Arai Racers Dominate Daytona Racing—AGAIN!
Other Arai Daytona 2012 SuperBike racers of note included Geoff May and his Team Amsoil/Hero Eric Buell Racing EBR 1190RS who took sixth and a DNF respectively; his teammate, and defending Daytona SportBike class champion Danny Eslick compiled a DNF and a ninth; Team Venezuela's Robertino Pietri with an eighth and a 10th; Kneedraggers.com/Motul/Fly Racing's “Aussie Dave” Anthony, a 10th and 11th; and RoadracingWorld.com’s Chris Ulrich, still recovering from his 2011 season injuries, recorded impressive 11th and 12th place finishes.
Arai’s third podium sweep, in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series season opener, came via a last lap drafting battle, the kind that has determined so many Daytona International Speedway races. At the stripe, it was Arai’s Kyle Wyman on his Kyle Wyman Racing/Vesrah Harley-Davidson just getting past Bartel's Harley-Davidson teammates Tyler O'Hara and Michael Barnes. It was Kyle’s second consecutive Vance & Hines XR1200 Series race win at Daytona.
The 71st running of the Daytona 200 saw Arai’s 2011 race winner Jason DiSalvo taking second place on his specially-themed Latus Motors Racing Triumph 675R. Both DiSalvo and the bike were adorned in special livery honoring famed Triumph racer Gary Nixon, with DiSalvo even replacing his standard #40 race number with Nixon’s #9 plate. Longtime Arai racer, and 2010 Daytona SportBike champion, Martin Cardenas brought his GEICO Suzuki home in fourth, and M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki rider Dane Westby led another tightly-packed group across the line in fifth. Veteran racer and former champion Tommy Hayden, left without a fulltime ride in 2012, filled in for an injured racer on the Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha to take seventh place.
Although both AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport races had their share of excitement, everything was scooped by Arai racer Elena Myers and her history-making victory in the second race. (See separate story.)
This year’s fabled Daytona Short Track saw another first-time winner. Arai’s Johnny Lewis and his Honda started everything off on Thursday night with his first-ever Daytona Flat Track victory. He didn’t sneak into it either, leading every one of the 25 laps in the 18-rider field. Yamaha’s Sammy Halbert, a double winner last year, now in his first year with Arai, took third place. In round two on Friday night, Brad Baker, Kenny Coolbeth Jr., and Halbert gave Arai a third, fourth and fifth respectively in the main event.
Images by Andrea Wilson