On Sunday, Daytona International Speedway opened its doors to amateur racers for the first-ever Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross, which gave work-a-day riders and up-and-coming stars a chance to compete on the same track the top riders in the world raced on the night before. That’s a rare chance to hone supercross skills at the amateur level. But since this was Daytona, the track had a bit more of a motocross feel to it than a standard stadium supercross track, making it less intimidating. And with the massive Daytona infield providing first-rate camping and pit accommodations, the riders and families had to be excited to work out of the same facilities used not only by the pro supercross teams, but also the same spots used by the NASCAR teams just a month ago.
MX Sports, the same crew than runs the AMA Amateur National at Loretta Lynn Ranch, served as the event organizer. All that experience running races ensured the racing part of the program went smoothly, but there were some rough spots during sign up on Saturday, namely with long lines. This race runs in the midst of the massive Daytona Bike Week, which includes a ton of racing in and around the Speedway, so there’s a lot of action going on, and now the amateurs were mixed right in. There are always hang ups in first-time events, and after Saturday, it seemed like the race would end up being a little chaotic. But once the engines fired on Sunday morning, everything went like clockwork, just like Loretta’s.
“This is a supercross country, the sponsors and manufacturers put their support into that sport. So if you want to go somewhere, you have to ride supercross,” explained the GOAT at the rider’s meeting. Indeed, the track had the same layout as Saturday night’s, only with the jumps tamed down to suit the amateurs. Also, the format was the same, with heat races and LCQs determining gate picks for main events, which crowned champions in 24 classes, ranging from two 50cc classes to a 45 Plus Master’s class.
The event only came to life in January, by which time many of the top amateur riders and teams had already committed to racing for two-straight weeks in Lake Whitney and Oak Hill, Texas. And there’s no way to move the schedule for the RC Am SX, because the event is based around racing the day after the big supercross. So a few top Ams rode the Daytona race and then headed off to Texas for practice on Monday.
One of them was Red Bull and Honda backed Cooper Webb, of Newport, North Carolina. Webb rode three classes and came home with two titles, handling 85 (12-15) on his CR85 and Super Mini on his CRF150R. His only trouble came in Schoolboy 1 (12-16), where his 150 four-stroke was outgunned by RJ Hampshire and a YZ125.
Also in the mix was a three-pack of little brothers to current pro racers, each who call the Sunshine State home. Kyle Goerke, younger brother of Southwick National winner Matt, raced 250 B and Collegeboy (17-24) and won his heats and mains, making him a perfect 4-for-4 on the day. In 250 B, he edged Kory Keylon, younger brother of Kyle. Kory did get a heat race win in Schoolboy 2 (13-16), but ended up second again in the main event behind Honda star Kyle Peters.
Cody Chisholm, younger brother of Kyle, raced Supermini and ended up second behind Webb.
In the expert classes, Suzuki rider Derek Hall dominated the 450 A/Pro Sport class with a heat race and main event win. Hall also logged some of the fastest lap times of the day. Don Solley won 250 A/Pro Sport, and Larry Partin won 450 B.
Webb was a standout in the mini classes, but Stone Edler can claim to have made history when he won the 85 (9-13) class, which was the very first to race, making Edler the very first champion of the RC Am SX. 65cc Champions included Drake Degaynor with two titles and Dylan Greer. Mitchell Harrison won the 85 (7-11) class,
Cody Russell and Cullin Park were the youngest champions by taking the 50cc titles.
Fittingly, the only rider to take home three championships was Carmichael’s buddy Earl May, who won the 35+, 40+ and 45+ classes. Greg Pamart won 30 + over Steven Richards, and Darryl Lind won the 25+ title over Racer X’s own “Bad” Billy Ursic. Hey Billy, that’s not bad for a guy working a desk job in the frozen tundra of WV.
The next day, riding continued with the first-ever Ricky Carmichael University, where RC and the infamous Jeannie Carmichael, his mom, held court along with Jeff Stanton and Jeff Emig. That’s nearly 30 AMA Championships together! There were also seminars on training and nutrition with Robb Beams of motoendurance.net and bike set up tips from Jim “Bones” Bacon of Pro Circuit. In total, over 750 riders raced on Sunday, and a lucky 100 got in on the school on Monday. Everyone was happy, but of course, RC’s legendary determination still shined through. “Next year we want to do this, but we want to make it bigger and better,” he said. And you know what happens when RC puts his mind to something.