The Daytona 200 ran on Saturday, and the five Canadian riders entered into this year’s contest had a mixed bag of results. And that’s no wonder—the race itself was confusing, thanks to a red flag and restart.
A crash between Jason Waters, Teagg Hobbs and Danny Eslick on Lap 53 brought out the red flag, with only four laps left to go. If the crash had occurred one lap later, the race order at that time would have been the finishing order, but following the rulebook, the race was re-started, with racers required to do the minimum 10 laps.
That turned the endurance race into a sprint, and Josh Herrin was the winner, his second win at the 200. It’s controversial, as Herrin was one of two riders battling for the lead up to the red flag, the other being Richie Escalante. A tangle between the two before the red flag led to a crash for Escalante and Herrin was able to come back after the restart and win, despite a penalty for the earlier incident.
Josh Hayes was second overall, Cameron Peterson third. Herrin was on a Ducati Panigale V2 and Hayes and Peterson both rode Yamaha R6 machines.
Canada at war
The restart hurt Canadian team BPM Yamaha badly; Ben Young and Eliot Vieira’s Yamaha R6s did not have the muscle of the tuned-up front-runners and couldn’t make up the difference in only 10 laps. Young pushed hard to get to the forefront, but with six laps to go, he crashed out in 12th place. Vieira managed to stay in it, and thanks to fresh tires he managed to work all the way up to 15th overall, a very respectable effort for his first time ever at the banked track.
Alex Coelho was right behind Vieira in 16th, no doubt making him a happy camper after his struggles with Daytona over the years. Neither Darren James and Vincent Levillain finished this year.
Return of the greatest North American roadrace?
With all the controversy of the crashing and banging and restarting at Daytona this year, one thing is for sure: Plenty of people are talking about it. Richie Escalante might not have been happy (Herrin said Escalante was trackside, flipping him off after the crash). Fourth-place Hayden Gillim wasn’t happy either (he contested his fourth-overall finish with race officials after, and was denied). A large chunk of backmarkers probably weren’t happy either (riders who hadn’t completed at least 39 laps before the crash and were basically out of contention weren’t allowed to restart). But crashes and a tough rulebook have always been part of racing, and the scent of accomplishment that was snatched away is a powerful drug.
That means that barring any more pandemic lockdowns or other disasters, next year’s Daytona 200 could be even more exciting, particularly now that MotoAmerica is involved again, bringing its organizational power to the race.
Other Daytona races
Of course there is plenty of other roadracing at Daytona over the weekend, and that includes MotoAmerica’s Twins Cup. Darren James raced that event as well and earned a 10th in Race 1, 8th in Race 2. That leaves him 9th overall in the standings, one race in.