Buell racing champions and contenders return to action as teams open the 2008 motorcycle roadracing season at Daytona International Speedway next week. Deeley H-D/Buell Canada/Ruthless Racing rider Dave Estok will defend his 2007 American Sportbike Racing Association (ASRA) Pro Thunderbike championship aboard a Buell Firebolt XB12R in the first round of the ASRA National road racing series on March 1, while five Buell teams are entered in the SunTrust MOTO-ST Daytona 300 endurance race scheduled for March 2.
SunTrust MOTO-ST Series
The new Buell 1125R will make its racing debut in the hands of two veteran teams entered in the Buell Motorcycle Company SuperSport Twin (SST) class for the SunTrust MOTO-ST Daytona 300, the opening round of the seven-event 2008 SunTrust MOTO-ST season. Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing team will enter a Buell 1125R with riders Shawn Higbee and Dan Bilansky, while Deeley H-D/Buell Canada/Ruthless Racing will enter the race with riders Darren James, Steve Crevier, and Estok on another Buell 1125R.
"We’ve had some great tests and are extremely pleased with the performance of the new Buell 1125R," said Richie Morris, owner of the Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing team. "In the SST class it will be a dogfight at the front because it’s a big field with a lot of good riders and good teams. We are really excited about bringing Buell to the top class in MOTO-ST and we are ready to go all the way this season."
The SunTrust MOTO-ST series is for production based four-stroke twin-cylinder motorcycles ridden by teams of riders in longer-distance events which feature pit stops and fuel strategy. SST is the top-performance class in MOTO-ST, for bikes making at least 90 horsepower and no more than 120 horsepower, as measured in post-race testing. The Buell 1125R will de-tuned with intake restrictors to meet the 120-horspower limit for SST.
Three Buell teams are entered in the BMW GrandSport Twins (GST) class for the SunTrust MOTO-ST Daytona 300. The Richie Morris Racing entry sponsored by Hal’s Harley-Davidson/Buell/Ocean Deck/Brotz Motorsports will feature riders Clint Brotz and Tripp Nobles on a Buell XB12R. The Richie Morris Racing squad won three MOTO-ST GST events in 2007 and finished second in season points, helping Buell clinch the 2007 GST Manufacturer Championship. The James Gang/Hoban Brothers Racing team, sponsored by Buell of Appleton and Darkhorse Crankworks, will open the 2008 season with riders Paul James and Jeff Johnson aboard a Buell XB12R. The James Gang/Hoban Brothers team will aim to improve on its third-place finish in 2007 GST points, with one class win and three additional podium appearances. The new RnR Repsol Racing team will enter GST at Daytona with riders Rick Beggs and Rachel Sasse on a Buell XB9R. GST motorcycles must produce at least 75 horsepower and no more than 90 horsepower in post-race testing.
ASRA Pro Thunderbike Series
Deeley H-D/Buell Canada/Ruthless Racing rider Dave Estok rode a Buell XB12R to win six of eight races and dominate the ASRA Pro Thunderbike National Championship series in 2007, winning his second Thunderbike title in three years. For 2008, Estok is back with the Deeley H-D/Buell Canada/Ruthless Racing team, which will also field former Canada Thunder champion Darren James.
"I do not expect to win like that again this season," said Estok. "This really is a very competitive class, and I think some of the other riders in Pro Thunderbike had some bad luck last year. But the Deeley Team puts me on great Buell equipment, and I think we’ll be racing up front and on the podium at every race."
Estok will be challenged by Hal’s H-D/Buell/Hal’s Speed Shop rider Dan Bilansky, the 2006 Pro Thunderbike champion who was second to Estok in 2007, racing for another title on a Buell XB12R in 2008. Harley-Davidson/Buell of Frederick will open the 2008 Pro Thunderbike season at Daytona with rider Bryan Bemisderfer, the 2004 class champion, aboard a Buell XB12R. Also contending will be the Sound Waves/Hal’s Speed Shop team with rider Joe Rozynski, who was third in Thunderbike points in 2007, and his brother, Sam Rozynski, who placed fifth in 2007, aboard Buell XB12R motorcycles.
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