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Daytona 2004 NEW !!
In 2000 George Taylor won at Daytona after years of trying and lots of second places. This is the story of his triumph, written within hours of his success.
As you can tell, he was still very very excited, in his own words: "Still buzzing".
DAYTONA REPORT 2000
A twenty seven year old dream finally came true for me last Monday. I finally won a motorcycle race at Daytona!! I won the Formula 250 race on my Yamaha TD3!! And what a race it turned out to be! A battle right down to the line between myself and Harry Barlow on his Yamaha 250 "Barlow Special".
George doin' the business on his TD3.
Here's my lap by lap description of the way the race unfolded:
I started on the fourth row of the grid. At the rider's meeting the day before, the Starter had shown us his procedure. When the one minute board was turned sideways, he would count to 4 and then drop the flag. So I was primed and ready to count when the one minute board went sideways.
The board turned sidways and I counted to four and dropped the clutch! Uh oh, too soon - thought I had the count wired but I was wrong! Musta been the adrenaline pumping in my veins! I was just able to get stopped before my rear axel crossed my start line which would have caused me to suffer a stop and go penalty - a death knell in a sprint race! Big mistake on my part as now I was at the back of the pack as we entered Turn One. I could see as I rounded Turn One that Harry had already moved up to fourth as we headed to the International Horseshoe. Unfortunately for me there were about ten bikes between me and Harry. I knew I really had to get busy if I was to have a chance.
At the end of lap one I had managed to get into fourth place but as I looked across to the exit from the Horseshoe, I could see that Harry was starting to pull a sizeable lead on me as I was working my way through traffic.
By the end of lap two, I was safely in second place but a long way behind Harry. So I put my head down and really started pushing HARD!
By lap three I begin to realize that I was losing time to Harry on the West Bank but gaining ground on the east bank and in the infield so I started pushing even harder!
As lap four started I had almost caught up with Harry and at the same time we were about to start lapping some of the second wave bikes. Harry rode up to three of the lappers as we entered the Horseshoe. He elected to ride around the outside of the lappers so I just stuffed it under all four of them and came out of the Horseshoe in the lead! It really caught Harry by suprise. But Harry sure wasn't done yet!!!
I held the lead until we were about to enter the chicane on lap five. Zip, Harry got me on braking and now he was back into the lead. I decided to see if there was any chance of a draft pass coming off the east bank - and there was!! I was back in the lead as we crossed the start/finish line going into the last lap. Now my question was should I let Harry by and then set him up for the draft pass before the finish line? Or should I just press on? For reasons that I don't even understand myself, I decided to just keep pressing on even though I was very concerned about Harry doing to me what I had just done to him on the previous lap. Or maybe another late braking move going into the chicane.
I really expected to see Harry as I entered the chicane, but it didn't happen! Now I was REALLY concerned about a draft pass. I remember thinking that it sure would be great if I could use the old "weaving" trick, but that got banned a number of years ago. So all I could do was start out high on the bank and slowly work down to the bottom as we exited the bank and started the run for the finish line. Usually I can just "sense" when someone is right on my ass, even if I can't see them. But that feel was not there - then the finish line WAS!!
Turns out that Harry had made a bobble and dropped just far enough back that a draft pass was not possible. And just to show that even an old man can rise to the occasion, my last lap was almost one second quicker then my earlier laps. I don't know where that came from - musta been a gift from God!
AND AFTER 27 YEARS, MY DREAM FINALLY CAME TRUE!!
I'M A DAYTONA WINNER!!
But wait!! My adventure wasn't over quite yet. We also had the BOT 2stroke race to run. We had ignition trouble in both out practice sessions. We thought we had found the problem after the last session. But during the warm up lap I found that the problem was still there. Since I was gridded on the inside of the grid I decided to take my starting position knowing that I could stay low and not be a road block to the other riders behind me. Sure enough I quickly advanced to the rear of the pack as the ignition problem persisted. Then about three quarters of the way through the first lap all of a sudden she just chimed in and took off!! All of a sudden I had a real race bike between my legs - and boy did I take off!!! Even though I knew that a good finish was not possible, I kept pushing because I was riding really well and having a great time. 'Nother words, I was "in the zone"! And I love being there!! Greatest feeling in the world!!
