National Motorcycle Racer -

AMA Superbike
Round 1

Daytona Beach FL


Series: AMA Superbike

Date: March 7th - 11th

Classes raced and results
Daytona 200 - 18th

Going to Daytona is a huge undertaking for any race team - the logistics required to bring a race team clear across America are staggering and extremely expensive at best. With that I really need to thank Dan Zlock and the whole Zlock Racing team: Dale, Marc, Sean, Arnie, Rob, Jeff, Francie, Joyce and Boonie for all their combined efforts. I also really want to thank the entire Meyers family especially Eric, Charlotte, William and Michelle for their amazing hospitality. Without awesome people like this we would not be racing.

Daytona has, over the past few years, become a place that I really enjoy racing. It offers a very unique challenge with extremely high speed banking (exclusive in the world of motorcycle racing) along with a now very tight and technical infield section. Turn one at this track is considered one of the most challenging in road racing as you enter the turn from the absolute top speed of the bike and somehow need to get down to first or second gear speeds (depending on your transmission). You need nerves and confidence in your machine to do well here, both of which I felt I had going in.

Notes on practice:
Practice was a slightly frustrating time for me as Pirelli didn't have the tires we were going to race on available thus forcing us to use different compounds and constructions during our first two practice sessions. Initially I didn't think too much of it as the bike was pretty much the same as last season so I had a good picture in my mind of how it would handle and what it was capable of, or so I thought. When we went to the new compound and construction the bike behaved quite differently forcing me to relearn how things felt as I approached the limits. On the other hand the bike's engine performance was top notch as once again Dan had produced a rocket of a bike, something that's absolutely paramount at Daytona.

Notes on qualifying:
I went out in qualifying in a determined mood. My goal was to get into a low 1:46 or, if possible, a 1:45. I felt that if I put a lap together and just really dug deep the bike and I were both capable. I started out on race tires in a full race set-up and was quickly into the low 1:47's feeling quite comfortable. After I strung together several 1:47's I decided to come in and grab some soft tires in an effort to drop our times even further. With new even stickier tires I went out and did about three laps getting into a rhythm. On the 5th lap I came out of the chicane feeling as though I wasn't accelerating as hard as previous laps. As I came out of NASCAR turn 4 (off the banking) I noticed that the engine felt "tight" and wasn't revving as freely as it has been. I went into turn two and my heart sank as I looked back to see a huge plume of smoke exiting our Hindle exhaust. Oh no. We got the bike back to the pits where Dan and the team immediately started working on it. It was apparent that nothing had come apart inside the engine as I hadn't heard any knocks or bangs while riding. However, it was clear that we had experienced a failure of some kind. It turned out to be a fuel issue as we had experienced detonation on the number four cylinder and the top of the piston had literally disintegrated. Luckily the cylinder was undamaged and Dan was going to be able to repair the engine, after we located the necessary parts that was. Sure enough, after just a few hours of work the next morning, Dan and the team had the bike together and running. What a team! The other good news was that even though we hadn't posted a decent qualifying time we were still in the race, although way back on row 10 in something like 37th place. I think I can see the start lights from here. :o)

Race Day:
Dan and I talked the morning of the race and came up with several pit stop strategies accounting for Pace Car situations and how they would communicate to me through the pit board. I only did four laps in the morning warm up to ensure the bike was working and operating effectively. We then went back to the pits and the team practiced pit stops, getting full fuel and both tires done in around 25 seconds. This is quite amazing considering we didn't have any expensive quick change equipment to speak of. All we had was the stuff that Dan and the team had fabricated. When there isn't a big budget you have to rely on ingenuity and creativity to get the job done. That's Dan and the team.

The Race:
My plan was quite simple. Get the best start possible and never give up for the entire race. I did well off the start gaining several positions in the first lap, although I had no idea where I was in the field as I had asked the team not to tell me anything other than what lap I was on and when to pit. To be honest I didn't care where I was during the race, my mindset was just focused on riding. The first stint on the bike seemed to fly by as the laps came quite easily and comfortably, although the bikes temperature had been steadily rising causing me some concern. I came into the pits for the first stop where everything seemed to be going as planned until the front quick change didn't go as well costing us about fifteen to twenty seconds. Not too much time but still time nonetheless. The middle stint on the bike went quickly as well. The bike's temperature was now, for some reason, at the normal level and everything felt really good. I didn't get into the best rhythm as traffic was now becoming an issue but I just kept on pushing my way through. The last pit stop went extremely well as Dan opted to forgo the front wheel change to avoid another possible delay. Once again, as last year, he had faith that the front tire would endure two sessions on the bike. The last session was without a doubt my best. My physical training was paying off in spades as I could see the fatigue setting in with other riders. The team had decided to inform me of my position to motivate me further as we were now just outside the top twenty. It did and I proceeded to put in my best laps of the race. Each lap I was making one or two positions feeling absolutely fantastic. Then I saw what I was absolutely dreading, the Pace Car. This meant everyone was gong to "bunch up" behind the pace car and any advantage we had worked up was going to evaporate. Luckily I had paid attention during the riders meeting knowing that the Pace Car would stay on the track for three laps. Apparently some of my competitors didn't hear what I heard. At the front of the pack I could see Miguel Duhamel and I just kept my eye on his position on the bike. I understood that he knew what to do in this situation, so when I saw him accelerate and tuck in, I did the same passing several "sleeping" riders in the process. Unfortunately this didn't equate to any positions for me as the riders in front must have been on different laps than I was. In the end we came across the stripe in 18th place. Although it's not quite what I thought the bike and I were ultimately capable of obtaining, I am pleased with our efforts and I didn't give up for 64 laps.

Again, none of this would even be possible without the combined support of all our sponsors, friends and family. Thank you to each and everyone one of you!

From here I have quite a bit going on in regard to our 2006 racing season… It's going to be a busy year!

Stay tuned… You know I'll keep you posted. :o)


Please click on images to enlarge

Our 600


Dale Zlock

Dale & Marc Burgess

Dan Zlock

Pit lane

Pit lane

Pit lane

Work begins on the engine

That was quick

Pit stop practice

Post race team photo

Dan & I

Mr. Meyers

William Meyers celebrating his 29th B-day

Dan, William & I

Mr. & Mrs. Meyers
(Some of the best people)

All action shots courtesy Didier Constant

Race Reports