reiterate the praise from the team upon the pit-board, but it was too little, too late; and although a second place finish was noteworthy, the true competitor within Chase Sexton wanted more.
“The track was brutal, just as I expected it to be.”
Although a native of New York, Justin Cooper has been fortunate enough to ride a series of different racing conditions throughout his career, preparing him for a successful transition into the pro ranks. Most often time, you will find someone from a particular region of the United States, who’s really only been exposed to a particular ground or soil composition, feeling more comfortable on certain surfaces, in compared to others. But Cooper has seen it all, in regards to his time aboard the motorcycle. Riding the rough and rugged tracks of the Northeast throughout the summer, the springs and winters would be plagued by torrential rains and snow accumulation; leaving tracks nothing but a muddy mess. And also, good to note, would be the plethora of trips he could take to the Eastern shore; where sand ridden layouts, would be in abundance of his undertaking. Therefore, when exploring the likes of Daytona for 2019, he knew he would be more than ready to secure a solid finish. Practice would be a splendid effort for the Yamaha native, where he could be found near the top of the leaderboard once all was said and done. Happy with both, the bike setup, and his stamina, he went to the line for his heat race, aspiring to win. Second off the start behind Jordan Bailey, he would stalk the Husqvarna rider, hoping to pressure him into a mistake. It would work, with the door being opened on lap number two, and he’d never look back. Nailing the rhythm sections, and jumping out to the flat when possible, he would storm the likes of the anthill every single lap. Throttling down the backside, he would carry the momentum around each and every bend on the course, in route to a spectacular heat race win. For the main event, he could be found yet again, near the front of the field; sitting third, nipping at the heels of Austin Forkner. Almost looking to be held up by the Kawasaki rider on occasion, Cooper was doing all he could to work his way by; whether it was by poking a wheel in, in the tightest of corners, or launching beside him through a particular section. It was then, that a shuffle of sorts would occur; as he would both pass Kyle Peters, and be overtaken by Chase Sexton, in a near identical fashion. Doing all he could to get back around the Geico rider, he would find himself positioned rather nicely in the third place spot, taking this particular place on the podium, once all was said and done.
Although the white sands of Daytona Beach welcome relaxation of all sorts, the composition of this particular infield provides an abundance of anxiousness to many within this particular racing field. It’s hard to stay calm and tranquil, when envisioning just how complicated this track would become, once all was said and done on this particular March evening. However, Mitchell Oldenburg isn’t like other riders; and his ability to adapt, never loosing his cool under pressure, is something that has provided him to the platform in which he is currently on. Carrying “Ice in his veins” so to speak, gives him the ability to never show signs of unwavering; breathing comfortably, and riding a collected pace throughout any particular race he competes in. It was apparent when watching him simply float along this track throughout practice, where as others could be found in a riddle of casing and over-jumping. Every part of the track, was one that could be conquered; even the extremely deep sand section, just after the finish line. He was riding like a native Florida chameleon, adapting to any surface in which he was currently on. The transition would then be made into the heat race, where he could be found residing near the top five to begin. Although a spot where many would settle, he would want more, as always. Trying to improve his position with every passing lap, there was absolutely no train of thought within him, that would tell him to follow. You could see him, absolutely ripping the outside of the left-hander after the finish line, stabbing the clutch as he shredded this knee-deep berm to shreds. Soaring into the final lap, he would reside near third, heading back to the truck immediately. Rolling to the line with every tool in his possession, he prepared to go to work for the entire twenty-minute duration. The first few laps, would have him sitting close to the fourth place spot, but in a constant battle with competition near him. Jumping on and off these multiple plateaus, he could be seen forcefully scrubbing the plethora of double’s, just before the dragon’s back. With Alex Martin attempting to show a wheel within every 90 degree turn, it would be easy for him to become distracted. He would persevere, hanging onto the fourth place ride, walking away with pride.
