After 40 Year Absence, Triumph Returns To The Pole At Daytona

1TriumphThree Of The Top 10 Qualifiers Are Riding Triumph’s Daytona 675

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 14, 2014) – Two-time AMA Pro Daytona SportBike champion Danny Eslick and the #69 Riders Discount Triumph team won the pole position for the 73rd running of the Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway. It was the first time a Triumph won the pole for this prestigious race in 43 years, when Paul Smart rode a Triumph Trident 750 in 1971.

“Winning the pole at Daytona is always special, but this one is really sweet since it’s the first Daytona 200 pole for Triumph since 1971,” said Eslick. “Everything just clicked with the bike, the team, and working the draft. It was a smoking hot lap for sure.”

The fastest lap Eslick turned in with his #69 Triumph Daytona 675R was 1:49.292, nearly three-quarters of a second faster than the second place qualifier. His top speed was 182.629mph on the 675cc machine.

“Congratulations to Danny and the Riders Discount team for their achievement, and to all of the Triumph riders and teams,” said Greg Heichelbech, CEO of Triumph North America. “It’s a great feeling to see such a strong showing of Triumph’s at Daytona. We’re looking forward to a great race.”

This is the third time that a Triumph won the pole for the Daytona 200. Gene Romero was fast qualifier in 1970 with his 750cc Triumph Trident, and Paul Smart backed it up in 1971. While the machines that Eslick, Smart and Romero rode are separated by more than 40 years of technology, all three machines feature Triumph’s signature inline triple engine.

Jason DiSalvo, the 2011 Daytona 200 winner, qualified fourth with his #40 Sportbike Track Time/Castrol/Triumph.

“We had a solid day and the team’s really pumped up about the race tomorrow,” said DiSalvo. “It’s fantastic that so many Triumph’s are in the top ten today. I think we’re going to see even more Triumph’s in the top ten tomorrow during the race.”

Qualifying seventh is British Supersport competitor Luke Stapleford of Leicestershire, England. Stapleford and his # 68 Profile Racing team traveled to Daytona because “This is a nice chance to get in a bit of riding before the British Supersport season.” Stapleford continued, “The race distance is quite difficult mentally. A top six is the aim in the race and I’d class that as a job well done.”

There are six other Triumph riders in the Saturday, March 15, race at Daytona International Speedway. Those riders and their qualifying positions are:

12. #50 Bobby Fong, Latus Motors/Castrol/Triumph

19. #21 Elena Myers, Apex Manufacturing/Castrol/Triumph

21. #15 Steve Rapp, D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph

23. #42 Kenny Riedmann, RRM/Castrol/Triumph

39. #71 Lee Farmer, Apex Race Services

40. #62 Shaun Summers, D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph

A Triumph has won the Daytona 200 three times. Don Burnett won in 1962, Buddy Elmore won in 1966, and Gary Nixon won in 1967. The first Triumph Daytona production motorcycle appeared in 1967, the Tiger T100R Daytona, as a tribute to Elmore’s victory.

Watch the Daytona 200 live at the newly launched fanschoice.tv. Pre-race ceremonies begin at 12:00pm EST and the race at 1:00pm EST.

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SHOCKING VIDEO! How DID He Walk Away From This?


The accident happened in May, but the video was just released. Taken from a city bus camera, the video shows Nick O’Leary riding his sportbike on Mission Rd when a driver in a Lexus pulled out in front of him and he hits the front end, throwing him over the hood, narrowly missing the bus and skidding on the pavement 75-100 feet behind the bus. Although it appears O’Leary loses his helmet, the Florida State tight end was able to get up and walk away. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said at the ACC Football Kickoff that O’Leary “was banged up for about a month.” But Fisher said O’Leary has recovered.

O’Leary is the grandson of golf legend Jack Nicklaus.

Correction: GEICO Harley Road Racing Team Earns Two Podium Finishes in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (May 30) — Memorial Day was certainly memorable for the GEICO/RMR Harley team in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series as all four team riders finished in the top 10, including two on the podium.

