Daytona is a noisy place this weekend, with Biketoberfest happening concurrently with the Fall Cycle Scene. The streets echo with the potato-potato sounds of thousands of Harley Davidson cruisers, whilst inside the Daytona International Speedway, the air is filled with the screams of a few dozen assorted racing bikes.
One end of the paddock at the race track is an island of aural calm, however. Here, the teams contesting the TTXGP World Championship are going through the process of practice and qualifying for Sunday's big race. While there is the typical spinning of wrenches and plotting of strategy, the revving of engines is replaced by the click-clacking of laptops.
As expected, Team Icon Brammo is strong. Dominant even, with riders Eric Bostrom and Steve Atlas qualifying in the top two spots with fast laps of 1:58.648 and 1:59.397, respectively. Victory is not assured however, since both riders experienced worrying glitches while securing the lead positions. Sadly, their strongest American competitors, Barracuda Lightning, are a no-show after reportedly suffering logistical setbacks.
Münch Racing will be 3rd on the grid, after pulling down a 2:04.897. They were comfortable enough with the TTE-2 race machine that they sat out the last pre-qualifying practice opportunity, despite making a few tweaks after a bit of early-morning track time.
Catavolt will line up next, behind the Germans. Maybe. The Australian team had overcome a small leak in its hub motor's water cooling system that almost sent rider Jason Morris off the high side in early practice, allowing them to turn up the power to the controller of their torque monster. When it came time to put the bike to the test, though, the motor seemed to fail and it only just managed to make it around the track. As it was, their 2:33.732 qualifying time came from an earlier practice. When last we left the paddock, the boys were scrambling to resolve the issue.
Jeremiah Johnson will bring up the rear on a modified Zero S after experiencing an issue with the controller in his Be-Ev.com bike. Though his lap was slower than the others at, 2:50.624, he is confident it will hold up to the duress that only Daytona, with its long straights and steeply banked turns, can dish out.
You can see some great videos from the practice sessions by simply scrolling below. You can also follow this writer on Twitter for real-time photo tweets.