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Updated: Daytona Race Report With Video

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Thursday and Friday practice:

The plan was to use last year’s takeoffs for practice but things don’t always go to plan. We changed the rear tire at the previous race meet but didn’t change the front. When we got to Daytona, I made the decision to leave the medium compound front on. I was thinking, “It’s the front, it doesn’t take a lot of force and heat like the rear tire does. And, I’m only going to be doing 5-6 laps at a time. There shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll just watch it carefully for any problems.”


The front tire held up fine and showed no signs of abnormal wear for the four practice sessions on Thursday. Friday morning’s first practice went just fine and the tire was looking quite normal. Then, in the second practice Friday morning I was on the brakes in turn one and the bike was feeling weird.

I turned in and the bike just didn’t want to lean over and it felt like I’d moved the position of one of the clip-ons. I was off line and I chalked it up to rider error.


As I went through turn two, something was definitely wrong with the bars. On the short straight to the International Horseshoe, I looked at the bars trying to determine what was up. I didn’t see anything wrong and I turned into the horseshoe going slower than normal.


The bike didn’t want to turn in so I pushed a little more. Then I realized it was all wrong, I had to stand the bike up NOW! Too late. The front gave way and I was on the ground. I and the bike stopped in the grass relatively undamaged. The front tire was flat.


I immediately took the tire to Dunlop and told them it went flat. The looked at it for about 15 minutes and then came back and told me it was a non-Daytona tire and it over-heated.

What had happened was the plies of the tire had started to come apart and I was very lucky the only thing that happened was the loss of air.


Friday – GTO, 4th:

The bike repaired and fresh Daytona compound Dunlop tires on, I was ready to go. Due to a new clutch problem, I got a bad start and went into turn one in sixth. I was behind Marco Martinez and Charlie Mavros. I expected Martinez to be kind of fast and was content to just chase him for a couple laps to try and hang with the front group.

Things don’t always go to plan. By turn six I realized Martinez was having bike problems. The pace was still of the leaders was slower than I expected and I wasn’t having any questions about keeping up with them. But I had to get around Martinez first.


It took the whole west banking to pass him. With the pass complete, I got on the brakes at my usual point before chicane. The brake lever came back its normal amount but the amount of braking force was much lower than what was needed. I squeezed harder and the lever didn’t move nor did the bike slow down more. Not good.


I picked the bike up and started making a plan to blow through the chicane. It was at this point I realized I hadn’t blown the chicane in practice and didn’t know the route through the barriers they had up. To me, it looked like the whole back straight was blocked and the only escape route was a thin piece of grass between two walls.


Adding to my issues, the back was sliding all over the place. Somehow the engine had stalled. I pulled in the clutch to get the rear tire back under control and then let it out just a little to try and get the bike started again. It started just before I turned into the grass at about 70mph.


I made it through the grass with no further issues, checked to make sure I wasn’t about to pull out in front of another racer who was at speed, and pulled back onto the track in 8th, well behind the lead group.


I experienced the same braking problem again in turn one. This time though I was ready for it and was on the brakes about 100 yards earlier than normal. I made turn one and from there on added a lot of distance to my normal braking zones.

Even with my braking problems I was running my best laps so far and caught and passed 7th and 6th place. Two of the lead group dropped out with mechanical problems and that promoted me to 4th.


Saturday – Unlimited SuperSport, 5th:

On Friday, the grid positions for the Unlimited SuperSport race on Saturday showed only five entries. The only racer on there that would provide me competition was Charlie Mavros. I was thinking there might be a win in store for the team. Things don’t always go to plan.

Saturday morning, three more riders had signed up for the race. Two of them, Brian Stokes and Shane Narbonne, were just plain faster than me. The third, Eric Haugo, I thought I could run with.


As for the brakes, we replaced the glazed pads, sanded the rotors to clean them off, and bled the brakes. They worked fine after that.

I got a decent start considering my clutch problems and went into turn one in 4th. Narbonne was already in front with Stokes, Haugo and then me right behind him. Mavros used my draft to pass me going into the chicane and then passed Haugo in turn one. Haugo re-passed in turn two and held that to the chicane on lap three when Mavros took over 3rd place. I was quite content to let those to battle themselves and tire each other out. I’d wait until the last lap and then use their double draft to pass both of them. Things don’t always go to plan.


My first indication there might be a problem was that I wasn’t actually catching them on the banking, I was hitting my rev limiter. The other issue was these guys were really battling it out and going into the chicane on lap four it looked to me like they were about to crash each other out. That’s all fine and dandy but for some reason I they were slowing down more than usual and I was coming down on them mighty fast.


My closure rate and the idea they’re running into each other gave me just enough distraction to make the decision to blow the chicane. This time I knew the route through the barriers and went through without incident but well behind Mavros, 3rd place, and Haugo, 4th place. I finished a lonely 5th.



Cold, for a Florida boy. It was 51 degrees Sunday morning. Wind-chill at 175mph in 51 degrees is 35 – brrrrr. For morning practice, I just woke up and made sure I still knew the track.


ASRA Pro SuperStock – 6th:

I was gridded 6th with my Friday qualifying time of 1:55. I knew I could go faster though as I had run consistent low 1:54s in Saturday’s Unlimited SuperSport race. There was a group of three riders that had qualified in the 1:53s and I hoped I could chase them and maybe make something happen.


