Richie Morris Racing ready to launch 2017 campaign at Daytona

Posted on behalf of Richie Morris Racing:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 15, 2017) - With a new TV package, regulations, class names, event formats, and an all-new branding approach, 2017 is expected to mark a watershed season for American Flat Track (AFT). The championship will kick off this Thursday night with the Harley-Davidson DAYTONA TT presented by Politis & Matovina.

Richie Morris Racing (RMR) will look to get the year started on a high note as it is set for a two-rider program to do battle in both classes of American Flat Track competition. The team will compete in AFT Single with young Shayna Texter in the No. 52 CRF Honda 450 Single, with RMR being represented in AFT Twins by Jarod Vanderkooi on the No. 20 EX 650 Kawasaki.

Texter, who is carrying the support of McElroy Packaging, American Honda, Al Lamb's Dallas Honda, Tucker Rocky, Performance Electronics, ProTaper and Roland Sands Design enters the weekend fresh from a feature race win on Saturday in the All Star National Flat Track Series at Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Savannah, Georgia.

“Winning Savannah was good, because it has been a long couple of years since I’ve been on top of the box!” Texter said. “We were racing with some of the top competitors in the series, and that was exciting. But we’ve got our work cut out, for sure. It’s not going to be easy to go out and win a National.”

The Daytona season kick-off ritual is also a big part of the traditional Bike Week events, as AFT prepares to launch the season with a first-ever event run inside the Daytona International Speedway. Designed by seven-time Grand National Champion Chris Carr, the brand-new TT circuit will give fans the chance to witness twin-cylinder motorcycles soaring over the man-made jump as AFT opens with a TT event for the first time since 1985.

“It’s always exciting to get down to Daytona,” said Texter. “It’s so rich in history with the sport and for motorsports in general. It’s an exciting place to kick off the series—also it is my birthday! It’s a brand-new format for the entire team and the series. Personally, I haven’t ridden a TT in a long time, and Daytona is going to be my first time riding a Single in a couple of years, so there are a lot of unknowns – a lot of unknowns for both classes.”

After making a handful of starts with the team in 2016, Vanderkooi is looking forward to a full-season effort with RMR.

“I’m pretty excited about running with RMR—Richie’s running the team and we’ve got good mechanics, so the bikes are good,” said Vanderkooi, who will carry the flag for McElroy Packaging, Tucker Rocky, Roland Sands Design, ProTaper and Performance Electronics. “We’ve got a few races under our belt and we’ve prepared just as good – or better – than anyone else has, so I’m looking forward to it.”

With new brands joining the AFT competitive fray, the Daytona event will be the first time for everyone to get a feel for where everyone stacks up.

“It’s a new format for us, and it’s going to shake things up pretty good,” said Vanderkooi. “It’s going to have Twins on TTs for the big class, and we haven’t done that in a long, long time. A lot of things have changed both on and off the track since the checkered flag fell in 2016. Probably the biggest change is, there are two new motorcycle manufacturers joining our series this year. We welcome them and look forward to seeing what they can do against our proven bikes and team. I feel that our team has prepared better than anyone else has, we are ready to go and can't wait to get the season started.”

Thursday nights race will be broadcast live:

Event schedule:

10 reasons why you don’t want to miss it: