Recapping the ten Bridgestone CSBK performers at the Daytona 200

The 82nd running of the Daytona 200 wrapped up with a dominant Josh Herrin victory on Saturday, his second consecutive victory for the Warhorse HSBK Ducati team at the famed 57-lap race around Daytona International Speedway.

There were plenty of international success stories at the MotoAmerica event, however, and amongst them was a number of Canadians as ten Bridgestone CSBK riders entered the Daytona 200 and nine took to the grid on race day. 

With the trip south now firmly in the books, below is an in-depth look at the five finishers and five other riders in attendance this past weekend, listed in their finishing order out of 62 total starters. 

Ben Young – 9th

It all went to plan for three-time CSBK champion Ben Young, who was the most experienced Canadian going into the event, largely the fastest Canadian during the weekend, and the top ranked Canadian at the chequered flag.

Adjusting to a Team BATTLAX Suzuki for the first time in his career, Young fought through a few mechanical gremlins early in the qualifying process but was his typical calm, calculated self on race day, managing his Bridgestone tires excellently to extend each of his first two stints and overtake a handful of three-stop riders with his two-stop strategy. 

While it won’t go down as Young’s best finish at Daytona – he scored an eighth-place result in 2013 – it was by far one of the best rides of his career given the historically strong field, beating names like PJ Jacobsen, four-time winner Danny Eslick, and running ahead of two-time Isle of Man winner Peter Hickman before his DNF.

Trevor Daley – 20th

It was an eventful race for the other rider in the Team BATTLAX garage, but the fact that Trevor Daley was able to crack the top-20 even with a crash and lengthy pit-stop shows the incredible pace he had on Saturday.

Daley was running in 19th and ahead of a number of key names prior to the incident, and likely would have been in contention for a spot in the top-15 at the finish, but even with the setback was able to claw his way into the top-20 and next to MotoAmerica regulars like Danilo Lewis and Blake Davis.

It’s also worth noting that Daley did all of this in just his first ever Daytona 200 appearance, finishing as the fifth-best debutant in the field, and losing out only to YART World Endurance champions Karel Hanika (fifth) and Marvin Fritz (sixth), rising star Kayla Yaakov (eleventh), and Spanish star Diego Perez (16th). 

Matt Simpson – 25th

The Daytona 200 experience can be one full of ups and downs, and the Evans Racing Yamaha crew got the whole package last weekend. The first few sessions were ruined by a combination of Matt Simpson’s self-admitted errors, various setup issues, and plenty of traffic that prevented any clean laps, and a Saturday morning mechanical failure made the team question if he could even finish the race.

Instead, Simpson wound up inside the top-25 and was the third best Canadian in the 62-rider field. 

The 22-year-old rode a quiet and consistent race, avoided all the chaos ahead of him and lap one chaos behind him, and stretched out his tires even with early grip issues to finish on a two-stop strategy and capitalize on the other three-stop riders ahead of him.  

Only three riders made up more spots than Simpson did, up 21 places from 46th on the grid, as he finished as the sixth-best rookie in the field and just behind long-time MotoAmerica frontrunner Taylor Knapp. 

Alex Michel – 28th

Despite all the wildly different circumstances of the Daytona 200, it was another quietly spectacular weekend for Alex Michel, who continues to take on the reputation as the “silent assassin” of the CSBK paddock.

The 20-year-old got off to a strong start as he lapped inside the top-35 on Thursday, but couldn’t make much progress as he slipped to 53rd on the grid in qualifying. As usual, the second-year pro made it up when he needed it most, however, gaining 25 spots on race day – the second-most of any rider in the field. 

The SpeedFactory67 Kawasaki rider gradually chipped away at the field in front of him and managed his tire and fuel strategy to perfection, limiting his mistakes along the way as Michel capped off his Daytona debut as the fourth-best Canadian – putting the Pro Sport Bike field back home on notice. 

Mavrick Cyr – 30th

For all the talent Mavrick Cyr has, it was fair to question how well an 18-year-old with only one career pro race under his belt would do at Daytona. In reality, Cyr looked like a seasoned veteran right from the start. 

