SONOMA, CA (May 16, 2010) – Danny Eslick finally attained his first AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL win of the 2010 season on Sunday afternoon in the final race of the West Coast Moto Jam at Infineon Raceway’s 2.32-mile natural road course.
In a weekend that saw riders in each class take well deserved wins, no one was happier and more relieved than Eslick.
The reigning Daytona SportBike champion showed that consistency is key, once again pushing his GEICO Powersports Richie Morris Racing Suzuki to the maximum to earn a hard-fought victory over the 31-bike field and take control of the point standings with his fifth podium finish in the season’s seven races.
Over the course of the 22-lap sprint race, nine different riders occupied the top five spots. Eslick surged to the front almost immediately and had to battle intensely in a quest for his first 2010 race win.
The lead freight train was rarely separated by more than a second and although Eslick led 19 laps, it was never truly clear who was poised to take the top spot.
Josh Herrin on his Team Graves Yamaha, Steve Rapp with his Team Latus Motors Racing Ducati, Martin Cardenas on his Saturday race one winning M4 Monster Energy Suzuki and pole sitter Tommy Aquino on his Team Graves Yamaha all took the fight to Eslick with intentions to take the win.
Cardenas suffered an early mishap in the turn nine left/right complex and wasn’t able to continue after coming together with another rider, but it was Rapp, who took the lead from Eslick on lap 17, that was poised to be the rider to once again deny Eslick of a 2010 win.
In a cruel twist, Rapp unfortunately had the bike slide out from under him while leading lap 21. He was able to rejoin the fray to finish a brave 16th.
A number of other riders also had falls today, one of which necessitated a red flag. Russ Wikle went down in turn five and Michael Beck unfortunately made inevitable contact with him.
Wikle was airlifted to Santa Rosa Medical Center for further examination. He was awake and alert when he left the track and was undergoing further examination at the hospital. He had spoken to his parents but the full extent of his injuries was still being evaluated.
When the race wound down, Daytona 200 winner Herrin took second and Dane Westby riding his Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha closed out the podium in third place, his third podium this season.
Polesitter Tommy Aquino, who led three laps in Saturday’s race and never fell below seventh position this weekend, battled his way to a fourth place finish.
Fifth was Cory West on his Vesrah Suzuki, followed by Bobby Fong in sixth, who ran as high as second position in the early stages of the race aboard his DNA Energy Drink CNR Motorsports Ducati.
Seventh was the second Vesrah Suzuki of Chris Fillmore, eighth was P.J. Jacobson riding for Celtic Racing Suzuki. Eli Edwards took ninth with his Edwards Racing Yamaha and rounding out the top ten was Tyler Odom riding a Honda for Erion Racing.
Eslick completed the day with a spectacular wheelie for the television cameras and also a loud, smokey burnout as he pulled into the Infineon Raceway victory lane.
Sunday’s first place finish marked Eslick’s eighth career AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL win, but if his consistent finishes so far this year are any indication, expect to see him in victory lane at least once a weekend for the rest of the season.
Next up for the series will be the classic four mile road course through the Kettle Moraine country of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s Road America, June 4-6.