Defending class champion Danny Eslick, who decided to race in the Harley-only category late last week, topped the charts with a strong second-place finish. Teammate Chris Fillmore was close behind in third, while Kyle Wyman and Michael Corbino finished eighth and 10th, respectively.

“It was cool to get out there and battle those guys on the Harley’s again,” said Eslick, who started seventh but was up to second place by Lap 4. “I just didn’t have enough for Steve Rapp up front but I’ll take a runner-up finish. I’m okay with that.” Eslick, who competes full time in the Daytona Sportbike class, only rode his XR1200 Harley one time prior to Monday’s race but he looked like a seasoned veteran in the saddle.

“Once I got comfortable I started picking guys up and was up in the top three pretty quick,” Eslick said. “I had a pretty good battle with my teammate Chris Filmore for the second half of the race. That was
fun. Then a few more guys got in there with us for a little while. There are a lot more competitive riders in the class this year and it makes it more exciting for the fans and a lot more fun for the riders.”

Fillmore, who won the last XR1200 event a few weeks ago in Northern California, started on the front row thanks to a strong qualifying effort.

“It was pretty interesting at the start,” Fillmore said. “As we were lining up it started to hail so that was interesting. I don’t think it really affected the track at all but it did mess with everyone a
little bit. We’ve dealt with so much weather this weekend I’m just glad it’s over.”

Fillmore stayed up front the entire race and even battled for the lead early in the race with eventual winner Steve Rapp, but just didn’t have enough to battle with him or Eslick in the final laps.

“Being on the podium is good,” FIlmore said. “The race was good. I did some back and forth for the lead the first half of the race, which was great, but I couldn’t hold on to the lead.

“(Rapp) got around me and then Danny and I started battling for secondhan we just couldn’t get in his draft. He built up a bit of a gap and at that point Danny and I were by ourselves, just battling it out for
second place.

“I overshot Turn 5 and Danny was able to get around me. At that point there wasn’t enough track left to catch him. I’ll take the third though. We’re up on the podium and it still gives me some points in
the championship hunt.”

Further back in the pack were Wyman and Corbino.

“I got off to a decent start considering my qualifying position,”Wyman said of his slotting in the No. 11 spot. “I was up in the middle of the pack and battling it out with some of the guys and felt pretty
good about my Harley. Then I was able to make a few moves and finish eighth. Definitely not a bad day.”

Rain had been a factor all weekend for the XR1200 riders so heading into Monday they were expecting more wet conditions but that didn’t end up being the case. The track was mostly dry except in one turn where Corbino had some trouble.

“The start went well,” Corbino said. “I was on a good pace and was in the middle of the pack from the beginning until I had a bit of a mishap in the only turn where there was rain. I ended up on the paint
and that’s not where you want to be.

“Luckily I kept it on two wheels and was able to refocus and finish the race. I just wanted to take her home safely and I did that. I’m happy with a top-10 finish. It’s good for points and for the whole
GEICO XR1200 team.”

The next stop for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series will be June 5 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

 

Eslick Opens Salt Lake Race with Solid Qualifying Performances

Please visit www.geicogarage.com for more information.

SALT LAKE CITY (May 28) — GEICO/RMR rider Danny Eslick battled cold and wet Utah weather during the first day of professional qualifying for the Big M Weekend at Miller Motorsports Park. Eslick spent time on both his Daytona Sportbike Suzuki and his XR1200 Harley Saturday and was happy to get twice as much track time as usual.

“I like riding both bikes,” Eslick said. “It’s nice to be able to get out there and compete in more than one class. The extra data we gain is valuable.”

The 2009 Daytona Sportbike champion ran well during the morning practice laps and sat second heading into the opening qualifier of the weekend. Although he slowed to seventh in that round, Eslick feels confident heading into raceday.

“This morning started off well,” Eslick said. “We did what we planned by riding some of the momentum from last race here into practice but in qualifying everyone picked up the pace a little bit and we slipped back. We’re seventh but it’s so close in those top spots it’s not a huge deal.