The Rizzin Racing Triumph rider and reigning amateur champion immediately cracked the top-35 in the opening practice and was nearly matching Sebastien Tremblay’s pace at the top of the Group B timesheets, qualifying 39th on the grid and sixth amongst the ten CSBK entries. 

His inexperience started to show a bit more on Saturday with a few crucial mistakes early on, but it didn’t take long for Cyr to settle in and charge back past a number of midfield riders to wind up inside the top-30 out of 62 starters.  

Sam Guerin – 47th (DNF)

One of the fastest riders on any two-wheeled machine, Sam Guerin’s latest foray into the Supersport class of the Daytona 200 was unfortunately riddled with mechanical issues from the beginning. 

The Original Garage Premont HD Kawasaki rider had just started to settle in aboard the smaller displacement machine when he encountered motor problems, forcing the team to drop a new engine into his ZX-6R Ninja on Friday night after qualifying 38th. 

His early pace had him looking like a potential top-20 threat, climbing as high as 29th before the first round of pit stops, but another motor failure just 13 laps into the race forced Guerin into an early retirement in his first Daytona 200 appearance, ending the event 47th in the final classification. 

Trevor Dion – 52nd (DNF)

As if his string of performances to end 2023 weren’t impressive enough, Trevor Dion earned even more hype leading into the Daytona 200 when he joined reigning winners Warhorse HSBK Ducati and reportedly turned heads at their private test in Savannah.

However, that perfect marriage quickly began to encounter problems as Dion struggled with the HSBK-favoured bike setup, and while it’s hard to fault the program for their insistence – after all, they did defend their crown with another Josh Herrin victory – the reality is that Dion never looked fully comfortable on or off-track.

The 22-year-old didn’t go without flashes of brilliance, qualifying 29th and briefly running as high as 19th on race day and only a couple spots behind Young, but brake problems forced him to retire on only lap five and bring his first Daytona 200 experience to a frustrating end. 

Sebastien Tremblay – 60th (DNF)

It’s been a year of adjustments for Tremblay, switching from his once-beloved Kawasaki to a Suzuki GSX-R600 in Canada and then to the recently homologated GSX-R750, only to then return to Turcotte Performance Kawasaki for a one-off at Daytona.

The teething period didn’t last long as he quickly established himself as one of the fastest riders in Group B, qualifying 36th overall and representing a sure threat to fight inside at least the top-25 given his excellent consistency and tire management.

Unfortunately, he never got the chance as Tremblay got tangled up with one of his American counterparts on lap one and was knocked out of the race, an all-too-familiar outcome for one of the unluckiest riders in the CSBK paddock. 

Brad Macrae – 61st (DNF)

The last of the Daytona 200 debutants, Brad Macrae had helped crew for Young a year ago but decided to return aboard his Mac Racing Yamaha this time around, looking reasonably comfortably early on as he climbed inside the top-ten of Group B and sixth-fastest amongst the Canadians.

Despite a mix of setup issues and mechanical lapses – including a loss of brakes at the end of the pit lane in Saturday morning’s warm-up – Macrae fought through the setbacks to put himself 40th on the grid and with enough pace to secure a strong result.

He would unfortunately suffer from the same bad luck as Tremblay, however, as he crashed trying to avoid the incident that included his fellow Canadian in front of him on lap one. As if that wasn’t enough heartbreak, Macrae suffered two broken wrists and injuries to his left foot in the crash, putting his status for round one of the CSBK season at risk.

Alex Coelho – DNS

The only other entry besides Young with previous Daytona 200 experience, Alex Coelho returned aboard his MTRS Kawasaki hoping to follow up an excellent 16th place finish from a year ago, but unfortunately had his weekend cut short.

After going 35th fastest in practice, Coelho crashed on his first flying lap of qualifying and suffered a broken fibula after being clipped by another rider, thankfully avoiding the worst but unfortunately ending his weekend before it truly even started. 

While Coelho didn’t technically qualify for the Daytona 200 due to the timing of the crash, he makes this list due to both his unfortunate injury and the strong pace he showed prior to it, which would have put him comfortably inside the group of qualifiers.