Elena Myers Wins AMA Pro SuperSport at Daytona

Elena Myers wins the AMA Pro SuperSport race at Daytona.

Photography by Tim White

Elena Myers wins the AMA Pro SuperSport race at Daytona

Elena Myers wins the AMA Pro SuperSport race at Daytona

Elena Myers entered the history books on Saturday, March 17th, as the first rider with blue fingernails to win an AMA national—or any professional race, for that matter—at Daytona International Speedway. She’s also the first to do so with two X chromosomes.

Myers’ first and only national win, until now, came two years ago at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, and was the result of a red-flag-shortened race. So, it didn’t have a proper seal of approval on it as a certified, no-excuses win. She has that now. At Daytona, Myers won on track at the checkers—no asterisk, no apology, no equivocation, no qualification necessary. And she did it on the Speedway’s famous banking, which doesn’t hurt.

Just so it’s clear here, yes, the SuperSport race at Daytona was red-flagged. But the flag was thrown on the first lap, and the race eventually ran its full, uninterrupted length. No laps were backed up, nothing was missing.

Riding for Team SuzukiScoopFans SportbikeTrackGear.com, 18-year-old Myers is in her third year as a pro in the AMA Pro Road Racing Series. She's supported at the track by crew chief Eric Gray and mechanic Phillip Doyle. Her engines are built by Aaron Henry, who assembles all the powerplants for the 600cc machines in the Team Hammer stables, including those of Daytona Sportbike regulars Dane Westby and Martin Cardenas. Myers' chassis is built by Nathan Raptis and Lee Vaughn.

Usually, only one of Myers’ parents is at the track with her, and this year at Daytona it was her mother, Anita, not her father, Matt.

“Everything has to be right to win,” said Anita. “The right crew is as necessary as her physical conditioning. The biggest difference now, for her, is endurance. Her performance doesn’t trail off during a race. She does a lot of cardio, rowing, cycling, running. She trains with Nathan Loyal, who trains bicyclists.”

Myers has been racing since she was eight years old. “It started out as a hobby and a family event,” said Anita. “But she quickly showed that she has talent. She started on a pocket bike, then she became really competitive and got a 125 two-stroke, then a 650 when she was around 12 years old and then a 600 at 14.”

Myers lives with her parents in Northern California, so Infineon is basically her home track. Anita says that her daughter’s favorite track, though, is Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Elena Myers supported at the track by crew chief Eric Gray and mechanic Phillip Doyle

Elena Myers supported at the track by crew chief Eric Gray and mechanic Phillip Doyle

As for the parenting of a racer, Anita admitted, “It is stressful for me, but I have to hide that and be here to support her. I pace often. My stomach is in knots until the bikes get through Turn 1, then I feel a little better. We do this because she has exceptional talent, and we’re letting her do her thing.”

Myers’ crew chief, Gray, said, “We’re still learning how to speak the same language, but we’ve quickly established rapport. I told her, ‘They’re going to chump you going into the chicane on the last lap.’ But she turned it on them. They hesitated too long. I’m impressed by her racecraft. You can’t ever doubt her motivation to win.”

The view from the cockpit is the best, though. “It came down to the four of us,” said Myers. “I didn’t want to lead out of the chicane, but even though I braked early, they all braked harder. When I came out of the chicane, I left my bike in fourth gear. But I never saw any of them. They wouldn’t pass me. So, at that point, I figured I’d just go for it. It was a drag race to the line.”

Who’d have guessed that Myers would have choked her GSX-R600 all the way down to fourth gear, holding it at low speed and, still, the others wouldn’t pass her? Such is the fame of Daytona’s singular rule that a rider must draft to win.

Well, unless you’re a girl. Or have blue fingernails.