Daytona Bike Week has wrapped up another year with the Daytona 200, but this year’s race has been the epicenter of both controversy and history. Though nobody expected the twists and turns that came out of this year’s competition, no one will soon forget the 2016 race on the beach.
Controversy Rocks Daytona Bike Week!
Danny Eslick was preparing for another shot at the Daytona 200 championship trophy. After winning the trophy in 2014 and 2015, he was on track to win for a historic third consecutive time. He would have joined the likes of Kenny Roberts and Scott Russell who have won three times or more, and he would have been to only racer to do it in a row, but a good time at Bike Week festivities dashed these hopes.
In the wee hours of March 7th, police received a call about a woman who had been pushed to the ground. They arrived to find Eslick out with friends and claiming that there was no problem. When officers identified themselves, the racer bolted, got into a scuffle with an officer that caught up with him, jumped a fence and was then grabbed and restrained by a special events officer.
Eslick has been charged with battery on a law enforcement officer—a third degree felony—and despite promising he would race on Saturday, Eslick was indefinitely suspended from racing by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and the American Sportbike Racing Association (ASRA). Things seemed to quiet down after that, but when it came time to race, things got even wilder.
A Historic Daytona 200 Wraps Up Bike Week!
Shane Narbonne of Boston was immediately approached by TOBC Racing to replace Eslick on Saturday, and the 27-year-old rode to an incredible 4th place finish, but the real story was the history making return of a racer nobody was expecting. Michael Barnes—after 13 attempts to win the Daytona 200—walked away with an incredible win!
Barnes led 46 of the 57 laps while riding the Palm Beach Police Foundation/Prieto Performance Yamaha YZF-R6 and beat runner-up Geoff May by 10.084 seconds. The racer came out of retirement specifically for this race, and at the age of 47, he is now the eldest rider to ever win one of the country’s most venerable motorcycle races.
Brought to you by the motorcycle accident attorneys at the Metier Law Firm—We know how to help riders because we ride too!