With the spectacle of the “East-West Shootout” seemingly now an afterthought, the attention of the field would have to be focused on the present matter at hand. The normal series and divisions of coasts would be repaired and intact once again, as everyone in this particular title chase, was vying for the respective championship. Alex Martin understood what was at stake at a round like this, where the track could literally reach up and grab both man and machine, at any moment. Looking at it from one perspective, it could be a substantial place to garner points from any opposition that fell victim to the raceway; but on the other hand, you could be on the short end of the stick, losing a plethora of points yourself. He knew he would have to stay in a positive mindset, being able to endure as the track would grow grotesque. Already sliced in a thousand ways, the track was honestly unrecognizable, once practice had concluded; the heat races would then look to depart, very soon. He would explode off the gate, hitting the first “SX” triple three wide. Launching through the accompanying rhythm lane, he looked to split the landmine section, directly down the middle, blurred to any outside circumstance around him. Railing the left-hand before the finish line, he couldn’t help but to notice Mitchell Oldenburg chasing him in the lane just parallel to him; but he couldn’t focus on the thought for long. Time was of the essence, and he knew, that within this short sprint, he must hold on for dear life, otherwise the transfer spot would slip away. Luckily, his riding style would allow him to cling to the second place position, anticipating the main event to come. The field would then be shot out off the respective launch pad like a cannon, as he tried to bowling-ball his way down the start stretch. With an ample placing to begin, he only hoped to remain steadfast, as the outside forces (i.e. the treacherous track) would begin to challenge him more and more. It was though it was a hierarchy of difficulty levels, as each positioned gained, and lap possessed, equated to more pressure and a rougher racing surface. He believed that he could hold on though, despite being hounded by Brandon Hartranft. Keeping his machine within the groove of fifth place, a noteworthy ride would be performed, as the evening would be finalized.
As the field of soldiers embarked on their trip to this particular Central Florida territory, they knew they had to be prepared for rugged conditions, and traps of all kinds. In particular, there was a mechanism that could swallow the bike hole, leaving the rider to forcefully dig, trying to stand the machine up in a rigorous effort; it was that of quicksand, something that this Daytona course was doused with. Brandon Hartranft understood that he would have to stalk the enemy, but be weary of the grounds in which they battled on. He didn’t want to become too involved in a dog-fight, entrenching his bike into an area he couldn’t fight out of. He would have to stay light on his toes, never letting the tires become fully immersed in this fluff that laid on top of the foundation, otherwise he would flipping over the front end of the machine. He kept this in mind throughout practice, his lower body never moving past the midline of the seat. It would be rewarded, with a plethora of solid laptimes, and reassurance that he could withhold a spot in the top ten, no matter what circumstances may arise. The gate would fall for the heat race, and all twenty-two of the riders would lunge forward with bayonets. He had his sword sharpened, ready to joust toe to toe with any combatant who would come near. Armed with ample ammunition and an array of weapons, he would go to work within the whoop section; blitzing the far outside lane to the best of his ability. The pack behind him would be in awe, and he would continue to prance away at the expense of the opposition. Keeping Chase Sexton at bay on his rear fender, his confidence would put up a fortress so to speak, between he and the rest of the field. Coming across the line in third, he was ready to tackle the main, with one hundred percent effort. Stabbing the clutch as he took the front wheel over the metal bracket, he would bang elbows with numerous other riders, as he fought for respective insides in the remaining corners. The front of the pack was purely a sea of wolves, all fighting like savages for a rabid piece of meat; and he was in the midst of it. Keeping the 250f absolutely pinned, he would topple over the dragon’s back, slaying it too, along with the opposition scattered all around. Hitting fourth gear pinned down the finish line straightaway, he was all on the back fender, fighting for every bit of speed possible. The track was really beginning to roughen up, and he could feel the pace of Kyle Peters become more imminent; but he had to keep that from out of his vision, focusing on only the present day matters. With laptimes beginning to drop, his cumulative fatigue levels would only heighten; making him susceptible to being overtaken. But deep down, he knew he’d worked too hard to let this lucrative sixth place overall go away. He would hang onto it, residing here at the conclusion.
