Canada is aiming for another big win at the Daytona 200 Pro Sport Bike race over the March 9 weekend. CSBK racers Ben Young and Elliot Vieira are headed down to Florida to contend in the event, in an effort supported by CSBK sponsor Bridgestone, along with three other Canadian racers racing on their own teams.
In his previous career racing in the US, Young actually ran the Daytona 200 way back in 2012. But as he spent most of his time in the States in the MotoAmerica seriesasra, that was his only visit—remember, this race was off the MotoAmerica schedule for years, sanctioned instead by ASRA. Now that it’s back in the MotoAmerica series, the Daytona 200 is no longer a Pro Superbike race, and its points don’t count towards the Pro Sport Bike championship either. Newer, more powerful litrebikes eat their tires at the event, to the point that it’s hard to run the 200-mile race safely on the latest 1000-class machinery. Indeed, last time he was at Daytona, Young finished eighth, but probably would have finished higher if the red flag hadn’t waved while he was in the pits for a tire change (more on that in CSBK’s press release below).
Vieira has never run at Daytona before, but he might be a bit more at home behind the handlebars of the Yamaha R6 machinery they’re running, as he campaigned in Pro Sport Bike in CSBK last season.
Elsewhere in the lineup, veteran Daytona 200 competitor (and also longtime CSBK challenger) Darren James is listed on the grid this year. So are Alex Coelho and Vincent Levillain, two other familiar faces from the past couple of CSBK Pro Sport Bike campaigns.
See the official press release from CSBK and Bridgestone below, announcing Young and Vieira’s challenge:
CSBK champ Ben Young and top gun Elliot Vieira will represent Bridgestone and Canada at the Daytona 200
Bridgestone will support a Canadian super team at next month’s 81st running of the Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway, March 11. Reigning Bridgestone Canadian National Superbike Champion Ben Young of Collingwood, ON, and top Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike competitor Elliot Vieira from Claremont, ON, will both compete on Bridgestone slick-shod Yamaha YZF-R6’s built by Florida Bridgestone distributor BikePass Motorsports (BPM).
The Daytona 200 middleweight event, relaunched last year, is a rare top-level competition that allows for open tire choice – a spec tire is not mandated by organizers MotoAmerica at this specific, start of season event.
Scottish-born Young, age 30, has previously competed at Daytona in the prestigious 200-mile D.I.S. event.
In 2012, Young earned 8th in the 200 after starting from 17th. Young’s qualifying effort was disrupted by a red flag stoppage in very cold (4 degrees C) conditions just as he fitted fresh tires. That year, Young had two scheduled pit stops during the lengthy race, changing just rear rubber the first time, and both wheels and tires the second.
“It’s been ten years since my last 200, and back then I really was just a kid,” explained two-time CSBK overall national champ Young. “My riding has developed, and I’m wiser, so I think if the package is right with the bike and our pit stops are solid, there is no reason we can’t be with the lead group in the final stint of the race.”
Young’s sponsors will include Hindle Exhaust, Vass Performance Cycle and Scott Cartier Racing, and his family who will help as pit crew.
Just turned 25, Guyana-born Vieira has never competed at Daytona, so will be on a steep learning curve at the famed high-banked Florida Super Speedway. At Vieira’s most recent race in August’s Canadian Tire Motorsport Park national, he scored a rare runaway victory in Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike on his Snow City/Brooklin Cycle Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.
“Obviously, this is just a great opportunity for me,” explained Vieira at the recent Toronto Motorcycle Show. “I know that Daytona is a really big event, the field is deep, and there are lots of little details that are crucial to success.
“As well, there is a team element to Daytona with the 200, both in terms of the pit stops and potentially working in tandem in the draft during Qualifying,” Vieira added. “Ben and I are ready to see what we can do together, and be ready to take advantage of pit stops, red flags, whatever.”
Vieira will campaign a GP Bikes-backed Ducati in Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike national action in Canada in 2023, and plans to ride the new vee-twin for the first time at the Bridgestone CSBK tire test at JenningsGP in north Florida, March 14-15, right after the Daytona 200.
Daytona Supersport Schedule for the 81st annual Daytona 200
Thursday, March 9
Practice 1, Group B at 10:40 AM ET
Qualifying 1, Group A at 2:40 PM ET
Friday, March 10
Qualifying 2, Group A at 10:10 AM ET
Time Attack at 1 PM ET
Saturday, March 11
Warm Up 8:45 AM ET
Daytona 200 – 57 Laps – 45 min to start from 1:10 PM ET