“Plus, putting in one fast lap is one thing but putting in 16 is under race conditions is another story. We’re starting in the second row and that’s not too bad for here because there are so many opportunities to pass on this track.”

The reigning champ in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series faced a very similar fate in the XR1200 class. He was the second quickest behind teammate Chris Filmore in the first practice session but rain and a slippery track caused Eslick to fall to seventh place in qualifying. The Harley is fun,” Eslick said. “I’m happy to be back on it. I wish we could have gotten up there and done a bit better but the conditions weren’t there and I didn’t want to do anything stupid.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The weather isn’t looking good so we probably won’t improve on our qualifying spot but we should be able to get a solid wet weather tune-up.

“It is cool here because they let us run in the rain. It’s one of the few tracks left where we are able to run in these conditions. Hopefully we’ll find a good wet setup and I’ll feel comfortable for the main events.”

The final qualifying session for Daytona Sportbike will be 8:40 a.m. MDT Sunday followed by the race at 4:10 p.m. MDT. Final qualifying for the XR1200 Series will be at 4:45 p.m.

 

The Everyday Bike for the Real World; 2011 Ninja 1000

“A purpose-built sport bike for the street.”

So you are getting older and your knees and back aren’t what they use be but you love sport bikes. You grew up with your wrists down, rear end up, and as far as you are concerned it’s how a real motorcycle should be. They were built for carving canyons, applying liberal doses of adrenaline through the vascular system when needed, and need to look like they are doing 100mph at rest. Sure, you can get a bike like the ZX 10R, and enjoy ten-year-old Moto GP quality performance on the street, but there is a price to pay in the levels of comfort, especially when you want to go somewhere or take a passenger for a ride. Up till now the choices have been a little slim lately. Move over to a sport touring machine, put a bikini fairing on a naked standard, or like the guy you saw at Target the other day in his jogging pants, just give up, and head out to buy a cruiser.

Well, if you find yourself at this life threatening crossroads, where waking up each morning allows you to replay the memory of all the accidents and injuries you’ve had over the years, Kawasaki has come up with a new form of therapy called the Ninja 1000. Looking like a sport bike, behaving like a sport bike when you twist the throttle or dive into a sweet series of fast corners, it’s designed to be ridden for long periods of time. Handlebars are high enough to not put any stress on your wrists, the foot pegs are low enough you don’t need a prescription for Celebrex to go for a weekend ride, and the seat comfortable enough to let you sit for longer than a 20 minute track session without pain. You can also add soft luggage and a tank bag, which will give you the ability to go sport touring. And I wouldn’t mind betting with some suspension tweaks and a stickier set of tires, it would do quite well at your local track day.

While Kawasaki is introducing this an all-new machine, the concept of this style of motorcycle has been with them for many years. Way back in 1983, they had the awe inspiring GPZ1100 and have carried on with a number of bikes like the GPZ 900R, the ZX-11 and even more recently the ZZR1200. They also had a bike called the Ninja 1000 back in ’86 which came during that odd period when someone thought 16 inch wheels were a good idea. It was never a bike I liked and seemed like a poor replacement for the Ninja 900 to me, but that’s all in the past, so let’s get back to the future.

For our test ride we headed to the mountains roads outside of San Francisco, and full marks to Kawasaki for giving us such a variety of conditions. I was amused to listen to one moto scribe who was not happy with the tight, twisting and bumpy roads in the morning. Partially strewn with pine needles and rotten branches I could see where it could have been a nightmare for someone who obviously did too many laps at the bar the previous evening. Allowing me to marvel at the wide bars, the superb balance, and excellent control available from the precise fueling, I was absolutely in heaven. Diving between fallen branches, swerving around piles of leaves and pine needles, and rattling up and down the gear box like a sax player practicing scales, I did a lot of bonding with the Ninja during this part of the day. “It’s a sport bike for the real world,” says Kawasaki’s Karl Edmondson. This was the real world, and the new Kawasaki Ninja 1000 was certainly living up to my expectations.