With Seminoles, Buccaneers, and Jaguars all around, in the land of sports that is, this particular area is crawling with sports fans of all kinds. Couple that with the multitude of stock car racing inside the grounds of this Daytona Raceway, and you have all the excitement an adrenaline junkie could ever want. However, only one time a year, does a certain spectacle by the name of Monster Energy Supercross roll into town. In an event like no other, do motorcycle riders of this caliber grace the ground of this bit of hollowed soil. But for this one weekend in early March, the brightest stars in the sport come here, to cement their legacy into the concrete jungle known as Daytona. Kyle Peters was chomping at the bit to take on the course, and one of the first ones out on the raceway, with the green flag directory of practice. Wheel-tapping and scrubbing everything in sight, it was almost as if he knew this track, like it were the back of his hand. No rhythm lane could startle him, and the whoops were something he looked at with an abundance of craving. His tire combination was hooking up on this variety of soil with the most serious of bite, as he could literally put the chassis anywhere he wanted to. As the round would come to a close, he could be seen with nothing but smiles across his face, as he removed his helmet. The heat race would come to a commencement shortly thereafter, and he was simply on a mission to assert his presence in the field. Hovering along the lines of fourth, he wanted to inch closer and closer to the lead, with every passing lap. The ruts were beginning to really thicken, although the race had literally just begun. Placing his tread into the grooves, he would then be walked into a balance beam of sorts, knowing that any slightest slip of balance, could push him into the ground below. Never one to be rattled, he wasn’t battled by the number 159 behind him, continuing to focus his vision on the foreground ahead of him. He would rally all the way to the finish line, being penciled in beside the fourth place spot. The main event was now upon him, and he knew he would have to control his breathing, as the pack would begin to amass aboard the track. Pulling a spectacular holeshot, he would lead for a decent portion of time; being overtaken by Austin Forkner and others, starting on lap three. Sand would be flying everywhere, and he could be found ducking his visor, perpendicular to the ground below him; but never loosing hold of that precious throttle in his right hand. Nearly washing out his front end a few times as the track began to roughen up, the brute strength of his upper body would keep the bike on two wheels. Keeping Josh Osby behind him, he would peg away at the leaderboard, to his final finishing position of a superb seventh place effort.
Venturing around the outskirts of the Daytona track, you’re quick to notice the marshlands, and swamp-infested areas that reside around the premises. It’s a breeding ground for reptiles, with alligators roaming through the lands, as they act as one of nature’s most feared predators. It keeps the community around on high alert, as they know when an animal such as the aforementioned is on the loose, the destruction and chaos can ensue. And that’s exactly what Josh Osby was hoping to present to the field of the 250 class; an animal-like, primal instinct, doing what it takes to win at all costs. He let his 250f bark to the loudest of magnitudes, as he left the crowd in awe. His presence could be felt immediately, jumping every double and triple combination possible, although ruts were beginning to litter the transitions. His focus was impeccable, and a true delight for his mechanic to watch, as he barely acknowledged the pit-board that was hanging out of the mechanics area. Never losing focus of the track ahead of him, he would keep his eyesight magnified on the checkered flag, as it would wave in the distance. No mirage, he would go onto finish ninth. The main event was up next, and it consisted of twenty-two of the top 250f riders, contenting for their respective best placing possible. Shrouds were coming together, and he was throwing out every trick in the book to advance himself up the leaderboard. Nestled near the tenth place spot, he wanted to keep moving forward, despite the idea of complacency trying to creep within the lobes of his brain. He continued to shut it out, keeping the door for all negativity again, closed. Lap after lap, his arms strangle the grips beneath him, as both sets of fingers would reach for the clutch and front brake in unison. In a constant array of shifting through the gearbox, know spot in the transmission would go untouched; as he was truly pushing his mechanics abilities to the limit, getting every ounce of power out of the machine beneath him. Both the fuel tank, and his glycogen stores would begin to empty out, yet he would hold on to the most subtle hint of durability. The laps would clock down, and the clock would strike zero. He would be left standing with an eighth place ride, a noteworthy performance for this particular round of Daytona.
