MotoAmerica: 11 Canadians Entered In Daytona 200

MotoAmerica: 11 Canadians Entered In Daytona 200

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By CSBK/Professional Motorsports Productions (PMP):

Record eleven Canadians set for Daytona 200

Hamilton, ON – The 82nd running of the annual Daytona 200 event will feature a record number of Canadians when it gets underway in the Florida sun next week, March 7-9, with a full display of Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship talent set to make the trip to the historic Daytona International Speedway. 

While some will be returning for another 57-lap battle around the famed 3.51-mile (5.65 km) circuit, others will be making their first appearance at the “World Center of Racing,” a unique test of both rider and machine durability. 

Below is a quick look at each of the eleven names that will represent Canada when the lights go out in Daytona, listed in order of last year’s pro championship standings. 

Ben Young – Team BATTLAX Suzuki

The two-time defending Canada Cup champion is back for another try at Daytona, and it’s hard not to think of him as Canada’s best chance at victory since Miguel Duhamel’s last triumph in 2005. Young put together a strong showing one year ago despite riding a problem-filled Yamaha, dragging the underpowered machine into the top-ten before crashing out in the final laps.

Now aboard a much more capable Suzuki GSX-R750 and with full Bridgestone support, the 30-year-old Young will look to follow up his sensational 2023 championship run by adding a new piece of hardware to his trophy case, in what is his fourth (and potentially last) appearance at the historic 200-mile event. 

Sam Guerin – Original Garage Premont HD Kawasaki

The fan-favourite will be making his first appearance at the Daytona 200, but Guerin’s career has demonstrated that he can ride anything – and anywhere – at a high level, taking away most of the uncertainty around his switch to the ZX-6R Ninja at an unfamiliar venue. 

Guerin has all the tools to be a surprise contender at this year’s event, bringing an elite blend of physical endurance and tire management to pair with strong outright pace. The Quebec City native will be at a slight disadvantage amongst a group of frontrunners with more Daytona experience, but he won’t need long to get up to speed and match the big names at the top. 

Trevor Dion – Warhorse HSBK Ducati

Dion will also be a Daytona 200 rookie, but if his end to 2023 was any indication, he may be a threat to win it all. The 22-year-old switched from Kawasaki to Ducati and found instant chemistry with the V4R, scoring three consecutive podiums to end the year and matching the pace of champions Young and Alex Dumas. 

He will need to ride the lesser-powered V2 Panigale this time around but will do so with the help of MotoAmerica heavyweights Warhorse HSBK, who just so happen to be the defending champions with 2023 winner Josh Herrin. And while Dion has yet to contest the Daytona 200, it won’t be his first time at the venue, having won the ASRA finale there last season – a result that can’t be overlooked by any of the frontrunners. 

Trevor Daley – Team BATTLAX Suzuki

Partnering Young in the BATTLAX Suzuki tent will be his good friend and on-track rival Daley, who stays with Suzuki but aboard a new GSX-R750 machine. Daley will make his Daytona 200 debut after finishing eighth in last year’s Superbike championship, a spot that would have been higher if not for a mid-season femur injury. 

The Mississauga, Ontario native shouldn’t be dismissed as just Young’s rear gunner, either, as he has proven throughout his career that he is capable of getting up to speed quickly at any track and on any machine. Watch for both BATTLAX riders to turn heads early and often throughout the weekend in Daytona. 

Sebastien Tremblay – Turcotte Performance Kawasaki

After one of the most dominant two-year runs in Sport Bike history, Tremblay shifted his focus to Superbike in 2022 before entering a semi-retirement. That hiatus lasted just one round before he returned to the Sport Bike mix, and he quickly reminded the world just how competitive he is on middleweight machinery, winning three times and scoring five podiums in seven races. 

He will now get a chance to showcase that expertise in Daytona, reuniting with the ZX-6R Ninja that brought him his 2021 championship. Tremblay gave Dion a spectacular fight to finish second at the ASRA finale last year, and his trademark consistency and tire management will be a valuable asset to have across the 57-lap event.

Matt Simpson – Evans Racing Yamaha

The Sport Bike championship runner-up from a year ago will be making his debut appearance south of the border, and it may be a fairy-tale scenario for the man without a ride for 2024. The 22-year-old Simpson is unsure of his plans post-Daytona, but his presence at the Florida venue will definitely be felt. 

Simpson won his first career Pro race in 2022 by being patient and opportunistic behind the lead group – a core ingredient of the Daytona 200 – and he backed that up with further consistency in 2023. His unfamiliarity with the circuit will be a tough challenge, but Simpson may be one of the biggest dark horses in the field if he can get up to speed quickly. 

Elliot Vieira – EV 33Racing Ducati

After partnering Young on miscast Yamaha’s a year ago, Vieira will also return in 2024 aboard a new machine, this time his own Ducati V2 Panigale. The Guyanese rider and fan-favourite managed a very respectable 15th in his debut last season, and a second go-around on a more familiar machine will make him tough to beat.

The only challenge for Vieira will be reliability, after numerous mechanical issues plagued him throughout 2023 – something that will be put to the most extreme test in Daytona. However, the 26-year-old is unbelievably fast when he can finish, evidenced by his runaway win and four consecutive podiums to close out last season.  

Alex Michel – SpeedFactory67 Kawasaki

One of the most underappreciated riders of 2023, Michel delivered a quietly spectacular rookie season with a podium in CTMP and six top-eight finishes. The 20-year-old is a fast learner and very smart rider, two things that come in handy across a 57-lap race with plenty of uncertainty.

Michel is poised to turn plenty of heads in 2024 regardless, but a strong showing at Daytona would go a long way in boosting the confidence of the Kawasaki rider as he enters his sophomore pro CSBK season. 

Brad Macrae – Mac Racing Yamaha

The second Yamaha rider in the group will also be making his debut at Daytona, as Brad Macrae heads south to join his paddock pals Young and Daley. The former Amateur champion scored a sensational victory early in 2023 and nearly did so again in the final round, but injuries limited him to seventh in the year-end Sport Bike table.  

Now fully healthy and reenergized from the offseason, Macrae will hope to learn from his BATTLAX Suzuki counterparts and make an immediate impact aboard his R6 machine, while also besting some of his other Canadian rivals in attendance.

Alex Coelho – MTRS Coelho Racing Kawasaki

A frequent visitor to Daytona in recent years, Coelho made his return to CSBK in 2023 and made an immediate impact in doing so. The former championship runner-up led for majority of the opening race in the rain at Shannonville, and while he won’t get the chance to flash that wet-weather expertise in Daytona, he will return with a bit more confidence under his belt.

The Kawasaki rider finished one spot behind Vieira in 16th last season and could find himself in a similar spot even despite a stiffer field, as he demonstrated once again last season that he can hang with the best of the best in national racing. 

Mavrick Cyr – R2R Canada/Rizzin Racing Triumph

The lone rookie pro to enter Daytona, Cyr will be making just his second career professional start when the lights go out in Daytona. While that inexperience can’t be ignored, neither can his raw talent, as the 19-year-old made a name for himself last season as one of the best young riders in North America.

A near-perfect amateur season was followed up with a spectacular debut in the final Pro Sport Bike race of the year, as Cyr didn’t need long to acclimate himself against a stronger field. He will have to do that again in Daytona, but aboard a proven Triumph machine that won with Brandon Paasch just two years ago. 

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