SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts/Honda’s 2019 Daytona Supercross Recap
The 2019 Monster Energy Supercross Series headed to Florida’s Atlantic coast for one of the most iconic stops of the tour, the 2019 Daytona Supercross. Held on the infield of Daytona International Speedway, it holds high a level of prestige for riders and team, thanks to its distinction as the longest-running event in Supercross and for its challenging track design. For the SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts/Honda team and rider Justin Brayton, the weekend was a nice reminder of 2018’s landmark victory and all were excited to be back at the famed facility for another shot at the trophy.
As the defending champion of the event, Justin Brayton’s week included obligations with the track and media, a role that the veteran racer relished. “I love being here. It is super fun to come here and to reminisce about last year,” shared Brayton. The enjoyment of the weekend masked the pain of a severely sprain, an injury he suffered ahead of the Atlanta round, and he did everything possible to push past the pain. The conditions of the track, including countless bumps, continuous ruts, and massive jump combinations made for a difficult day, as Brayton noted his injury was more apparent in Daytona than it was in Atlanta, but he fought through to qualify thirteenth overall, sixth-place in his Heat Race, and ninth-place in the 450 Main Event. “To walk away with a top-ten is really solid,” he stated after the race. “I’m happy with the whole day and the vibe, so all is good.” Brayton’s season as a whole has been consistent, as he’s diced for positions at the front of the field multiple times and finished within the top-ten at seven of the ten races contested so far. These results rank him eighth in the series standings. “I feel pretty good about it. Anytime that you can be in the top-ten and knocking on the door for top-five finishes, that’s a good day.”
For Mike Alessi, Daytona was his second week of Supercross racing and the track conditions tend to suit Alessi’s skillset, as it is much more similar to an outdoor motocross event than any other Supercross. An illness early in the week kept Alessi from getting ample time on the motorcycle, but he lined up and swept the premier class at the Thursday’s Tampa Pro Open race. At Daytona, Alessi qualified twenty-fifth overall but was regulated to racing the LCQ after a first-turn pile up in the Heat Race. The start of the LCQ was what one would expect from the 800, as he nabbed the holeshot from a far outside gate and went unchallenged to the win. Alessi had another solid start in the 450 Main Event but hit the brakes to avoid a possible collision with teammate Brayton as the pack funneled into the fast first turn. “I got a good jump but as we were going into the first turn, I saw my teammate as he came in hot and I chose to go off of the track. I didn’t want us to collide at Mach One, so I came out in fifteenth place and stayed in that spot for most of the race.” Alessi’s results were impacted by a pair of crashes late in the race and he shifted his focus to finishing the night safely; he was ranked twentieth in the final results. Alessi has made two Main Events, a remarkable feat after years away from the unique discipline and is now twenty-eighth in the point standings.
The 2019 Monster Energy Supercross Series continues this weekend with the 2019 Indianapolis Supercross at Lucas Oil Stadium, the eleventh consecutive round of the series.