Road Racing Born Anewposted Mar 19, 2009
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It's a breath of fresh air, the Phoenix rising from the ashes, the winds of change, etc., etc...
The Phoenix analogy is probably the best, because most people will agree that the old AMA Pro Road Racing series had burned to the ground. Of course, the DMG (Daytona Motorsports Group) threw a lot of fuel on the fire last year and during this off season, which didn't help things much.
But now it's MARCH! It's time for the racing to begin again, time to head to the track and watch the heroes of our sport battle. Things are looking up for the AMA, and with the Daytona grids larger than they have been in years, maybe they are doing something right for a change. New teams have been popping up all over, and the old order has been significantly shuffled around. All I can hope for is that it will provide some good racing, not just one team way out front, and the real battles for the championship happening in the tech inspection tent.
Corona Honda is a good example of the changes going on in the AMA. A long time fixture in the AMA paddock, Corona Honda had a watershed year last year, winning races, and running up front all year. They brought Honda their first ever Superstock win, and was just a couple of points away from winning the championship, the last AMA Superstock Championship ever to be held.
The off season hijinks by DMG and the manufacturers made it seem for a while that there may not be any manufacturer presence at all, especially Honda, which was very troubling for many people. It was almost scripted like a soap opera, with Honda out, then in and testing, and then out again, and finally resolving the issue by teaming American Honda Racing and Corona Honda Racing together.
This could very well be the dream team for 2009. With the power of the Honda CBR1000 in new American Superbike trim, rider Neil Hodgson went fastest at the pre season Fontana test, and looked very comfortable on the new spec bike. The majority of his crew will remain with him, and he will now fly the Corona Honda colors of lime and yellow, making him very easy to spot out on the track!
Daytona is just around the corner and it's anyone's guess as to what might happen. Will Yoshimura Suzuki still be dominant with the new rules? Will Neil Hodgson sip on a cold Corona from the top of the podium? There are many other teams out there with some good chances as well. Make sure to tune in, or head down to Daytona Beach and watch the Phoenix take to the track!
UPDATE: Daytona is in the books, and it was a great weekend of racing. While Mladin stood on top of the box at the end of the American Superbike race, keeping the Yoshimura win streak of 47 straight Superbike wins alive, the racing was much closer, and was led at various points by Neil Hodgson of Corona Honda, and Larry Pegram of Pegram Ducati, both teams sponsored by Motion Pro. The race bode well for the rest of the season, with what looks like several newly competitive teams under the new rules.