Next week Supercross will hosts its 46th Daytona race in the 450 class and its 34th in 250s. This is a race that through the years has become interwoven into the fabric of the sport.
The 1974 450s race inaugurated the series with a victory for Pierre Karsmakers. In 1985, the 250 class got underway for the first time with a win for Eddie Warren.
Daytona has never fallen off the schedule – it is the only venue that has hosted a race every season – and with its unique position on the frontstretch of Daytona International Speedway, there is ample room to create one of the longest and most grueling tracks the riders will face all year.
Designed by NBC analyst Ricky Carmichael for the 12th consecutive year, the course features long straightaways, tall jumps and a variety of surfaces as the course transitions sand to dirt. The course stretches 3,100 feet in length.
Making this one of the most prestigious events to win is that it is part of Daytona’s famed Bike Week.
Seven riders have won their first Supercross race on this track, including Carmichael in 2000 and Justin Brayton last year.
Earlier this year, Blake Baggett scored his first win in Round 2 at Glendale, Ariz. Cooper Webb got his first career win at Anaheim II and has gone on to dominate Victory Lane.
In 250s, Travis Pastrana won his first race in 2000. Marvin Musquin followed in 2013.
Still, because of the uniqueness of this track, this is not a harbinger of the season champion. The winner of the Daytona Supercross has taken top honors only 21 times in 45 seasons. Ryan Dungey was the last to do so in 2015.
The action continues after the Supercross riders leave the track.
When they pack up and head for Indianapolis, the best in amateur racing hit the track for the 10th annual Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross scheduled for Sunday and Monday. In turn, that is followed by Vintage Supercross and ATV Supercross on Tuesday.
Finally, the American Flat Track series will kick off their season next Thursday with a dirt and asphalt TT track. This third annual event will use the tri-oval at the start / finish line. Jared Mees won that race last year by only .462 seconds over JD Beach.