Things went awry for Daley on Thursday when the timing chain broke on his venerable OneSpeed / Riders Choice Suzuki GSX-R1000. The Mississauga, Ont. rider had steered the bike to a race win and three other podium finishes to build up a commanding 46-point lead in the class standings.
Daley was left scrambling to find parts but a call to Ben Gartner of ProStar Motorsports brought an unexpected offer. The tuner had a Honda CBR600RR available and Daley was welcome to use it.
“I called Ben trying to find some parts,” Daley recalled on Friday afternoon, after qualifying the Honda second for this weekend’s doubleheader. “He called back half an hour later and said he couldn’t find any parts, but he did have this bike available if I could pick it up.
“I didn’t panic [about his primary bike]. There’s a bunch of guys here in the paddock who are always willing to help out, so worst case I thought I’d be able to put the bike back together. But instead of stressing about that bike it’s nice to have the Honda here and focus on that.”
Daley didn’t take long to get accustomed to the CBR600RR, and has entered the Inside Motorcycles Amateur Sport Bike class to get some additional laps at CTMP.
“I’ve never been on a 600 before but it’s comfortable to ride,” he said.
Indeed, Daley has hardly skipped a beat since getting on board the Honda. In addition to setting the second best time in the Amateur Superbike class – despite giving away considerable horsepower to the 1000cc bikes in the field – he was also second quickest in Amateur Sport Bike qualifying.
Daley has enjoyed a breakout year this season after a frustrating 2011 campaign. He looked set to be a contender for the Amateur Superbike crown after qualifying second and finishing fifth at the season opener at Circuit ICAR on his Ducati 749 and then qualifying on pole for the following event at Shannonville Motorsport Park.
But in the race an engine failure led to a crash that left Daley with a broken hand and an expensive rebuild, putting an end to his season.
“It was a financial decision,” he explained on Friday. “I really liked that bike but I spent a lot of money on it. Looking back I may have made a mistake and put too many expectations on myself. I don’t have that much bike racing experience, 2011 was my first full year of racing. It just wasn’t in the cards for me.”
A year older and wiser Daley has shown great maturity this season. After winning the damp season opener at Shannonville he has kept an eye on the championship, perhaps resisting the urge to push for victories when a podium finish would be sufficient.
“When you win the first race everything after that becomes thinking about the championship,” he pointed out. “It would be nice to win more than just one round but getting on the podium every round has been a bigger achievement, I think.”