Cycle News by Henry Ray Abrams
Daytona Beach, FL March 7, 1992
It didn’t seem possible that the Daytona Supercross by Honda could match the pre-race hype- After all, Yamaha’s Damon Bradshaw was going for a record-tying sixth Supercross win in a row and Honda’s Jeff Stanton was trying for a record-setting fourth Daytona Supercross win. Throw in the rest of the field and morning showers which wreaked havoc on the track and the chance for a historic race were slim.
The only problem was that someone forgot to tell that to Bradshaw and Stanton. The championship rivals locked horns off the start of the 20-lap race and held the crowd spellbound. Bradshaw leading first, then Stanton, then Bradshaw getting balked by a backmarker on the 13th of 20 laps allowing Stanton to escape into history. It was the best Supercross in recent memory and motocross veterans were digging deep into the memory files to find one that was better. Few could.
Honestly, these two looked like they were on rails in that main event. Clearly the track had changed a ton since the heat races, but considering how rutted and bad it was, Damon and Jeff totally upped their game when push came to shove. They started jumping nearly everything and were into lappers very early. And with a lot of the track being single grooved, as Henry writes, that main line became very crowded trying to maintain their speed while dodging slower traffic.
Mind you, back then, Daytona ran a 30 rider main event, so the track was packed and getting destroyed by all the riders. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the race Friday night, I highly recommend scrolling down and hitting the YouTube link. Its an hour long but the quality was great. If anything, just jump ahead to the main. You wont be disappointed. OK, back to Cycle News.
In the end Stanton had won not only his fourth Daytona Supercross, but 4th in a row, an unmatched feat on the longest, and what many consider the toughest supercross track of the series. It also marked Honda’s first victory of the season. Bradshaw finished several seconds behind Stanton and immediately following the race congratulated the victor.
“It was the hardest one, “ Stanton said. “The last three were halfway easy, I had to work for this one.”
His work earned him $8000 from the $50,000 250 class purse, while Bradshaw took $3500 back to North Carolina, where the next round of the championship will be run.
“I rode as well as I could,” 19-year old Bradshaw said. “When he passed me I made a couple mistakes, I made some bobbles and lost 5 seconds. Its unfortunate the string was broken, but I’ll be back in Charlotte to do it again.”
Bradshaw still leads the Camel Supercross Series point standings with 165 points. Stanton is tied for 2nd with teammate Jean-Michel Bayle, who finished a distant 3rd today, with 139 points. Kawasaki’s Mike LaRocco and Mike Kiedrowski, 4th and 5th today, respectively, are also 4th and 5th in the standings. LaRocco has 118 and MXKIed 108.
Anticipation couldn’t have been higher for the main event and right from the drop of the gate, it was obvious it was a two-rider race into the record books. Bradshaw got the holeshot with Stanton on his tail and DeHoop 3rd, Matiasevich 4th and Kiedrowski 5th. The lead duo quickly separated from the pack and Bradshaw pulled out a slight advantage, but by the seventh lap they were in traffic and that would make the difference. Bradshaw was slowed by a lapped rider entering a slow, mud-filled and rutted hairpin turn and Stanton was right up on him.
On the 10th lap, Stanton was briefly in front after he took the lead over a table-top jump approaching the finish line jump, but Bradshaw took it back when Stanton stalled getting around a lapped rider. By this point they were 30 seconds in front of 3rd place Bayle.
The race was decided on the 13th lap when a backmarker got in Bradshaw’s way as he headed down the front straightaway. Forced to take evasive action, Bradshaw ran off dirt and onto the tarmac, giving Stanton the break he needed to breakaway.
“I came out of the corner before the straight fast and a lapped rider was in my line not paying attention,“ Bradshaw explained. “I did quite a bit of road racing.”
Stanton’s lead grew quickly, up to close to 10 seconds at one point before Bradshaw made a late charge.
“I regained my confidence and my adrenaline got pumping and I got back going,” Bradshaw said.
At the end, Stanton had close to five seconds on Bradshaw and a place in the record books.
“Its tough when you have to look ahead and read the lines,” Stanton said. “There were not a lot of lines out there because of the rain. Ive been in a bit of a slump and I hope this gives me momentum to keep on going.”
Bayle, 8th at the end of lap one, was up to 5th a lap later and up to 4th on the third circuit. It was the halfway point before he moved into third and from then on he was riding alone.
“I always get a bad start in Daytona and this is just one more,” said Bayle. “Its no way to win a race.”
Fourth was decided a few turns from the finish when LaRocco passed teammate Kiedrowski after he handled backmarkers a little better.
“I was about 6th off the start,” Kiedrowski said. “When I moved up to 3rd, Bradshaw and Stanton were gone. I slowed a little bit after the fifth or sixth lap when there were a lot of lappers and Bayle and Mike caught me.”
Sixth was Doug Dubach, who took over on the 16th lap. Matiasevich finished 7th after passing Emig on the final lap. Craig and Guy Cooper, who had to transfer from the LCQ, finished out the top 10.