Hard as nails
We are back from our annual Daytona holiday, slightly jet-lagged and I wish I could still feel that warm Florida sunshine on my back, but what a great trip it turned out to be.
However, this visit was one with a twist in the tale. Yes, we got all the elements that I waxed lyrical about in my last column – the weather, the fantastic madness of Main Street Daytona, the atmosphere of the banked stadium and the friendly faces at the Hilton Cocoa Beach – I’ve asked editor Tony if he’ll pick up the tab for my bar bill, but unfortunately he declined.
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Sadly though, we didn’t get to meet up with Don Emde at the Daytona Monument celebration, as he had to cancel his trip due to pressure of work, but we did get to catch up with friends old and new at the best-attended event we’ve ever seen. Our American cousins really know how to celebrate great racers old and current.
That twist in the tale? A name familiar to many of the classic racing family around the world, Pat Mooney, was entered in the Daytona 200 – it’s always good to have a friend to shout for, so we were really looking forward to catching up with him. However, I thought all chances of Pat racing 56 laps of Daytona had gone out of the window when he had a massive race crash just three weeks before qualifying.
A little finger all but ripped off and a huge hole in a knee would have put most of us to bed, but not Pat! He somehow passed fit to race, qualified on row 10 (there are 23 rows and the pole man is 16 years old) and finished the race 14th (from 60 starters) on Michael Barnes’ Yamaha R6. Oh, and I forgot to mention, Pat is 59 years old!
You will be able to read the full story of Pat’s amazing feat in a future issue of Classic Racer magazine.