The suspension did a fantastic job all day, compliant over bumps, while also keeping the bike composed at speed. The Ninja started moving around speeds reached into the illegal zone on some bumpy sections of road, but it was more of a slow down signal than an alarm bell. Don’t start thinking of your old 1980 Z1000 trying to tie itself in knots when you past its limits. This is more of a gentle oscillation that says we are approaching the limit so back off. Imagine one of those gentle electronically generated female voices saying, “It’s time to slow down,” not Flo the insurance gal yelling at you to back off. Parking my Ohlins shod personal bike the day before riding the Kawasaki, I was most impressed with the way the bike would settle after hitting a bump or series of bumps. As one area of testing that always shows the quality of a suspension system, the Ninja gets extra bonus points as it was on stock settings.  For the technically minded, the Ninja uses a 41mm inverted fork featuring stepless compression and rebound damping with adjustable pre load. The rake and trail are 24.5 degrees and 4 inches respectively, and the bike rolls on a 56.9-inch wheelbase. To put this in perspective, the ZX 10R uses a 56.1-inch wheelbase. In the rear, the single shock is mounted in a horizontal fashion with just stepless rebound damping and pre load adjustments possible.

The new Ninja 1000 is highly deceptive in the weight department, feeling a lot lighter than its listed 502 pounds. Moving a liter bike around the garage manually or at low speeds with the engine running in a parking lot, reminds me of why track days can be so tiring on a bike of this capacity. These things are still pretty heavy. Performing the same maneuvers on the Ninja, you would bet money it’s 100 pounds lighter than the pure sport bike thanks to the wide bars, and low, narrow seat.

And it’s easy to maneuver, too. Turning for photos at a point where the road fell away from us, it was no problem to come to a rolling stop, let the bars fall to the steering stop before rolling down into the turn. Finding myself able to keep my feet on the pegs, with some juggling of the light clutch and throttle, it really put a smile on my face every time I turned. This can sometimes be a challenging part of the job on narrow roads when riding a heavier bike. It’s this balance and poise that made the day of sport riding on the California roads so much fun. I distinctly remember riding similar roads on Ducati’s Streetfighter, and feeling like I was a novice at a track day struggling to find my way. It was that difficult. The Kawasaki by comparison with its upright and set back bars, allows for super light input on these transitions, with no compromise to the bike’s stability. Never any nervousness, just precise, predictable handling.      Ride position is comfortable and apart from a 10mm change in the individual clip on bars, it’s the same as the Z1000, or Kawasaki’s naked standard that this bike is based on if you are not familiar with the model. After a long day in terms of riding hours not necessarily miles, the seat was starting to feel a tad firm, but nothing a quick stretch and a walk around wouldn’t fix.

The view from the saddle shows a very well finished and clean cockpit without any clutter. The gauges taken from the ZX 6R work perfectly, with a nice big analogue tachometer to let you know what the engine is doing and an adequate digital speedometer. There is a good fuel gauge, easy toggle through odometer, trip counter and sensible practical switchgear that’s not clever for the sake of it. Plus a manually operated three-position windshield that is easy to operate, but it must be done while you are parked. This is part of the full fairing, which actually leaves a fair amount of your body out in the wind. Raising or lowering the windshield gave a small change in airflow, but nothing drastic. The mirrors are good, with the usual head and shoulder routine showing only half of what’s going on behind.

