The rare alignment of ideas and ideals is always worth noting. Formation of Team Cycle World Attack Performance is just that: an extra element to the already-exciting two-wheel racing environment that we love so dearly. We’ve taken responsibility to push the sport to a new level by bringing in new eyes, non-endemic sponsors, important new technology, such as the radically advanced Kawasaki ZX-10R, and, of course, the talent of tomorrow. Call it growth without cannibalization.
This program has not come together easily, and there have been bumps in the road. Thanks to the aforementioned organizations and tireless efforts of many individuals, on March 11th, Team Cycle World Attack Performance will launch a three-pronged attack on the AMA Pro Road Racing Series with Daytona Sportbike rookie JD Beach and me competing on the twice-best-in-class Kawasaki ZX-6R in the Daytona 200. We have big shoes to fill to repeat Attack Performance’s one-two punch delivered in 2007 and ’08 with Steve Rapp and Chaz Davies. Additionally, we will debut the impressive new ZX-10R in the American SuperBike class.
Our program was green-lighted just one week before the second Dunlop tire test at Daytona, which was scheduled for January 17-18. The seemingly impossible task of churning out a competitive SuperBike in a handful of days, preparing the team and its transporter for travel, throwing in two ZX-6Rs and driving three days from one coast to the other landed on the broad shoulders of Attack Performance’s Richard Stanboli.
To my disbelief, the semi, driven by a weary Don Baynes, arrived on schedule Sunday evening (please don’t audit those miles, DOT). Our high-spirited team awoke the following morning to dreary weather. Due to Daytona’s banking and high speeds, nothing rolls when the circuit is wet. Undeterred, the team took advantage of the down time and picked up right where it left off at the shop by continuing to further prepare the bikes—a 12-hour affair. The speedway’s notoriously grumpy security guards finally kicked us out at 7 p.m.
We returned the next morning to the roar of jet dryers on the banking—not ideal. After a week of sleepless nights, the team could only hope for one precious afternoon’s worth of track time. Just after 12:30 p.m., I set out on a dirty track eager to find out about the new 10R’s capabilities. In our first outing, with me cautiously pedaling the throttle around NASCAR Turn 4, the box-stock engine posted the second-fastest trap speed: 186 mph, just 1 mph shy of top honors. When we come back to Daytona in March, I am going to have to dig deep into my personal courage reserves to run wide-open and find her true top speed.
Next up: JD and the ZX-6R. In a true testament to his ability and that of the modern-day sportbike, upgraded with a LeoVince exhaust system and a reworked shock, JD posted the seventh-quickest time in a very deep field. Incredible.
Bad luck continued to rain upon the Speedway, this time in the form of motor oil dropped by one of the Harley-Davidson XR1200Rs. Argh! Another costly time delay for clean-up. Returning to the track at dusk with a clear faceshield and a cloud of chem-dry suspended in the air from SuperBikes whizzing by at 180 mph was, yet again, less than ideal. After tip-toeing through the affected area, which included the entire Tri-Oval and Turns 1 through 3, I was able to open it up and appreciate the precise handling of the new 10R—a fusion of razor-sharp accuracy and smooth, subtle power delivery.
I began to contemplate just how bright the future looks for this motorcycle, our team and the sport in general. As motorcyclists, we live in a radical age. The manufacturers have never before produced such truly race-ready bikes as what we are seeing today. And I’ve never been so excited to return to Daytona.
See you at the beach.—EBoz