Daytona Fiasco


DiSalvo’s team changes everything save for the frame.
photo: AMA

Despite another change in management and race operation personnel, the AMA/DMG series south of the border still seems so screwed up that it couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery, let alone run a motorcycle racing series.

The victory for the “Daytona 147,” shortened from the usual 200 miles, was assigned to Jason DiSalvo on a Ducati 848 (Ducati’s first Daytona "200" win) after 147 miles of racing, shortened by 15 laps from the planned race distance.

DiSalvo’s bike coughed up a lung and had already retired from the race when a red flag came out due to Dunlop’s suddenly discovering that their front tires weren’t holding up as well as planned. They and race officials panicked at the thought of tire failures – most teams had planned on running only one front for the race.

The tire company insisted that the race be halted while they rummaged in the back of their trailers to dig out harder tires, tires that hadn’t even been available for practice. An unbelievable two-hour delay ensued to get new front tires on the 38 entries.

In the meantime, DiSalvo’s Team Latus team-mates were frantically working on his bike, not fixing it, but literally swapping engines from the spare machine. AMA officials decided to go back to the previous lap’s scoring for the restart, so DiSalvo was gifted a front-row start despite work that would have been considered blatantly illegal and forbidden in any grown-up racing league. AMA’s rules apparently only require that the original frame start and finish the race.

On the restart, two bikes crashed in the first turn – it seems that during that two hour break, nobody had noticed there was oil on the track. By this time it was getting so late that officials decided to cut the remaining race distance in half, meaning the series’ prime race attraction, a 200-mile endurance race with the strategies of pit stops included, would be a 15-lap sprint instead.

But wait, we’re not done yet. As the chequered flag came down, Dane Westby and Josh Herrin touched approaching the line; Westby’s front brake got jabbed on, locking the front wheel at something like 290 km/h. Taylor Knapp was right behind and couldn’t avoid hitting Westby’s bike and both went down, sliding what looked for miles across pavement and grass. Both bikes were destroyed, both riders miraculously walked away.

Another red flag was thrown.

This time, the AMA decided not to revert to the previous lap’s scoring. Then they decided they’d better, to exclude Westby and Knapp. Then they decided to revert for everyone except the first five riders. But they figured they’d penalize Herrin, who was involved in the red flag incident. Real Keystone Cops stuff.

Fifth-place finisher Herrin (who would have won if the AMA had reverted a lap for the red flag) said, “DiSalvo crossed the finish line first, but everybody else, when the red flag came out, were still behind the start/finish line, so everybody besides DiSalvo goes back a lap, but DiSalvo basically finishes a lap ahead of us. Is basically what they’re saying. Which doesn’t make sense.”

No kidding.

It’s a shame, because the racing itself was electrifying, with seven, sometimes eight bikes jostling for position. J.D. Beach, who finished fourth, said, “We’re going 180 (mph) and we’re just all bouncing off each other and stuff. It was a lot of fun. We were all doing crazy stuff, running into each other, passing each other down on the bottom of the track. We probably weren’t doing the smartest stuff, but we were all doing it.”

Daytona “147” Provisional results:

1. Jason DiSalvo,Team Latus Motors Racing, Ducati 848;
2. Cory West, Vesrah Suzuki ,Suzuki GSX-R600;
3. Jake Zemke, Project 1 Atlanta, Yamaha YZF-R6;
4. J.D. Beach, Cycle World Attack Performance, Kawasaki ZX-6R;
5. Josh Herrin, Monster Energy Graves Yamaha, Yamaha YZF-R6;
6. Dane Westby, M4 Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R600;
7. Taylor Knapp, Vesrah Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R600;
8. Tommy Aquino, Pat Clark Yamaha, Yamaha YZF-R6;
9. Bostjan Skubic, Inotherm Yamaha Racing Team Slovenia, Yamaha YZF-R6;
10. Fernando Amantini, Team Amantini, Kawasaki ZX-6R.

Next AMA race is scheduled for May 15 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. 


  1. DAYTONA BEACH, FL (March 21, 2011) – AMA Pro Racing announced today that penalties and an accompanying fine have been assessed against Josh Herrin and Graves Motorsports, respectively, as the result of actions during the March 12 Daytona 200, specifically those related to the rider’s last-lap approach to start/finish. As per the AMA Pro Road Racing 2011 Rule Book, rules A1.1, A2.1, A2.3.p, and A2.3.u, the details of the penalties and fine are as follows:

    Rider penalty: One-event suspension, to be applied at Infineon Raceway Round 2, May 13-15
    Rider penalty: Season-long probation, in effect through December 31, 2011, the violation of which shall result in further and more-serious penalties
    Team penalty: $7,500 fine, the entire proceeds of which will be applied to the purchase of additional Airfence

    Both rider and team were notified of the above details in advance of this release, and the penalties do not prevent them from taking part in the May 2-3 official AMA Pro test at Miller Motorsports Park.

