Some of my favorite memories of Daytona are the image of Johnny O’Mara leaving it wide open off the finish-line jump, the shot of Rick Johnson going head first in Ron Lechein’s rear wheel, and the muddy shredded face of Jeff Stanton after he won his fourth and last. Few can argue that Stanton remains the king of the Daytona SX. Then again...The GOAT lapped 4th place one time too. They’ve shortened the track in recent years and its more of a true SX course, but it still favors the toughest racers.
Daytona always produces special gear and graphic schemes, helmet paint jobs, and surprises. The hyper-dramatic action has mellowed the last few rounds, but we could be ready to burn again.
Daytona has a special place in the hearts of supercross fans.
Photo: Simon Cudby
“Rambo” Ryan Villopoto should be able to put these guys to sleep. Not sure how you folks like that moniker, but when I heard Colonel Trautman say, “He is a man who's been trained to ignore pain, ignore weather, to live off the land, to eat things that would make a billy goat puke. His job is to kill! Period! Win by attrition.” Well, RV showed up at A1 ready to kick butt and chew bubble gum. He’s been out of bubble gum since Oakland, pretty much.
Who can stop him? Ryan Dungey needs to grab another good start and get far enough away from Villopoto’s charge and win again. He has to do it on the frequent and hope something freaky happens to his rival, or the championship will slip away. Ah, but a lot of racing to go, son.
Another aspect of this weekend’s dustup is that is is one of the biggest races for American Honda of the year. With Trey Canard still healing up, Justin Brayton has to carry the pressure and step it up for the brass. He has the speed, but he is still a little banged up. Wow, what a win it would be for that team. Huge.
There is going to be great racing with the surging Davi Millsaps, his childhood nemesis Mike Alessi, and fan favorite Kevin Windham. Say what you want, but I think Alessi will top five this time around. Jake Weimer and Brett Metcalfe will be ready to dig a little deeper as well. It sure goes without saying that it sucks we have so many top guys banged up. Man, Canard would have been ready to go nuts. That said, we're going to see some intense racing. Especially in the heat races.
It’s hard to say what James Stewart can do this weekend. He hasn’t been himself this season, and Daytona has been especially hard on him. He was riding away last year when he carted huge. Hopefully he can keep it on two wheels and put in a good race.
Will anyone be able to stop Villopoto at Daytona?
Photo: Simon Cudby
Justin Barcia has the flow right now, and with Stanton in his corner for Daytona he is set to put forth his strongest effort yet and make it four in a row. The two riders that can stop him in Blake Baggett and Ken Roczen need to make a statement, and can do just that. The gnarly, inconsistent track should favor Roczen’s style and I think he is poised to get on Barcia’s fender and put on a show. Same goes for Baggett. "Bad" Blake was a beast last year here and needs a good showing. Blake Wharton can get it done, and we might see Justin Bogle bust out and shock the world. Kyle Cunningham will be in the mix since his “palms up” endo at Dallas.
The Ricky Carmichael designed track looks to be a high-speed, whoop-filled affair. It actually looks down right wild! Expect to see that black Florida soil chew up and bring a little old school back. The show is set to air LIVE on SPEED and the charge has kept us on our feet since the first drop of the gate. We have a big one on our hands this time though. It’s the Daytona SX, ladies and gentlemen. Only the hard and the strong have their names written on the wall. Let’s wish all the boys a good safe race, roll our necks and get ready to witness history.
Thanks for reading, see you next week.