Young charges to ninth as five Canadians finish at Daytona 200

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The 82nd running of the historic Daytona 200 concluded with five Canadians taking the chequered flag on Saturday, as three-time Bridgestone Canadian Superbike champion Ben Young led the group with a ninth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway.

After qualifying tops amongst CSBK riders in 20th on Friday, Young returned to DIS for the 57-lap feature race on Saturday and quickly settled in at the front, climbing to 16th after the first two laps with four Canadians inside the early top-30.

The group of nine CSBK entries would rapidly shrink to five, however, as both Sebastien Tremblay and Brad Macrae got tangled up with four other riders in a chaotic lap-one crash at the chicane, as Tremblay was collected by another rider and Macrae crashed while taking avoiding action. Both were thankfully uninjured.

Shortly after, a pair of mechanical issues would bring the event to an early end for both Trevor Dion and Sam Guerin, who were each running firmly inside the top-30.

It was an especially crushing result for Dion, who had put his Warhorse HSBK Ducati into 19th in the opening battle and began to catch the lead group when he suddenly ran into front brake issues. The Ducati team tried to fix the problem, but were unable to manage it and Dion was forced to retire on only lap four.

Guerin would continue through most of the first stint and climb as high as 27th, but a Friday night engine swap proved to be unsuccessful as he bowed out with a motor failure on lap 13.

That left the Team BATTLAX Suzuki duo of Young and Trevor Daley, Matt Simpson, Alex Michel, and Mavrick Cyr on-track approaching the end of the first stint, with the first round of pit stops projected between lap 17 to 21.

Both Daley and Young would manage to extend their first shift on the Bridgestone tires toward the later end of that period, making up valuable time on the midfield behind a pair of excellent pit stops.

Young would really make his gains in the second stint, however, again squeezing the most out of his tires to stay out later than majority of the field and pit for a final time on lap 40, avoiding a three-stop strategy that proved to be disastrous for a handful of other riders.

With fresher BATTLAX rubber in the final phase, Young managed to string together a batch of strong laps to climb into the top-ten, nearly catching Stefano Mesa for ninth after exiting the pits down more than 20 seconds to the Ducati rider.

Ultimately he would fall just six seconds shy of Mesa at the line, but managed to bring home a spectacular tenth-place finish in what was considered one of the strongest fields in Daytona 200 history, scoring higher than names like PJ Jacobsen and four-time Daytona winner Danny Eslick.

The tenth-place finish would later become ninth, however, as provisional fourth-place runner Bobby Fong was disqualified for a fuel infraction, moving each of the Canadian riders up one spot in the end results.

As for Young’s teammate, Daley was working inside the top-20 himself when he was forced into a longer second stop than usual due to a loose tail-section, coming back out in 25th position.

Daley would fight his way back through a handful of riders during the pit window to claim 21st on-track and later 20th overall, an impressive finish that would put him second amongst the CSBK entries and secure an excellent result for the Team BATTLAX Suzuki program.

Making up the most ground on Saturday was Evans Racing Yamaha rider Matt Simpson, who avoiding the early chaos and settled into a strong middle stint to climb from 46th on the grid to 25th in the final table.

Simpson ran into engine problems of his own in the morning warm-up but was able to nurse his YZF-R6 machine to the end, leaving Daytona with a strong effort to finish as the third Canadian and fifth-best Bridgestone rider on the day.

Rounding out the field of Bridgestone CSBK riders were fellow debutants Alex Michel in 28th and pro rookie Mavrick Cyr in 30th, helping establish five Canadians inside the top half of the order after a whopping 62 riders took to the grid.

Michel rode a quietly steady race, moving inside the top-35 early on and avoiding any major moments compared to the rest of the midfield aboard his SpeedFactory67 Kawasaki. As for Cyr, the 18-year-old showed early flashes before a few key mistakes left him further down the order, but the Rizzin Racing Triumph rider clawed his way back to end the day well inside the group of 40 finishers.

Also representing Bridgestone in the final order was the Yamaha Austrian Racing Team duo of Karel Hanika and Marvin Fritz, who put their World Endurance machines fifth and sixth respectively (third team member Niccolo Canepa was unable to race due to injury).

As for the overall star of the day, a dominant showing gave Josh Herrin his second consecutive Daytona 200 victory for Warhorse HSBK Ducati and third win of his career, with pole-sitter Tyler Scott and Hayden Gillim joining him on the podium.

Full coverage of Saturday’s race – including a more in-depth look at Herrin’s historic Daytona 200 victory – can be found on the series’ official website at CSBK.ca.

For more information on the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship, visit www.csbk.ca.

Main picture: Three-time CSBK champ Ben Young was the top Canadian at the Daytona 200 on Saturday, finishing ninth for Team BATTLAX Suzuki. Photo credit: Colin Fraser.

Source: Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship

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