  2. Hi Busa,

    I wish it weren’t so but motorcycles count for a very small portion of the Daytona facility revenue. The track was repaved and the dates they got for testing were about all they could get. I believe the CCS year end races were canceled outright for the repave. I don’t think testing anywhere else would have given them the info they needed. Those tires are only used at Daytona.

    I still think they could have come up with something more conservative.

  3. Busa,

    Dunlop tested as much as was available. The problem they had was the track wasn’t available during warmer temps. I beleive they should have come back with a more conservative, probably slower tire.

    Michilen dropped the same ball at Laguna MotoGP a few years back so I’m not sure Bob would do much better :grin

  4. The race itself was one of the most thrilling I’ve ever seen!!! Ever, and I’ve seen/riden hundreds!! The AMA….well they are morons. The mumbo jumbo crap they served up as a professional event was laughable. Dunlop should be ashamed of themselves. The tires are no good? Really! Is that the first one you ever made??? Get someone else. See if Bob’s Tire Service is available…..he might TEST them first.

  5. ” How is AMA Pro Racing responsible for Dunlop’s tires? ”
    As with ANY spec. tire racing series, the call was put out by AMA/DMG for tenders and Dunlop won. They (Dunlop)have a responsibility to provide a SAFE product and did not. The way it was handled is inappropriate, ending the race was inappropriate and not thoroughly inspecting the track during the 90 minute delay was inappropriate.
    All of the above statements are MY OPINION, as someone who’s been around motorcycle roadracing for 35+ years. One does not have to be an on-site witness to the event to know that there’s been a problem.
    End of my sermon…

  6. Well, Someone Whowasthere, I don’t think I said that AMA broke any of their own rules, nor did I say it was AMA’s fault Dunlop had a problem, just that the rules (particularly the engine-swapping and the end-of-race red flag decision) didn’t make sense and (in the case of the last lap) seemed to be applied incorrectly … hey, Josh Herrin thought so too. I also said I believed things took far too long to sort out … I’ve been running races for about three decades, so have some idea how things can work. The rest of it’s just opinion, as far as I’m concerned. As for the oil, I was told that by a marshall who WAS there, but I have no intention of getting her involved in a pissing match.

  7. Larry,

    You highly critical, so you are bringing your credibility to pass judgment on this subject matter into question.

    Were you at Daytona International Speedway during this event?

    Did you speak to any AMA Pro Racing official, Dunlop representative or rider before writing this?

    Have you read a copy of the 2011 AMA Pro Racing rulebook?

    Other than a temporary error with the initial race results due to the red flag, exactly how did AMA Pro Racing screw up?

    Where and when did AMA Pro Racing deviate from their rulebook and supplemental regulations?

    How is AMA Pro Racing responsible for Dunlop’s tires?

    Who told you there was oil on the track before the restart? If you had been there you would know that the oil came from #29, who was behind crashers Jason Farrell and Russ Wikle at the start.

    It is unfair and unethical to falsely criticize without any basis in fact. And to do so with malice has the potential for a litigious response.

    Readers of this website interested in this subject matter I recommend getting news from a source that actually attends AMA Pro races. For current and potential advertisers on this website please understand that you are known by who you associate with.

  8. Thanks,Larry,I needed a better idea of what happened at Daytona.
    A group of friends had gathered to watch the race and were disappointed in what happened.
    I emailed my thoughts after wards.
    I’ll repeat them here.

    Well its a good thing we were not paying close attention to the Daytona 200 on TV.
    We would have been witnesses to a the murder/suicide of a once great motorcycle racing event.
    I still do not understand what was going on but it looked far from professional and poorly organized.
    Then to add insult to injury Speed Chanel puts on Nascar Truck qualifying rather than the rest of the race.
    That puts motorcycle racing and road racing in particular in its place. Ouch!
    The friends that I was with spent a nice afternoon talking about bikes and eating pizza. We had a good time anyway.
    RIP Daytona. Barry

  9. Anyone can whine and bitch about how other folks do their jobs. How many of you can bring together the talent, tracks and promotion to do a series?

  10. You sound a little cranky on this one. I believe only a couple privateers planned to run the whole race on one front but they decided their lives mattered too.

    The big victims? Zemke and Herrin had the race to themselves to fight over before the flag and my money was on Zemke getting thee better of it.

    I actually think the AMA has come aways since the first DMG year and I even went to one of the events and still had a good time. I place most of the fiasco on Dunlop. No one has more experience building tires for Daytona and without any competition they should have had a very conservative tire for the new asphalt. I’m sure it won’t happen again next year!

  11. Maybe it’s time to admit that Daytona is not a good place to race motorcycles anymore and move on. I have been to and watched the race many times on T.V. and it seems to become more of a farce every year.

  12. After all their winter testing, Dunlop didn’t have a good tire for 200 miles ?
    AMA/DMG cannot seem to find their own backsides with two hands and a road map.
    No wonder none of the ‘World Guys’ bother to show up any more, its a glorified club race…

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