Rev Up: Daytona

Rev Up Daytona

March 7, 2013 1:00pm

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. When I think of the Daytona Supercross Presented by Honda, I think of spectacular moments. Honda-mounted privateer Ricky Ryan hammered through the long, rough, muddy track to win in 1987. He won against Ron Lechien, Ricky Johnson, Jeff Ward, and all in a class with a level of talent equal to the guys we're watching in 2013. Daytona brings images of Johnny O'Mara skying the finish-line table or a young Travis Pastrana wheelieing the entire front straight on a 125, then years later backflipping and carting huge off the finish-line table. And also hitting a huge set of whoops fourth gear wide open on a 450 and then really, really stacking it up.

One of the great moments was in 2005 when Ricky Carmichael slid out of control in the whoops trying to catch Chad Reed. Another was Carmichael's first supercross win in 2000. I also think about the incredible mud races we've seen there in the past decade. Oh, by the way, she's going to be bluebird 70s with no chance of rain this time around. Any race at Daytona is great, but we're fortunate this one will be on a loamy, fast racetrack. This isn't your typical SX, and round nine arrives to us as a horse of a different color.

Daytona back in 1980.
Racer X photo

The track isn't what it used to be with minute-thirty lap times and riders worrying about running out of gas (mechanically and physically). It's still one of the most demanding, but it's been more of a standard SX track in recent years. Expect to see deep, long ruts on the inside of the corners and easy-to-shred berms outside. The rhythm sections are always technical with ruts and cupped-out faces, which provide excitement and, unfortunately, big crashes. Riders make a lot of mistakes at Daytona, and they're never out of the fire until they're off the track. In fact, being in the lead here has been a bad thing for James Stewart. As we approach the 2013 version of Daytona, Stewart is the defending event winner and the Yoshimura Suzuki rider is in a decent spot to repeat at his favorite SX race.

Daytona is a lot of racers' favorite to win-especially if you're a Honda rider. And if you're Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard and Justin Barcia, you're ready for a breakout race. Barcia is looking for a return to the winner's circle. Both have been a little faster the last two weeks, and their style suits the dynamic course. I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple Hondas on the podium. TwoTwo Motorsports veteran Chad Reed is fired up and looking good coming into Daytona. He's going to need to find some more speed to win, but it's never been a better time for #22 to holeshot and feel the pace up front.

Rockstar Energy Racing's Davi Millsaps carries the red plate to the line for the eighth time this season. I don't even remember what his bike looks like with white backgrounds. He had the worst finish of his season (sixth) last weekend, but he still has a 12-point lead and only needs to worry about pacing Ryan Villopoto. I use the word worry because Ryan is on fire right now with a 1-2-1 tally and a whole lot of steam coming in. Several weeks ago I wrote that I wouldn't consider RV a favorite to win a main event until he stayed off the ground for a while. He hasn't been on the ground since gate drop at Dallas, and now he's my favorite for Daytona. That said, Millsaps needs to not panic and instead come back with a podium or a solid top-five.

Will this be the weekend Musquin grabs his first career SX win?
Simon Cudby photo

Mistakes, though. We're aren't going to see freight trains or twenty clean laps from any of the contenders, or even the winner, for that matter. Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey is a fit, calculated, and fast champion who has been practicing a lot on this type of track. Speaking of holeshots, Dungey did pretty good with one at Anaheim 3 and could get it done again with another.

The 250 class will be outstanding this weekend. GEICO Honda's Wil Hahn and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Dean Wilson have a fight on their hands. Wil is really on the gas and will wear the red plate into round four of the East Region. Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin and Mulisha/Star Racing Yamaha's Jeremy Martin are two riders to keep your eyes on for a surprise.

Racers of all kinds from all around the world dig deep at Daytona to put their names on the wall at the World Center of Racing. This creates spectacular moments. All arrows point to Daytona to be the biggest and best SX of 2013. It's my opinion that we're on the cusp of a dogfight between Ryan Villopoto and James Stewart. They've been at each other for three weeks now, and it's time to crack on. Throw in young 450 class transplants Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen and it gets even gnarlier. Everyone is already pretty puffed up about this one. The charge is back live on Speed and there will be a lot of loud fans in the front-stretch grandstands enjoying the warm Florida weather. Whatever is going to happen, and whoever comes out on top, this will be the one of the biggest wins of their careers. Time for Daytona.