DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 4, 2006) – Deeley H-D/Buell Canada/Ruthless Racing rider David Estok rode a Buell Firebolt XB12R through heavy rain to win the opening round of the 2007 American Sportbike Racing Association (ASRA) Thunderbike series on Saturday, and on Sunday, Daytona H-D/Buell/Richie Morris Racing’s Dan Bilansky and Shawn Higbee took a hard fought class win in the MOTO-ST Daytona USA 300 GrandSport Twins class (11th overall) to wrap up a successful season-opening weekend of racing at Daytona International Speedway.
In the Thunderbike race, Estok led from the start of the rain-soaked event and was chased by his Deeley H-D/Buell Canada/Ruthless Racing teammate, Darren James. The 2006 Thunderbike champion, Hal’s H-D/Buell Hal’s Speed Shop rider Dan Bilansky, slotted his Buell Firebolt into third position. The pole-sitter for the event, San Jose BMW rider Brian Parriott, moved up through the field after a poor start and managed to pass first Bilansky and then James to claim second place. James finished third, with Bilansky in fourth position. Because of the rain and slick track, the race was shorted from the scheduled 10 laps to seven laps.
This was the first race with the Deeley/Ruthless Racing team for Estok, who won the Thunderbike championship in 2005. “Daytona is always challenging and even more so in the rain,” said Estok. “The Deeley squad put me on a great bike and our set-up was perfect for the conditions. This is a great way to start a new season of racing.”
James, the 2006 Canada Thunder champion, plans to contest the entire 2006 ASRA Thunderbike championship. Buell riders claimed five of the top six positions in the race. Hal’s Speed Shop/Badger Motorsports rider Greg Avello finished fifth, followed by Joe Rozynski on his Sound Waves/Hal’s Speed Shop Buell Firebolt.
Also on Saturday at Daytona, Estok rode his Deeley H-D/Buell Canada/Ruthless Racing Buell to victory in the Championship Cup Series (CCS) SuperTwins Expert class, a five-lap sprint race.
The next event on the eight-race 2007 ASRA Pro Thunderbike series schedule is the Heart of America Cycle Fest, April 27-29 at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.
Buell Teams Score in SunTrust MOTO-ST Daytona USA 300
On Sunday, March 4, Daytona H-D/Buell Richie Morris Racing riders Dan Bilansky and Shawn Higbee won the GrandSport Twins (GST) class in the Daytona USA 300, the first round of the 2007 SunTrust MOTO-ST series. Riding a Buell Firebolt XB12R, Bilansky and Higbee spent much of the race in a fierce battle with the Hal’s Speed Shop/James Gang Racing Buell shared by Paul James and Greg Avello, who led 25 laps in the GST class during the event. Pacing the class by about 45 seconds, Higbee came in for a splash of fuel with just two laps left in the race and managed to maintain the lead, completing 100 laps in the 3-hour 20-minute endurance event, and finishing 11th overall.
"It's a fantastic win," said Higbee, who was competing in his first motorcycle race since being injured at Daytona in 2005. "Making it to the finish was our number one priority and we hit the set-up pretty well. It was tough because the James Gang Racing Buell was pushing us pretty hard."
The Ducati SS1000 of Pete Friedland, Brad Phillips and Frank Shockley finished second in the GST class and 15th overall, while the James Gang Racing Buell placed third, just 3.1 seconds behind, and 16th overall.
The next race on the 2007 SunTrust MOTO-ST schedule is the Homestead 500K, April 13-14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.