There ARE certain advantages to living in Daytona.
During Biketoberfest in Daytona, the track is obviously the place to be to get all of the racing action. I got out of work early on Saturday night, so I was able to head over to Daytona International Speedway to catch the end of the new endurance series, Sun Trust Moto-ST, for the last race of the inaugural season. This 8 Hours of Daytona started at 1 PM and went all the way to 9PM, ending under the lights of the speedway. Using our CCS pit passes, a friend and I got into the infield grandstands to watch the final hour of the race.
We first sat at the famed International Horseshoe, and watched the big Super Twins power out of the corner at full throttle. I had never seen an endurance race before, and as I went to reach for my camera, I realized that I had left it at home. My joke of a camera phone did not help much, as the lights on the bikes left huge blurs on the picture. Oh well, I would just have to take mental pictures this time. After a few minutes, we moved down to the next corner to look for race lines and brake markers to help us prepare for our own race on Sunday. We climbed to the top of the grandstands to see the entire course, and watched in awe as the leaders rode the high line and passed on the 31 degree banking, and then swooped down onto the straight with a big burst of speed. It was relatively dark, even under the lights of Daytona, so all we could see were the headlights of the motorcycles moving along the far banking. With about 45 minutes to go, there was an accident right near pit-out, with the Bruce Transportation 24 Ducati bumping the rear end of the San Jose 46 BMW R1200S. Both bikes went down, and the Pontiac G6 safety car came out and lapped the track a few times, with a line of riders trickling up behind it. The 46 BMW got back to the pits for a quick repair and went out again without losing a lap. This was apparently the third Full Course Yellow Flag of the race. After about 3 laps, the safety car came in and the race continued with 30 minutes to go. The BMW was one of the more impressive machines to watch during the race. When it came into the tight right hander after the horseshoe, we could see a huge shower of sparks coming out as the engine case made contact with the asphalt. I clocked the BMW with consistent lap times of 1:58 and 1:59. After the crash, which damaged the lighting, it was always easy to pick out the BMW because it was the only one running without any headlights! Over the loudspeaker we heard the announcer talking about the riders on hot pit lane. One bike was having a clutch changed out with only 10 minutes left in the race. It was a fantastic finish, with the Roadracingworld.com 18 Suzuki SV1000S taking first place, with riders Chris Ulrich, Gary Mason, and Cory West completing 234 total laps. The San Jose 46 BMW was too damaged to be competitive for first, but it did finish in second place. After the race was completed, we clapped and waved to the riders as they wheelied by on the post race lap. Visit www.moto-st.com for a complete listing of bikes and general information about the series. To be honest, I hadn’t even heard about Moto-ST until that weekend, but next year I will be sure