Then as I entered the exit from the chicane to the bank on the sixth lap all of a sudden the rear tire just let go - and then caught!! Now I'm telling you what - I thought I had crashing and I was waiting for the pain that was sure to follow! I thought for sure I was gonna get an ambulance ride next!! The tank slapper of my life had just occurred! All of a sudden the bike settlled down and I remember seeing my front wheel and green grass! I was still on the bike, by the grace of God, but mostly laying on top of it. I don't know how I managed to get back into the saddle, but I did! I decided to re-enter the race only to discover that I was stuck in third gear due to the fact that my foot had completely jammed the shifter under the frame during the "slapper" Good thing too, as we discovered later that the oil breather line from the gearbox had come loose and left copious amounts of gearbox oil in the fairing and all over the rear suspension. That's where the scariest tankslapper of my life came from!! Just enough oil got on my tyre, and that's all it took! I spent most of the rest of the day thanking God for looking after me!!
After all of this, the F500 event on my trusty TR3 was rather anticlimactic but here's what went on…. I started in the fourth row and got a halfway decent start but I could see that Chris, Miyagi and Harry were quite a ways ahead by the time we started lap two. I was still getting the the head shaking that's plagued my TR since last year, in the west banking, and quite frankly, it was frightening - so I opted to take it easy and not risk the farm when it was obvious that I was getting my ass kicked real good anyway! Chris won going away and Miyagi was second followed by Harry and then me! Hey, I got no complaints - fourth ain't bad - what the hell - I've just had my best Daytona ever!!!
Know the old saying "been there - done that"? Well, I could never say that about a motorcycle win at Daytona. Not in twenty seven years - till last Monday - now I can!! - I truly have been blessed by God!!
George Taylor, "The Grey Fox."
The Republic of Hooterville.
Dictator and Chief of Police
"2 Old Racing"
One of my greatest ambitions is to race at Daytona. George Taylor is lucky enough to live within 60 miles of the track.
Thanks George for an excellent, honest account of what it's like to win at Daytona.
Barber Motorsport Complex 2003.
Below is another great race report from George, this time from the new "Barber" circuit in Alabama, USA.
Well, it's time for my annual Daytona Adventure to begin, so here's the first report about this year's adventure.
I've been hot at it in the raceshop for the past two weeks. My TZ is ready for action, but my TD is not yet set to go. Due to new belly pan rules for this year, I'm still trying to get this implemented without having to re-design the fairing. It's turned out to be a time consuming deal. 20 hours on it at this point and still have a bit more work to do before it's finished. Really frustrating, since requiring a belly pan on a 2stroke is STUPID!
Last Sunday night I began to realize I wasn't going to be ready for practice day on Wednesday. So I made the decision to withdraw from the Jennings GP event and concentrate my efforts on having everything ready to go for Daytona.
At this point it appears it was not a bad decision due to the predicted weather for the next few days.
In any case, I still have MUCH to get done, so it's back out to the raceshop for me!
More to follow -
Only time for a short note. I am really behind in my work on getting ready for Daytona, due to that bellpan rule I mentioned in my first e mail.
Things are most definitely NOT under control. As it stands now I've got about 4 days work to do in 2 days!
We have to be in Daytona on Sunday for Tech Inspection/Rider's Meeting . Then we start racing on Monday. So, one way or the other, I've gotta have my act together by Saturday evening! Aggghhh!!! I'll let you know how it goes - as soon as I can find the time to type it up!
Well, it's 2am Sunday morning and I'm just now finished in the race shop. We have to be over at Daytona by 3pm for tech inspection and riders meeting. Haven't even had time to eat a bite yet. That's next. Then it's off to bed to get a bit of rest. At least I don't have to get up 'til around 10am! All sorts of problems encountered in getting my TD3 ready. I won't bore you with the details - I'm too POOPED bore you with the details! Suffice it to say, we worked our way thru the problems and I think we're finally set to go racing!
Stay tuned for the next report!
