Monday, 17 March 2014

Historic win for a Triumph at Daytona 200

The last running of the Daytona 200 as a Supersport race saw a historic win for Triumph when Danny Eslick, on the Riders Discount Team's Daytona 675R, took the chequered flag after a race that he controlled right from the first few laps.

Danny Eslick dominated this year's Daytona 200 race

Eslick started the race from pole position (another historic milestone for the British manufacturer - the last time a Triumph was on pole was in 1971) and immediately began applying his dominance on proceedings, in a lead group that also included Garett Gerloff, fellow Triumph Daytona rider Jason DiSalvo and Dane Westby amongst others. Gerloff briefly led the race after the first round of pitstops but unfortunately dropped his Yamaha soon afterwards. He was able to rejoin the race, though, and crossed the line in a very respectable 5th place.

DiSalvo and Westby were less fortunate, however. Just before the second round of ptistops, Westby highsided his Yamaha and DiSalvo dropped his bike when he ran off into the dirt at the edge of the track in an attempt to avoid Westby. Bikes and riders finished in the airfence but whereas the riders walked away unharmed, the bikes had sustained damage and were unrideable.

After the second round of stops, the rider from Broken Arrow, in Oklahoma, gradually put the hammer down and pulled away inexorably from his pursuers. After what must have seemed like an eternity to him, the chequered flag came out, sealing a significant victory both for Triumph and, on a more personal note, for Danny Eslick.

Eslick dedicated his victory to close friends who passed recently, including the racer Tommy Aquino, and was overcome by the emotion. 

Danny Eslick dedicated his race to close friends who passed away, including Tommy Aquino

Meanwhile, this Daytona 200 win was the first for Triumph since 1967, when Gary Nixon won the race on a Triumph Daytona 500 twin-cylinder machine. However, given that next year the 200 will be a Superbike race, it would appear that this might well be the British manufacturer's last victory in this iconic event.

The podium was completed by Jake Gagne and Jake Lewis, both on Yamaha R6 machinery. There were two other Triumphs in the top 10: Bobby Fong, in 4th, and British rider Luke Stapleford, in 7th.

Photo credits: Cycle World (upper photo) and Brian J. Nelson (lower photo)

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