Duhamel Looks to Set New Daytona 200 by Honda Record

Motorcycle.com Staff
by Motorcycle.com Staff
From AMA Pro Racing:

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (March 2, 2006) -- Miguel Duhamel comes to the 65thrunning of the Daytona 200 by Honda, the opening round of the AMALockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series in Daytona Beach, Fla., onSaturday, March 11, with a major milestone in his grasp. If the37-year-old Montreal native, who now calls Las Vegas home, wins theprestigious 200-mile motorcycle road race he will become the firstsix-time winner in the storied history of the race, which first ran in1937.

Duhamel heads up an impressive list of talented racers who will take toDaytona International Speedway’s motorcycle road course. Duhamel tiedthe legendary Scott Russell with his fifth victory in the 200 lastMarch. He again has the powerful Honda factory team behind him, but isset to face a deeper field than he conquered a year ago. In addition toHonda’s strong effort, both Yamaha and Buell will field factory orfactory-supported squads in this year’s 200.

Duhamel has an amazing record in the Daytona 200. He won the race in hisfirst attempt in 1991 as a replacement rider on the Commonwealth Hondasquad. He was victorious again in 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2005. He is justhappy to have the opportunity to break the record for most Daytona 200wins.

“I was really honored to tie Scott’s record last year,” said Duhamel,the two-time and defending champion of the Lockhart-Phillips USA FormulaXtreme Series. “It would be great for sure to be the first to win thesixth. Honda has really stepped up with the new CBR600RR and I have thebest team in racing so I have a lot of things going in my favor.”

Duhamel will not only have to overcome serious efforts from Yamaha andBuell in this year’s 200 miler, he’ll also have his own Honda teammatesto worry about. Jake Zemke will join Duhamel on the other factory Hondamachine, while Josh Hayes and Aaron Gobert will race factory-backedErion Hondas.

On facing the tough competition this season Duhamel joked, “I’ve got tobe honest – if they would let me be the only one in the race that wouldbe sweet,” he said. “But there’s no doubt that this year’s 200 is goingto be a terrific one for the fans. It’s going to be a really closelycontested and tough race.”

Yamaha is bringing in the big guns back to the 200 this year in the formof Eric Bostrom and Jason DiSalvo. Yamaha has won more Daytona 200s thanany other manufacturer, but the maker’s last victory in the race came in1998. With Bostrom and DiSalvo Yamaha has a strong pair of contenders.

Four Buell dealer teams are entered in this year’s Daytona 200. Buell ishoping to put an American-made motorcycle atop the Daytona 200 podiumfor the first time since Cal Rayborn won on a Harley-Davidson in 1969.Perhaps as surprising as Buell’s entry in this year’s 200 is the factthat former MotoGP star Jeremy McWilliams is slated to ride with theWarr's London Harley-Davidson/Buell of London team. The 41-year-oldIrishman is one of the biggest international riders to compete atDaytona for a number of years and interest is high among American racingfans to watch such a highly respected rider such as McWilliams racingagainst many of the leading AMA stars.

Buell’s other big name rider is former AMA Supersport and reigningCanadian Pro 600 Sport Bike champion Steve Crevier. He will ride aDeeley Harley-Davidson/Buell Canada of Vancouver entry.

Floridian Mike Ciccotto will race the 200 on a Hal'sHarley-Davidson/Buell.

Suzuki’s brightest hopes to win the 200 this year will be on theshoulders of Floridian racing veteran Michael Barnes, of Boca Raton andOklahoman flat tracker turned road racer Danny Eslick. Barnes will raceon a M4/EMGO Suzuki. He scored two podium finishes for the team in lastyear’s Formula Xtreme Series. Eslick, who rides for MatsushimaPerformance Suzuki, came out of nowhere to finish a surprising fourth inlast year’s 200.

The Daytona 200 will again feature a number of international entries. Inaddition to the aforementioned McWilliams, fellow Northern Irelandnative Alastair Seeley will race a Team Celtic Yamaha. Rob Frost ridingfor Chris Dowd Racing Kawasaki and Stu Wilson of the Crewe Van CentreYamaha team are coming over from the United Kingdom. Slovenia isrepresented by Bostjan Pintar, Bostjan Skubic and Dejan Senk riding forInotherm Honda and German Rico Penzkofer is entered for Buell Hannover.

SPEED’s live coverage of the 65th Daytona 200 by Honda featuring the AMALockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series will take the green flagstarting at 1:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, March 11.

For tickets visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com .

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