Peter Diaz recaps the Daytona experience.
Well thanks to Cycle Gear we have a great report to give…our race weekend started out great, after checking into our beach side hotel we decided to turn in for the night leaving the sliding glass door open, falling asleep to the sound of the ocean’s crashing waves and ocean breeze.
On Wednesday after breakfast and picking up our AMA credentials we arrived at the track to start unloading and staging our Cycle Gear sponsored Top 1 La Fiesta GSXR600. We met with our friends and fellow racers from California then settled in and headed for dinner.
Thursday morning arrived with a great sunrise and newly found butterflys swarming around in my stomach, Danielle appeared to be calm. Where do these racers find this peace before mounting these mechanical beasts!
After a long and informative rider and crew chief meeting came our first practice on the banks of the world famous Daytona speedway! This is so cool! Dani got on her bike and there she went. off to start her experience of racing Daytona as I watched her ride away I start to tear up and realize how very special this week truly is, the fact that so many people have showed their faith in Danielle is so overwhelming, added with the fact that she will be competing with the best in the nation and knowing that nothing is guaranteed, we could be going home without even making the main event!
Practice seemed to go well, but we did not get as much time as we would have liked due to multiple red flags.
During break Grant Matsushima checked the bike over and made a few adjustments talking things over with Dani and reassuring her that she would be fine and to just go out and do her best…well she made it! Her first attempt at making an AMA PRO event and she was in the show! There were still things to do to make the bike better but we where both sure that once our suspension mechanic and mentor Josh Bartnik of JB Suspension arrived later on that evening, he and Grant would definitely make our efforts easier. By the end of today things seemed to be less stressful and we where definitely having a great time
Friday morning. Well the butterflys were back but they seemed to be flying in some kind of order so I wasn’t as anxious.
Time to qualify again. Josh and I staged the bike and got everything ready, Dani geared up and went through her usual pre race ritual; stretching, getting in the zone, and trying to concentrate on the task at hand. Second qualifying went almost as it had on Thursday, so we mounted our new Dunlop race tires and prepped for the afternoon race.
During midday break there was a fan walk through pit lane. Danielle was the first rider to be interviewed by the trackside announcer; she did an awesome job speaking professionally and clearly saying how excited she was to be racing here at daytona and thanking all of our sponsors, friends and supporters…giving a special thanks to Cycle Gear Racing for their special efforts in making this dream a reality. Out of the 54 that signed up for the race 49 went to the main. Dani started 42 and finished 33. I am very proud of my baby girl in her first pro race. Around 170mph thru the straights.
Well this is our last race day for Daytona. Josh and I spent last night making some final changes to the bike, changing the suspension, adjusting the clutch and brake levers, regearing the bike for more top end, and putting on a new chain. Practice went well and the feeling was mutual that Danielle would do well. On her first start Dani moved a bit before she was supposed to, but immediately stopped before the light turned green. Almost as soon as the race started there was a red flag.
We were worried that she would receive a penalty for jumping the start, but the AMA officials said that due to the fact that she stopped before the light turned green coupled with the fact that there was a red flag, she would not be penalized.
Now the start once more…wow what an awesome start! Dani passed around 6 riders before turn 1 and several more before turn 3. Her great start put her in with a group of riders who made her believe that together they could move foward and hopefully gain more positions.
Then it happened… a downed rider forced her off the track. It looked like there would be no problem for her to go around and re-enter the track and continue. That was until another rider forced her into the airfence and ended our weekend.
Never the less we had a great time. Disappointed? Sure but now we know that we can compete and that the machine that is Danielle Diaz Racing will be back!
Thanks again to all of the Cycle Gear group for all their support in helping to make all this happen, and remember to support all of the companies that support Danielle Diaz Racing!
Peter Diaz Jr.
Danielle Diaz Racing