You’ve got to love a mudder! This side of the pond we’d most likely describe it as being a bit sh*tty but invariably add rain to the AMA SX series programme and you end up with a mudder. And Daytona is certainly a mudder. Although not *adopts Bronx accent* da mudda of all mudders *switches back to normal accent* – that came at Daytona in 2008 – it’s still mighty sh*tey out there.
With Ryan Dungey out with a broken collarbone defending champ and series leader Ryan Villopoto goes into the Florida race aiming to take his fifth win in six races and make it three on the bounce at Daytona Beach. But RV crashes on the opening lap and is forced to make an heroic charge back through the pack from dead last to fifth at the flag.
With RV down and RG out it’s James Stewart – who races quali with his old #259 – who goes out and grabs the win, his second of the 2012 series, in his home state. And there’s double reason to celebrate in Stewart’s Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha pit as team-mate Davi Millsaps surfs his way to a season-best second from old-timer Kevin Windham (winner of Daytona back in 2008).
“It was a tough and gnarly race,” says Stewart who now has 44 victories in the class and has tied with Jeremy McGrath in second place on the all-time SX/MX win list with 89. “Practice went really well, we set a good lap, won the heat race and got a good start. It was amazing and special to win Daytona for the second time.
“It means a lot for us to get a win and to go 1-2 as a race team. I’ve been saying if I got a start I felt like I could win one of these things. So tonight it was definitely good enough for me. So, I’m stoked.”
Marvellous Marvin Musquin, racing the big bike class while he waits for the West Coast Lites to resume, nails fourth on the Red Bull KTM.
Down in the East Coast Lites class Justin Barcia continues to dominate, the GEICO Honda rider taking his fourth straight win in a shortened Main Event to card a perfect 100 points at the halfway stage. Blake Baggett chases hard for second on the night but it’s Darryn Durham who mounts the third step of the podium who holds second in the series standings, 24 points shy of Barcia.
World MX2 champ Ken Roczen is fourth in Daytona but holds third in the series.