The Daytona Supercross by Honda is without a doubt the crown jewel of the AMA Supercross series. Rich in history for not just motorcycle racing but for racing in general, Daytona is unique in so many ways that it's difficult to pinpoint just exactly what it is that makes it so great. To start with, the track is a unique hybrid that combines elements of outdoor motocross with the repetitive jump obstacles that Supercross has come to be known for. Combine this with the sandy soil and the fact that the track itself has been designed by none other than Ricky Carmichael and you have the makings of a great event.
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Riders such as Ryan Villopoto, of course, are well aware of this fact and as such, a Daytona win is considered the greatest achievement in the sport. To win on the roughest, longest, most challenging course in the series sends a real message to your competitors, and that message is: if I can beat you at Daytona, I can beat you everywhere else too. That certainly seems a fair statement in Villopoto's case, as he's won here in the past before going on to win the Supercross and outdoor motocross titles in the same year. This year looks like more of the same, as Ryan clearly has been in his A game this season and the Daytona style is right up his alley. From just about any perspective, it appears that this race is his to lose.
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Event: Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship
Date: Saturday 10 March 2012
Location: Daytona Beach
7:00 pm – 7:30 pm Opening Ceremonies
7:30 pm – 7:40 pm Supercross Lites Heat #1 – 6 Laps, 20 Riders (1-9 to Main Event, 10-20 to LCQ)
7:40 pm – 7:50 pm Supercross Lites Heat #2 – 6 Laps, 20 Riders (1-9 to Main Event, 10-20 to LCQ)
7:50 pm – 8:00 pm Supercross Heat #1 – 8 Laps, 20 Riders (1-9 to Main Event, 10-20 to LCQ)
8:00 pm – 8:10 pm Supercross Heat #2 – 8 Laps, 20 Riders (1-9 to Main Event, 10-20 to LCQ)
8:10 pm – 8:30 pm Intermission
8:30 pm – 8:40 pm Supercross Lites Last Chance Qualifier – 4 Laps, 22 Riders (1-2 to Main)
8:40 pm – 8:50 pm Supercross Last Chance Qualifier – 6 Laps, 22 Riders (1-2 to Main)
8:50 pm – 8:55 pm Track Maintenance
8:55 pm – 9:00 pm Supercross Lites Parade Lap
9:00 pm – 9:20 pm Supercross Lites Main Event – 15 Laps, 20 Riders
9:20 pm – 9:25 pm Supercross Lites Victory Circle
9:25 pm – 9:30 pm Supercross Parade Lap
9:30 pm – 9:50 pm Supercross Main Event – 20 Laps, 20 Riders
9:50 pm – 9:55 pm Supercross Victory Circle
But as with any other weekend, there's always a couple of spoilers waiting to pull off an upset win, and this year those two contenders are Ryan Dungey and James Stewart. Now, since all three of the contenders call Florida home these days, none can be considered to have any sort of home track advantage, although Stewart is the only true Florida native. Dungey's ride in St. Louis must have been motivational for him since he'd hurt his shoulder the week prior and clearly wasn't at 100%. Despite that, he put in his best laps toward the end of the race when he reeled in Villopoto and made it clear that had he started up front with him that he would've given him a run for his money that night. Dungey, too, is a great outdoor rider and multi-time champ and would love to add a Daytona cup to his mantle.