On paper the bike is identical in horsepower and performance to the Z1000, but with a slightly lower final gear ratio and a more slippery aerodynamic profile. The Ninja will get to its marginally higher top speed quicker. I gushed about the 1034cc engine in my review of the naked Z last year and still feel exactly the same. The fuel delivery from the 38mm Keihin throttle bodies is as seamless as anything I’ve ever ridden, and allows perfect on-off-on throttle response. It’s just so predictable at lower throttle openings. It’s not going to land you any trouble, especially if you unexpectedly hit a bump mid corner. And it differs from a sport bike with three power modes, where the lower power option, or rain mode as some people call it, feels like someone pulled a plug wire. The Ninja engine just feels right all the time and will pull cleanly from 2,000rpm. You can drop to around 35mph in top gear and still pull away smoothly if you are not into dancing on the gear lever in town. In 6th gear out on the highway with the engine spinning along minding it’s own business you are doing a comfortable 70-75mph. Dropping the bike into fifth gear gives a 500 rpm increase, so clearly sixth gear is just an overdrive. This makes for a nice relaxed feeling at highway speeds, with none of the dry mouth, anxiety associated with Superbikes under these conditions. To me, it seems like I spend the entire time all wound up waiting to just yank the throttle and take off and stressing about the potential problems it could cause. Not so on the Ninja.

Gear changing for the most part is very good and precise. I did have a couple of times where I was left waiting for it to be ready for the next up shift, but there were no false neutrals during downshifting or clutch-less up shifting. Clutch lever pull is sharp; engaging soon after the lever leaves the bar. It should be noted it is non adjustable, where the front brake lever has six position choices depending on the size of your paws.

Brakes are full on sport bike equipment, with a radial pump master cylinder, sending fluid to a pair of radial, four piston calipers. Wave petal rotors are standard stuff these days for Kawasaki sport bikes, and at 300mm, they are a tad smaller than the all out sport bike. Nothing earth shattering about the components or their action, just good solid equipment that gives all the stopping power you need. If I was being really nit picky, I would like the initial bite to be stronger on such a sporting bike, as I’m not comfortable having to apply so much pressure to the lever when the pace gets hot.  The rear brake is useful to keep the bike settled in the faster stuff with the more softly sprung front end. It can take a good, firm push before locking the rear tire, and this adds a degree of confidence during the fast braking process. The front wheel appears to be lifted from the ZX 6R and came wrapped in a sticky 120/70 ZR 17 Bridgestone BT100. This gave superb feel and grip, as did the 190/55 ZR 17 rear, so no surprises here.

The new Kawasaki Ninja 1000’s styling is certainly interesting. The front fairing has quite the beak, and coming from one who has a large personal fairing thrusting off my face, I feel qualified to comment here that it could be a love it or hate it feature. The rest of the fairing seems well integrated, and uses the side panel design to channel heat away form the engine with its unique rounded shape. During our test day the temperatures around the San Francisco Bay remained cool, so it never got hot enough for me to tell if they were doing their job as intended. It also seems to draw attention away from the stylish triangulated mufflers, which look larger on the naked Z1000. These are the last part of a 4-into-2 pre-chamber-into-2-layout with main and pre-catalyzers keeping the stuff we breathe cleaner.

While Kawasaki is touting the Ninja 1000 as an all-new bike, not a Z1000 with a fairing bolted on, in truth most of the bike is the same. From the lightweight aluminum frame to the five-gallon gas tank, both bikes share the majority of components. Priced at $10,999, the new Ninja 1000 is ready to be shipped to dealers and will be available by the time you are reading this. There are a number of accessory items in the works with saddlebags, frame sliders and a larger windshield already on the list. This will probably be one of the big attractions to this real world sport bike, as you can pack up and go away for a weekend or more in comfort. As one of the aging demographic that can’t tolerate long days in the saddle of hard-core sport bikes too often, the Ninja 1000 is talking my language.  Compliant suspension, a powerful torque loaded engine, and heaps of low down grunt, it has more handling and braking capabilities than you realistically need on the street. And, of course, looks to match. Reminding me very much of Kawasaki’s Ninja 900 and GPZ1100 from my early motorcycling years, Kawasaki has created another exciting adrenaline inducing motorcycle that is going to make a lot of sport bike enthusiasts very comfortable. Pun intended.

Sportbike Hits a Deer, One Lucky Dude.

If you pause it at 33 seconds, you can see the deer getting ready to leap across in front of the motorcycle, but you can’t see the deer at full speed.  Amazing.