Visualizing this race for weeks at a time, Kyle Cunningham couldn’t wait to conquer the likes of Daytona, with his crew by his side. Logging strenuous hours on the practice track, miles upon the road bike, and watching his nutrition in diligent fashion, he headed to Central Florida hoping to make waves (no pun intended), on the shores of the international raceway. With a gear combination that had him rounding the track in a stealth like manner, everything in his corner was truly on point. The style and stamina both complemented each other, keeping the fans on their feet with every passing round of the course. Leaping through the rigorous rhythm lanes, it was though he almost knew the night ahead, would bring with it a successful result. He would then line up for the heat race with a positive vibe, nodding his head as the Monster Energy girl scanned the racetrack. With his attention now on the gate below, he would unleash the beast with his right hand, and the rear tire would spray his mechanic behind him. His 250f would absolutely be ringing with harsh screams, begging for dear life as he waded through the deep sands. Keeping the front end light, he would move forward with steadfast integrity, knowing what the totality of laps would bring him. With Henry Miller knocking at his door, he wasn’t letting the frame of the opening budge; keeping the lock and key secured in his pocket, with flawless combinations of jumping. Heading to the finish line, he knew he had seventh wrapped up; but it was now time for the main event. Riders would immediately begin to zig-zag off the start, and he patiently waited for openings to appear. Hopping back and forth between respective middle and inside ruts, the pack would transition from one to the other, as the race would continue to wade on. Attacking the track in a hustling manner, he would keep Martin Davalos in close proximity, doing his best to lengthen the gap between the two competitors. It was an all out war for ninth place, with both riders wanting to secure a highly coveted, single digit finish. He wouldn’t flounder, knowing that every second was precious, in his chase for the checkered flag. With his heart rate beginning to climax, he would surge for the finish line one last time, taking a highly respected ninth place overall in the record books.
With the series split up into multiple pieces, it’s easy to think that one may slither by, missing the brunt of forces and slide their way into the main event. That couldn’t be further from the truth though, as both coasts, East and West, are absolutely packed to the brim with talent. And Martin Davalos realizes that, walking to the line with open arms, welcoming all challengers with a sense of confidence that’s unrivaled. He began to tame this Daytona track with ease, hitting all rhythm combinations within the first few laps of action. Using the shock to propel him into the stratosphere, at the absolute top of his flying action, he would kiss the rear brake with the slightest touch; setting the chassis down in the softest of transitions. He understood, if he could keep this up, he would be more than capable of doing well in the main event. The heat race would come shortly thereafter, and it would be almost immediately, that yellow flags would fly. With riders washing out in the notorious sand section, and even near catastrophic occurrences in a few of the rhythm lanes, he would do his best to stay upright, inheriting the positions that the competition gave him. Looking at his mechanic for an update to his position, he would look to the pitboard as a sign of a green light. Whipping the bike over the finish line, he knew the white flag would be an act of surrender by the majority of the field. He would hold on, placing fifth. The main event would have the track absolutely torn to pieces, with ruts filling every inch of this Daytona layout. He again, would avoid a large portion of trouble as a series of pileups would begin to litter the course. His front number plate would be covered with sand, and spitting grain out the vent of his helmet, he would weather the storm, doing his best to get out of the roost of Mitchell Oldenburg ahead of him. But he couldn’t forget out the presence of Brandon Hartranft in the meantime, as a constant rev of RPM’s hounded his immediate radius; causing a costly mistake to ensue, where he would wash out in the deep sand. Remounting as quick as possible, he hoped to charge to the front, to the best of his ability. His perseverance was apparent, as every lap, he would stay in a consistent sprinting fashion, never deviating too far away from his median time. It would pay off, as the idea of a top ten finish would become clearer and clearer as the flags would change colors. Nailing down the tenth place ride on the final lap, he would be excited for the series to move forward, and his process of building to continue.