PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Nearly all AMA Racing disciplines will be on full display at Daytona Beach this Feb. 27 through March 7, making 2010 one of the best years ever for American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) amateur and pro-am racers to experience Bike Week.
While off-road riders take to the woods in the historic Alligator Enduro and the season-opener kicks off for the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, motocross and dirt-track racers of all ages will share world-caliber tracks with some of the fastest riders in the world. Not only will amateur racers get to roost sand on the unique Daytona Supercross By Honda course, they'll also help break in the new Daytona Flat Track facility located just outside Daytona International Speedway.
"Outstanding promoters such as MX Sports and Steve Nace Racing, series partners such as AMA Dragbike, facility owners such as Daytona International Speedway and historic AMA clubs such as the Daytona Dirt Riders, a branch of the Florida Trail Riders, make all these events possible," said AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley.
Amateur racers hit the Supercross course
Davey Coombs of MX Sports, organizers of the Ricky Carmichael AMA Amateur Supercross at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, March 7, said that while his focus may be on the Supercross course, he's looking forward to every type of racing that Bike Week offers.
"Going to Bike Week in Daytona is a right of passage for any motorcyclist, and if you're a racer, it's practically mandatory," Coombs said. "My family has been going since my dad entered in the '73 Daytona Supercross. We load up the bikes and go to the GNCC, the Alligator Enduro, the dirt-track races, the road racing events and, of course, the Daytona Supercross By Honda. It's more than a full week of fantastic racing, whether you're an amateur or an AMA professional, in the middle of the biggest gathering of motorcycling enthusiasts in the world."
If racing on the Supercross course isn't enough, Coombs adds that riders will get a unique opportunity to learn from perhaps the best racer ever to spin a knobby tire on the Daytona International Speedway infield. Ricky Carmichael University will follow the amateur Supercross race on Monday, March 8. This will be the first public riding school hosted by the 15-time AMA National Champion.
Tim Cotter, event director at MX Sports, says that racers can expect a fun family atmosphere at the track.
"Daytona International Speedway is the 'World Center of Racing', and America's motocross riders and their families should be racing there," Cotter said. "We are scheduled for Bike Week in Daytona! It doesn't get any better than that. We are very excited to have this opportunity to work with Daytona International Speedway and look forward to reintroducing amateur Supercross to the facility."
The amateur Supercross event isn't the only major race in which Cotter and AMA amateurs will be involved during Bike Week. On Feb. 27-28, roughly 45 miles northwest of Daytona Beach, at the MX Marion County facility in Reddick, Fla., the biggest amateur motocross series in the world kicks off for racers in the Southeast with the region's first Area Qualifier for the 29th AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships, presented by Amsoil.
"The AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships, presented by Amsoil, is the year's premier amateur motocross event," Cotter said. "Of course, to make the big show Aug. 2-7 in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., riders have to qualify. For racers in the Southeast region, that begins in Reddick."
Information about all MX Sports produced events can be found at MXSports.com.
On the track
If curves aren't your thing and outright speed lights you up, you can catch the quickest and fastest accelerating motorcycles in the world at the South Georgia Motorsports Park dragstrip in Valdosta, Ga. The AMA Dragbike Bikeweek Nationals are set for March 5-7.
"Guinness Book world-record holder Larry 'Spiderman' McBride will attempt to re-set the record while trying to hold off the Top Fuel competition," said AMA Dragbike President Scott Valetti. "In addition, the program will showcase over a $1 million field of no-wheelie-bar, 600 horsepower, 200-plus mile-per-hour Pro Street bikes going head-to-head at nearly 6 seconds in the quarter mile."
For many, however, Bike Week competition is rooted in four left turns. For them, the history of Daytona Beach has been written by the stars of American dirt-track racing. Those fans have a lot to look forward to this year with the all-new Daytona Flat Track facility located outside Turns 1 and 2 alongside the world-famous Daytona International Speedway.
Amateur dirt-trackers will roost limestone and race into the record books this Feb. 27, 28 and March 1 on the new quarter-mile short-track at the three-round AMA Racing Winter National Short-Track Championships. The event will feature competition in youth, vet/senior and other amateur classes, with national No. 1 plates on the line.
