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D-Day at Daytona !

The AMA Supercross championship tour is in Florida for what is maybe the biggest race of the
season.

It may not have the hype of A1 but in the context of the championship this is weekend is huge!

After a couple of bad storms have threatened to ruin the racing in recent years, this season’s event
could be the perfect storm.

Davi Millsaps just saw ten points of his championship lead evaporate in his worst result of the season
as defending champion Ryan Villopoto took his fourth win of the year at St. Louis.

Now only twelve points back Villopoto smells blood in the water and when he has the bit between
his teeth Ryan is a hard man to stop. Daytona is a more outdoor track and with the loamy dirt suiting
Villopoto’s pin it to win style, the Kawasaki rider must be chomping at the bit to close the point’s gap
even more.

This is the biggest test for Millsaps so far this year and maybe in his career, this is where is ability
under pressure will be tested. He rode good in St Louis but coming from tenth meant by the time he
got to sixth he had to catch and pass the big hitters and he simply ran out of time.

Luckily for Davi he is also fantastic at Daytona. He loves the long whoops sections and deteriorating
track even when he wasn’t in the form he is now. Millsaps needs to make it happen and this is the
perfect place for him to do it!

The problem is the class is so stacked with so many potential winners that the championship
contenders can get shuffled around on any given Saturday night.

The aggression level at St Louis was definitely higher than it ever was and all the riders seem to be
hitting their stride at the same time, with each one having a sense of “I need to make this happen
right now.” For various reasons each rider feels he has to win now, no more waiting is allowed!

James Stewart is finally back and battling for wins and he loves Daytona. He also put an aggressive
move on Villopoto and James has always been incredibly fast around Daytona. He isn’t in the
championship mix but he wants to win races and make up for his poor start to the season. He is also
doesn’t Justin Barcia (and he isn’t the only one).

Justin Barcia is back to his best and if it wasn’t for one mistake he could have get second in St Louis
but he doesn’t like James Stewart. In a somewhat controversial and possibly hypocritical statement
Barcia said that while he likes to ride aggressive he doesn’t ride dirty like Stewart. Many riders on
the receiving end of a Barcia hit would strongly disagree! Barcia by all accounts has been ruffling a
few feathers of late and it could come back to bite him.

Chad Reed doesn’t like Barcia either and the feeling appears to be mutual. After Barcia cut across
Reed earlier in the season while rejoining the track, the pair engaged in a ram fest for a few corners
and Reed isn’t one to forgive and forget.

The Honda rider has went back to the suspension settings of last year and seems to be one of the
guys again but he is still angry, he loves Daytona and if he gets a start he won’t hold anything back –
especially if Barcia or Stewart is in front of him.

With all the anger up front it is easy to forget about the quiet man Ryan Dungey. The Dunge needs
to win again and soon. He won’t want RV to get any further away in the points and he is almost a
race behind Millsaps. Dungey is famed for his fitness and that will come into effect at Daytona but he
needs the starts and the aggression to go along with it because everyone else is ready to play dirty
to win.

Trey Canard has lost his momentum in the last few weeks but he is still fourth in points. He will need
to find his early season speed soon if he wants to run with the pack and keep his fading title hopes
alive but there is no doubting his talent.

Then there are the 250 class wild cards!

The best of the West are both entered for Daytona. Eli Tomac has been second and fourth in 450
timed qualifying but his starts have let him down badly in the two main events. He has just two
more chances on the 450 to mix it up at the front and Daytona may just suit him – he also will not
want Ken Roczen to beat him!

Yes that’s right, Roczen is racing! The West coast points leader is making his one and only 450 class
appearance of the year and he is doing it on the 350.

Roczen has ridden Daytona in the main class the last two years and hee was top ten both times. This
time the class is more stacked than ever before but Roczen is also riding supercross better than ever
before. If he gets away and can adapt to the intensity and aggression of the leaders he could very
well be in the top five or better.

It is hard to believe but that is nine guys right there who on their day with a good start can all win
this race on Saturday night – it’s an all star race with some of the all time greats.

Motivation is at an all time high. The championship contenders have to win, the rest just want to win
because they are fed up not winning. And the rookies want to show that they will be right there too
when they move up next season!

It’s time for battle!

Article by Jonathan McCready

MX Vice Editor || 25

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