I got lousy start and was 8th in turn one. Joel Spalding and Antal Halasz managed to get by me from the 3rd row. I immediately got by Halasz going into the International Horseshoe and then passed Spalding in the west horseshoe. At this point, there was already two seconds between me and the lead five. Despite running my personal best lap at Daytona, a 1:53.8, I was unable to close the gap and I finished 6th with no challenges from 7th.

On the cool down lap, according to plan, I ran out of gas.


Unlimited GP – 3rd:

With Eric Wood, Barrett Long, Marco Martinez, and Jeff Lampe in this line up, I thought I’d be racing for 5th. Things don’t always go to plan.

I bogged the bike off the start and was 6th in turn one behind Halasz and Martinez. Right from the start, one of the Ducati’s of Long or Martinez was smoking pretty badly. But at turn two there was no more smoke from either bike.


When we entered turn six though there was definitely smoke coming from Martinez’s bike – not good. Once Martinez got onto the banking the small puffs of blue smoke turned into big plumes. Halasz and I were doing our best to stay out from behind Martinez. Neither one of us wanted to be hitting oil on the banking at 150+.


Even in a self destruct mode, Martinez’s bike was fast and he stayed in front of the two of us going into the chicane. He made the left entry just fine but the once he got the bike leaned over to the right it just snapped full sideways and spit him off. He had dropped oil on the track and by the time I got to turn one the race was red flagged. An amateur rider had also crashed in the chicane from the oil.


I got a better start on the re-start and went past a badly smoking Barrett Long to be 3rd in turn one behind Lampe with Eric Wood in the lead. Those two checked out and I was running alone in 3rd at consistent 1:54 laptimes.


On lap four of six, I was on the west banking and I saw the shadow of Halasz. I had thought there was someone there but he’d never shown me a wheel – he’d been hiding. At that point I’d slowed to 1:55 laptimes so I picked up my pace and Halasz continued to stalk me.


On the final lap he made his move going into the International Horseshoe but he was going way too fast to make the turn and went off straight. That left me to myself in third place. My first podium finish at Daytona. Things don’t always go to plan.


Unlimited Superbike – 3rd:

The main riders in this race were Brian Stokes, Jeff Lampe, Charlie Mavros, Antal Halasz, and a racer whom I’ve forgotten his last name, #111 Mike. Mike was only entered into this race. His plan was he’d be fresh, his bike would be fresh, and he’d be on new tires where the rest of us would be tired on tired bikes and old tires. Things don’t always go to plan.


At the start I was second behind Lampe. We made it through the horseshoe and Stokes was pulling up beside me going into the dogleg when the red flag came out.

Mavros had gotten a bad start from pole. Mike in row two and to the right of Mavros. Mike got a decent start and went to the left to avoid Mavros but Stokes got a great start from row three and was already there. Mike’s front tire his Stoke’s rear tire and Mike went down hard. With a bike and rider on the track with the Amateur racers waiting for their start, the race was red flagged.


The race was restarted minus Mike. While lining up for the restart, Lampe shut off his bike. That was odd because none of us were having over heating issues thanks to the mid-60 degree temps. Fifteen seconds later he was restarting the bike and we were getting ready to race.


This time I was third into turn one behind Stokes who again got a great start and Lampe in the lead. Stokes passed Lampe going into the dogleg and that was the order for the next three laps; Stokes, Lampe and me.


On lap two Lampe slowed and pulled off in turn six – he had run out of gas. I was now running in second. Behind me, Mavros was putting on a charge and was catching up to me.


On lap three I caught a slow expert rider from Hawaii in turn six. I had to go way wide to go around him and spun up the tire on the banking enough to let Mavros pass me. I re-passed him going into the chicane and he passed me back in NASCAR turn four.


I followed Mavros for a lap and then passed him going into the international horseshoe. I lead him across the start/finish line for the white flag and he passed me on the brakes into turn one. I was in too hot and I ran wide, into the run-off area of turn one. That allowed Halasz to get by me too. I wasn’t about to give up.


When they got to the dogleg, they had three seconds on me. At turn six it was down to a second. At the chicane I was right on them.

Mavros got a good drive out of the chicane and opened up a gap on Halasz. I got into Halasz’s draft and started passing him exiting turn four. I had just a bike length on him at the finish to take third.


What a weekend!!!! Thanks to my wife Susan, my Mom, my Crew Chief Ray Atchley and Steve Brubaker at Dunlop Racetire Services for making all this possible.


Video to come soon!

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Great write up Greg. I can't believe you had both brake and tire problems. The tire problem is scary enough with the history dunlop has had there. The brakes is another scary one, not something I would want to experience on one of the fastest tracks in the country. Talk about pucker moments. The race reports were great felt like I was there myslef. Congrats on the great finishes again can't wait for the video.

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Wow, you have a great memory of the races! Sounds like you were damn close to 2nd in the Superbike race, can't wait to see the vids.

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Man that was a pretty intense race. Great vids. I like the GPS and the rearview all in the same shot. It looked like you had Marvos in the infeild and he would only catch you on the banking, The first pass you made on him coming around the outside, that was sweet. It loked like you could carry much more speed than him in that corner. The draft pass at the end was money too. Great race looking foward to more racing vids.

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