Edmondson knows that the closer you get to production racing the greater the edge goes to the factories. He's also aware that you're never going to have dirt-track equality, where up to eight bikes race to the finish line at the mile ovals. But he and everyone else would like see a better show than was on display in Daytona.
"Within 90 days [the teams] are going to know [what the technical regulations are], and again, if we believe there is a new way to go it wouldn't make sense for us to approve any rules or institute any rules that required any investment in the old rules or the old format," he says. "My inclination, without talking to anybody, would be to take a hard look at the FIM's World Superbike rules." When it is pointed out that World Superbike allows for liberal modifications, he says, "Well, they start that way, but that's the equipment that starts that way. There's the ability to put restrictors on them or put horsepower limits on them or to start taking away things."
Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin...
Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin stamped his authority on the Superbike race, grabbing the holeshot and pulling a two-second lead before reigning two-time champion (and teammate) Ben Spies could recover from a poor start.
Along with machine restrictions will come control tires, in which Edmondson is a firm believer. Pirelli tires run on his Grand-Am Rolex Sports Cars, with Hoosier on the two supporting classes. Pirelli is the tire of choice of Moto-ST and the Canadian series run by Colin Fraser. It's also the tire of choice in World Superbike and, from this year, British Superbike. And if, as we've been led to believe, DMG wants to restore the 200 to the glory days when European participation was strong, the tire would almost certainly have to be Pirelli. Edmondson insists he's a long way from making a choice and that all companies will have an equal chance. He plans to have a class structure in place by the Fontana round of the AMA Superbike Championship in late April. At that point the bid for the tire contract can go out.
While the reaction to the sale from the track promoters was positive, there was some skepticism from the paddock. "To make 600s the premier class in a country like America doesn't make a lot of sense to me," Mladin says. "They're big-bore people. They want to see big bikes with horsepower; that's how I look at that. In saying that, should the Daytona 200 be the Superbike class? I agree 100 percent. Can we race 200-plus-horsepower motorcycles around Daytona for 69 laps? Absolutely not. Some of the 600s on the weekend, in the Supersport race on Thursday, actually had some small tire problems with delamination. That's a product of speed and load on the banking of Daytona."
The Supersport race was a...
The Supersport race was a barnburner as usual, with Yamaha's Ben Bostrom (155) beating teammate Josh Herrin (46) by a wheel at the finish. Reigning Supersport champion Roger Lee Hayden (1) was hanging close on his Kawasaki but was balked by a lapped rider and finished 3.2 seconds back.
That may be true, but those were DOT-treaded tires, not slicks. And it doesn't matter. Daytona is exempt from all discussions of safety. Racing a 600cc motorcycle at close to 190 mph a few feet from an unprotected wall (close to 200 mph for a superbike) isn't part of this discussion; at that point you're splitting hairs-or helmets.
The Daytona Motorsports Group owns the rights to AMA Pro Racing. Daytona will be the premiere event for the premiere class. That in itself may tell us more about the future than anything else.