Daytona racing, day one:
Went thru the tech/riders meeting on Sunday. Felt like crap all day. But I was up by 4am this morning to head to the track. Got set up in the paddock by 7am and was all set for the first practice session at 8am. My TD3 was the first bike I took out for practice. Went quite well considering all the problems we had getting the new "fat" Dunlops fitted on Saturday. In fact, it went real well! I really love these new Dunlop tires. Worth all the work it took to fit that wide a tire on the TD.
Then it was time to do practice on my TZ. That didn't work out for the first practice session due to some stuck clutch plates. We ended up missing the first session for my TZ. Fixed the problem and got out for the second
session only to find that the new boots I was wearing were enough different than my old ones that I couldn't shift the TZ properly. So I headed into the pits to change the position of the shift lever. I still managed to get in a decent amount of practice time.
Only problem was, I was feeling pretty crappy from whatever kind of bug I caught in the last couple of days. And it was affecting my riding. I had no stamina, and by the time I had completed three practice sessions, I was physically wasted!
Good thing my pit crew was able to deal with all the little details of dialing my TD in for the race because all I could do was rest.
Race time for my F250 (TD) race came around at about 2pm. I had gained some strength back by race time (a good thing!) I was on the front row for the start and got a reasonably good start. I came out of turn three in 4th place. Got around the 3rd place guy coming out of the International Horseshoe, and by the end of the first lap I was in second. But that was as far as I got. I couldn't run the leader down due to just really getting tired and making mistakes in the last three laps.So I had to settle for second place. Boy, I'm really a "bridesmaid" in the F250 race at Daytona! In the last ten years I've finished 2nd eight times,
3rd once, and had one win.
Considering the way I felt, I have no complaints! Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow. I sure hope so! As I feel that if I'm as fit as I usually am for Daytona, I have a real chance at another victory tomorrow. The winner has a
fast bike, but it's no faster than mine. It's just that I was so weak today that I started making mistakes toward the end of the race. We'll see how it goes!
I went out for the BOT race on my TZ about 30min after my F250 race. And I was really feeling tired! Got a decent start and came out of the second turn in 5th place, but very rapidly got passed by faster riders. After three laps, and dropping down to 8th place, I pulled in. I was so tired from the bug that I was making all sorts of mistakes, the kind of mistakes that can put you on your head, so I pulled in and called it a day, before I hurt
Sure hope I feel better for tomorrow's races! Because I felt so bad, today was not a whole lot of fun. I'm really grateful to pull off a second place today, because I sure had my doubts before race time!
Anyway, that's it for now. I'm wasted, and I'm heading to bed. 4am arrives really early!! '-)
Stay tuned for my next report.
Daytona racing, day two:
My Daytona adventure for this year finished up today. On a very high note! I won my F250 race with my trusty TD3! Boy, do I LOVE that bike! This is my second win at Daytona with her (I won this race in 2000)! I'm thrilled!
I got up this morning feeling a bit better than yesterday, but still not quite 100%. So when we got to the track I elected to ride only two of the four practice sessions to conserve my energy. Took my TZ out for my first practice session and even though the bike was working great, I was still having problems sorting out the adjustment of my shifter and rear brake lever to suit my new boots. I just did not feel comfortable on the bike due to continued problems upshifting on the drive out of a lot of the corners. I finally made the decision to just park it, and not ride the BOT race. Not feeling 100% made the decision seem wise. So we just loaded the TZ up and concentrated on the TD3 for the F250 race, which I felt I had a chance to win, based on yesterday's results.
I only did 4 laps of practice on the TD. I was really grooved in right from the start, so why waste energy I was going to need for the race. This gave me a chance to get well rested up before the start of the race.
I was on the front row for the start of the race and when the green flag dropped, I managed one of my best starts in quite a while! I was in third place coming out of the first turn. Got the second place rider exiting the
International Horseshoe, and went into the lead just before the kink. I was never headed from that point on. I lead every lap and won by around 10 seconds! I did not tire in the later stages of the race like I had done
yesterday. That led to my making only one small error for the entire race.
What a difference from yesterday, when I made all sorts of mistakes during the later stages of the race. I spent the last half of the race asking God to help me get my second win at Daytona, and he did!
Anyway, Daytona for 2004 has come and gone, and left me with more great memory's! All the hard work and frustration I experienced this year in getting my bikes ready ended up paying off BIGTIME!
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