Daytona 200: Ready, Set, Pause 

April 17, 2020

The Daytona 200 is one of the most iconic races in motorcycle road racing. Squid Hunter Racing’s goal is to someday win this race, but we know everything has to go right. Even in this race, you need a bit of luck on your side.

As always, this year the team was laser-focused on bringing home a victory. Leading up to the race, we spent hundreds of man-hours on logistics, bike prep, and crew prep. We planned on giving everything we had to ensure a top finish.

Rider Choice

Due to the success we had in the past with world-class Moto2 rider Simone Corsi, the team and I had a soft understanding he would be riding for Squid Hunter in the 2020 Daytona 200. After several conversations with Corsi and due to complications with his team in Moto2, we decided to not move forward with Corsi for the Daytona 200. Instead, we are planning for a MotoAmerica round with Corsi sometime in late 2020.

Over the course of the last year, several riders contacted Squid Hunter in hopes they’d get the seat for the 2020 Daytona 200. This was a good feeling knowing that Squid Hunter has made a name for itself and our team is sought after.

Along the way, we were introduced to Michael Barnes, the 2016 Daytona 200 winner. After several conversations, the team and I felt comfortable that Barnes’s professionalism and experience would give us the best chance at a victory.

From there it was GO GO GO, planning and perfecting every aspect of the bike and relationship. Barnes had a few crew members he wanted to add to the Squid Hunter team, which we more than welcomed. From day one it was a synergistic team effort.

We put everything we had into preparing for the race.

Race Weekend

The Daytona International Speedway still takes my breath away every time I enter the gates for a race weekend. The entire Squid Hunter team was there from all around the country. We had a 24’ trailer packed to the gills and our bikes were 100% ready. Our rider Michal Barnes had arrived early and was excited and focused.

On Thursday we unloaded our trailer, built out our garages and double-checked the bikes.

Friday, Barnes went out on the first practice run and it was immediately clear his lap times were fast. At the time the transponder on our bike was not working but our internal telemetry told us he was running third. It was finally happening and starting to feel real. The crew was pumped.

Going into the first few qualifying sessions Barnes laid down a 150.1 lap time. This landed him in the top five. Then we noticed something in our data that would immediately bring that time down. The team regrouped after lunch and made some decisions to change a few items on the bike. We knew these changes would have a dramatic impact on lowering his already fast time.

Postponing the Race

Unfortunately, we never got a chance to see the changes to the bike come into play. The CCS timing and scoring system had stopped working. Not too long after that, a meeting was called.

We heard the previous day that the race was closed to viewers because of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Leading up to the race, there were more and more things being canceled and postponed across the United States to prevent the spread. For example, the week before the race the NBA paused their season. Then shortly after, MLB decided to delay the start of theirs. Even when we heard that there would be no audience, we were committed to staying focused on the race.

At the eleventh hour, CCS announced the race had been postponed.

We were already here and we spent thousands of dollars on this race. People made commitments and sacrifices to get here. The crowd was not happy. I am not going to say it wasn’t disappointing, but these things happen.

In the past, my team has shown we can overcome obstacles. It was shocking at first but we will be just as prepared and ready for the rescheduled race coming up. I am confident in my team that we will have great success in the upcoming race.

Thank you to the entire Squid Hunter Racing team for your efforts!

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