Bridgestone will support a Canadian super team at next month’s 81st running of the Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway, March 11. Reigning Bridgestone Canadian National Superbike Champion Ben Young of Collingwood, ON, and top Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike competitor Elliot Vieira from Claremont, ON, will both compete on Bridgestone slick-shod Yamaha YZF-R6’s built by Florida Bridgestone distributor BikePass Motorsports (BPM).
The Daytona 200 middleweight event, relaunched last year, is a rare top-level competition that allows for open tire choice – a spec tire is not mandated by organizers MotoAmerica at this specific, start of season event.
Scottish-born Young, age 30, has previously competed at Daytona in the prestigious 200-mile D.I.S. event.
In 2012, Young earned 8th in the 200 after starting from 17th. Young’s qualifying effort was disrupted by a red flag stoppage in very cold (4 degrees C) conditions just as he fitted fresh tires. That year, Young had two scheduled pit stops during the lengthy race, changing just rear rubber the first time, and both wheels and tires the second.
“It’s been ten years since my last 200, and back then I really was just a kid,” explained two-time CSBK overall national champ Young. “My riding has developed, and I’m wiser, so I think if the package is right with the bike and our pit stops are solid, there is no reason we can’t be with the lead group in the final stint of the race.”
Young’s sponsors will include Hindle Exhaust, Vass Performance Cycle and Scott Cartier Racing, and his family who will help as pit crew.
Just turned 25, Guyana-born Vieira has never competed at Daytona, so will be on a steep learning curve at the famed high-banked Florida Super Speedway. At Vieira’s most recent race in August’s Canadian Tire Motorsport Park national, he scored a rare runaway victory in Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike on his Snow City/Brooklin Cycle Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.
“Obviously, this is just a great opportunity for me,” explained Vieira at the recent Toronto Motorcycle Show. “I know that Daytona is a really big event, the field is deep, and there are lots of little details that are crucial to success.
“As well, there is a team element to Daytona with the 200, both in terms of the pit stops and potentially working in tandem in the draft during Qualifying,” Vieira added. “Ben and I are ready to see what we can do together, and be ready to take advantage of pit stops, red flags, whatever.”
Vieira will campaign a GP Bikes-backed Ducati in Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike national action in Canada in 2023, and plans to ride the new vee-twin for the first time at the Bridgestone CSBK tire test at JenningsGP in north Florida, March 14-15, right after the Daytona 200.
Daytona Supersport Schedule for the 81st annual Daytona 200
Thursday, March 9
Practice 1, Group B at 10:40 AM ET
Qualifying 1, Group A at 2:40 PM ET
Friday, March 10
Qualifying 2, Group A at 10:10 AM ET
Time Attack at 1 PM ET
Saturday, March 11
Warm Up 8:45 AM ET
Daytona 200 – 57 Laps – 45 min to start from 1:10 PM ET
For more information on the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship, visit www.csbk.ca.
Main picture: 2023 reigning Canadian Superbike champ Ben Young returns to Daytona on a Bridgestone Yamaha R6 to compete in the 81st annual Daytona 200 race. Photo credit: Colin Fraser.