The Countdown Has Begun
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 8, 2008) --With under two weeks remaining until the 8 Hours At Daytona, the final round of the 2008 SunTrust MOTO-ST Series, October 17-18 at Daytona International Speedway, the countdown has begun as teams ready themselves for this once-a-year 8 hour two-wheeled spectacular.
After six races, the points are tight and no team, in either the Buell Motorcycle Company SuperSport class (SST), the BMW GrandSport Twins class (GST) or the Sport Twins class (ST), has a lock on the championship. In short, it all comes down to this one event.
With $100,000 in purse money and valuable championship points on the line, the action will definitely be intense as teams take to the legendary Daytona track, each determined to be the one to earn the distinct honor of winning this season grand finale.
Endurance racing is far different than other forms of two-wheel competition. In this type of team racing numerous factors come into play. It is not simply a question of man and machine or who is the fastest rider or who has the better-prepped bike. Naturally those are key issues, but even more important is the ability of the entire team to work as a single unit, to be able to do lightening fast pit stops and to be able to make any necessary repairs extremely quickly. Many races are won in the pits and therefore pit work is one of the most important keys.
At the end of last year's 8 Hours At Daytona, it was Roadracingworld.com in the Number One slot. Piloted by Chris Ulrich of Lake Elsinore, Calif., Cory West of Vista, Calif. and England's Gary Mason, this team took the victory by 25.838 seconds.
"And, now we want to make it two-in-a-row," says Ulrich. "This race is an incredible challenge and being able to finish in first place is extremely prestigious. My teammate Cory West did an excellent job last time out. In fact, it was largely due to him that we won the race. He is a strong competitor and a great team player. Our plan is to add one more rider and we should be good to go."
Definitely one of the most successful endurance teams in America today, Roadracingworld.com brings both a wealth of experience and an outstanding list of championships and victories, including 131 endurance race wins.
"Probably the most important ingredient to winning this type of event is the ability of your crew," continues Ulrich. "And, we have one of the very best in the country. Our crew chief Keith Perry knows exactly what to do and he holds an outstanding reputation as a man behind fast, reliable and legal machines capable of winning races.
Tire wear is another key issue," continues Ulrich. "But, the Pirellis are really good and we can hang well."
While Roadracingworld.com looks for the win, Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports will be looking to take their second championship. Leading the points chase with 197 points, team riders Mike Himmelsbach and Ty Howard are ready to battle their way to the front.
Thus far this season, this standout team has scored wins at Daytona, Virginia International Raceway and New Jersey Motorsports Park, taken two second places at Road America and Barber Motorsports Park and a fourth at Heartland Park Topeka.
However, sitting 16 points behind is the Touring Sport Ducati team with riders Doug Polen, Ryan Elleby and Ryan Gordon.
"We definitely have our work cut out for us if we want to take the title," says team manager Frank Shockley. "We need to win and Aprilia USA needs to finish 13th or below for us to earn the Championship. We need a lot of luck on our side. However, stranger things have happened. In fact, last year, the Aprilia team finished 13th in class. You just can't make a prediction in racing. All you can do is do your very best and let the cards fall where they may."
In the GST class, the leader is once again Touring Sport Ducati, the defending champions, by just two points. Hot on their tail is the James Gang/Hoban Brothers Racing team and in the ST class M4 Avteq Racing has a nine point lead over Pair-A-Nines who took the title last year.
While you cannot predict who will win, you can predict that the racing will be fast and furious as the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series competitors take to the famed Daytona International Speedway track in an all out attempt to win the prestigious 8 Hours At Daytona.