Battle of the 9's


When Gary Nixon left the AMA Pro circuit, he entrusted Jay Springsteen with his national number 9. Nixon, a two-time AMA Grand National Champion, still carries his old number when he races vintage, and Springsteen, of course, continues to campaign the number 9 at national dirt tracks. During Daytona Bike Week in March the two 9s will square off to see who is number one.

The "battle of the 9s" will take place March 3 and 4 at Daytona International Speedway as part of the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association’s Classics Days roadracing.
Springer, with three Grand National titles to his name (1976 through ‘78), will be aboard Keith Campbell’s Hourglass Racing Harley-Davidson XR750, while Nixon will race a Honda CR750 fielded by Mark McGrew of M3 Racing USA. They’ll go at it twice during the two-day event — in Monday’s Formula 750 race and in the Formula Vintage class on Tuesday — in a classic duel of thundering American V-twin grunt versus howling in-line four-cylinder horsepower.

Nixon entered the Grand National scene in 1960 and earned his first win three years later, at a roadrace in Windber, Pennsylvania. He won back-to-back national titles in 1967 and ‘68, amassing 19 national wins — including the 1967 Daytona 200 on a Triumph — in more than 150 starts over a 22-year period. Nixon represented the United States several times in the famous series of British-American match races in the 1970s. In 1976, he should have won the world Formula 750 roadracing title, but was denied the championship after international politics cost him a victory.

Springsteen, perennially one of the most popular riders on the Grand National circuit, has had a professional racing career that spans more than a quarter of a century. His first national win came in 1975 at a half-mile in Louisville, Kentucky, and his most recent was the Springfield, Illinois, mile in May 2000. In all, he has won 43 nationals on his was to three Grand National titles. He’s no stranger to the Daytona super-speedway either, having competed in events ranging from the AHRMA/BMW Battle of the Legends to three appearances in the Daytona 200 (finishing as high as fifth, in 1986).

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George Obradovich
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