In addition, March 2 will include the AMA Racing Vet/Senior Shootout. Not only will this event include classes for amateur racers over 30, 40 and 50 years old, but special classes just for pro-licensed riders will be included in the program. This event will give dirt-track fans an excellent opportunity to see the sport's top pros battle for bragging rights leading into the first round of the 2010 AMA Pro Racing Grand National Championship, which gets underway at the same venue on March 3-4.
"This will be a unique and rare opportunity for our amateur racers to help break in one of the sport's premier facilities," said AMA Track Racing Manager Ken Saillant. "The Daytona Flat Track facility is purpose-built for this type of racing, and we are excited to begin writing a new chapter of American dirt-track racing history at what will immediately be one of the top venues for dirt-track racing in the country."
Fans and racers who enjoy seeing history in action can also get their fill at the new Daytona Flat Track. The first round of the 2010 AMA Racing National Vintage Dirt Track Championship Series is Feb. 28 at the Daytona Flat Track facility, while round two will be March 2 at the Volusia Speedway half-mile in Barberville, Fla.
Don Miller, technical advisor for the AMA Racing National Vintage Dirt Track Championship Series, says his "excitement level is completely off the dyno chart" for the first round.
"It's the whole historically correct end of this new series that has me going," Miller said. "I grew up around dirt track, and while I didn't know it at the time, I was witnessing history the night Jay Springsteen held it wide open for all 25 laps at Harrington, Delaware. Today, many of us have those types of memories. With the period-correct structure of our vintage classes, we'll get to see the motorcycles of AMA Grand National Championship racing just as it was back in the day.
"To me there is no better way than to re-live our history than on the track," Miller continued. "And in keeping with the AMA's strong tradition, we'll get things going for this new national series at the world center of racing -- that's right, just outside the walls of the historic Daytona International Speedway."
For more information about the AMA Racing National Vintage Dirt Track Championship Series, see AMARacing.com.
Off-road racers get their turn
The racing during Bike Week is just as competitive off the track, with America's top off-road racers facing off on March 4 at the historic Alligator Enduro, round three of the AMA Racing Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series, presented by Moose Racing, and two rounds of the Can-Am GNCC series.
The Alligator Enduro is one of the oldest, most historic off-road races in America. Only a few years younger than the Daytona 200 itself, the event is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2010. It perennially attracts the country's best off-road racers, even those who don't follow the entire national series.
"We fully expect this year to be thrilling for both riders and fans," said Daytona Dirt Riders Secretary Randy Griffin. "Is the Alligator Enduro a prestigious event worth being around? Sixty years running with more 500 riders from around the world in town to ride 70 miles of an enduro in the woods of Florida should explain everything."
Although entries are now full for the Alligator Enduro, more information, including spectator information, can be found at DaytonaDirtRiders.org.
Many of those top racers will also be on hand at the Can-Am GNCC events that bookend Bike Week. First up is the season opener, The Parts Unlimited River Ranch GNCC, Feb. 27-March 2 in River Ranch, Fla. Then, on March 6-7, GNCC racers line up at The Maxxis General GNCC in Washington, Ga. For more information, see GNCCRacing.com.
"This is always a special round for a few reasons, probably the most important part is that amateur riders from the north finally get a break from the cold!" said Racer Productions spokesman Jason Weigandt. "The GNCC opener in Florida is really a late-winter vacation for a lot of riders, and the River Ranch Resort that holds the race is a pretty neat destination, with lots to do. The race is also unique since it's the only sand race on the tour, so anyone who hasn't been training in the winter will have to really tough it out.
"The race generally draws 1200-1300 racers, which makes it one of the biggest events of Bike Week. And it's a rare chance for all the industry brass and media from other motorsports to check out off-road racing, since most of those folks are in town for the week. That puts some extra pressure on the riders to impress."
For hardcore enduro racers, the AMA-sanctioned Straight Arrow Enduro will be held Feb. 28 about 100 miles southwest of Daytona in the Withlacoochee State Forest. Although the AMA-sanctioned Straight Arrow Enduro is not part of the national series, this popular local enduro celebrates its 36th anniversary this year. The event, which moved from a traditional May date, has access to about 65,000 acres of public land that is typically off-limits. More information is at FloridaTrailRiders.org.
Finally, Feb. 27-28, the Florida Trials Association MC Club Inc. is holding an observed trials competition, located at the Hard Rock Cycle park in Ocala, Fla. More information can be found at FloridaTrials.net.
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About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through its Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations.