In the world of motorcycle racing, you constantly find yourself pushing the limits and going face to face with intense challenges. But in the small country of New Zealand, you’re limited in just how much racing you can get done, giving you the opportunity to travel the world and test your skill level at many different tracks. Rider Shane Richardson and his pit mechanic Seth Devereux packed up their suitcases and headed to “The World’s Most Famous Beach” for the 76th Annual Daytona 200. What seemed like “just another day at the office” to most, was anything but that to Shane and Seth. With no bike in their possession, no pit crew to wrench, and the race in just 5 days, they needed solutions, fast!
The team boarded the plane and headed to the states with high ambitions. Unfortunately, as soon as they landed, it seemed fate had another plan. Their rear shock went missing from their luggage. From that point on, everything that happened fell in line with those events. The team headed to Fort Lauderdale four days prior to the race to get a bike and to get the bike race ready. Shane and Seth were battling some serious motor issues, taking it in and out of the bike three separate times. After a a rebuild by Seth, the bike was dyno ready and running sweetly, ready to do the rest of the work at the track on Thursday. The team loaded up the bike and headed out with yet another road block. On the way to Daytona, the trailer carrying the bike blew two tires on the left side. Fate, right? Things didn’t get better from there, as once the truck was up and running, the other 2 tires on the right side blew. Just their luck…
With a stock bike, a ton of parts, and an anxious racer, the only thing left for Shane and Seth to find was a knowledgeable pit crew. What better place to search than on Facebook! That’s where we and a handful of others enter this story. TST Team Member Bryan, along with company owner Bart, and 2/3 of the Three Brothers Racing Team – Adam and Gabe, all came to the call for help. Also answering the call for the pit crew were Jon Burkett and Matt Marlowe. The team began to tear the stock bike completely down to the bare frame and motor. New forks went in along with a new rear shock, after market clip-ons, a quick fill gas tank, quick change axle kits, and a plethora of other race parts that would turn this stock machine into something that could compete.
The team was able to get the bike race ready just in time for the last qualifying session, ending up 11th on the grid. Taking into consideration just how much time was spent prepping the bike, this newly created makeshift pit crew had not been able to practice any pit stops. I’d like to think everyone from New Zealand is easygoing, friendly, and as calm as Seth and Shane but I honestly don’t understand how. Here is a team of two guys who packed up their stuff less than a week ago with the idea of running in the Daytona 200, and here we were MINUTES before the race and not a single pit stop was performed. In the words of Stuart Scott – Shane was as cool as the other side of the pillow.
Race time arrived and it was time to grid up. As long as no one goes down in the first turn, the pack will start to spread. Unfortunately, the race wasn’t that simple as 3 red flags resulted in 3 restarts. Luckily this allowed the crew to do some dry runs of the pit stops. Once the race started and things were moving, Shane was able to pass a few top notch riders and earned himself a 7th place spot by the end of the 2nd lap. By lap 20, the realization that it was almost time for the first pit stop came to everyone’s mind. The pit board went up and the team was ready! For a team who had nothing just 24 hours prior, the fact that this makeshift crew was able to get the first pit stop done in just 27 seconds was a huge achievement and produced a large sigh of relief. Shane was in 5th heading in to the pit, left the pit in 6th, and it started to look like the whole idea of racing and finishing the 200 in a top spot could actually happen.
Shortly thereafter, Shane dropped down to 7th place. He was still looking strong and had ample time to cover some ground and over take some riders. Three laps before our crew was expecting him, Shane rolled into the pits with his head hung low. The instant feeling of disappointment came over our team and we knew that was it. We had come to find out that the few laps prior to him calling it a day, Shane was running with a gearbox issue that resulted in 4th gear giving him a false neutral. He was shifting from 3rd into 5th and was losing positions and precious time. After a few laps of this, the entire gearbox went out and ended his race. Seeing Shane coast into the garage in neutral with his head down was the most heartbreaking moment of the weekend.
After all of the efforts of Shane, Seth, and the team, to see it all gone with less than a dozen laps to go was absolutely crushing. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, and yet the kiwis still managed to keep a smile on their face. These guys did something most would turn away from and they deserve a huge round of applause for their efforts. They came here with a mission, and although their backs were against the wall every step of the way, they kept on fighting and earned a victory in our hearts. We cannot give enough thanks to both Shane and Seth for allowing us to be a part of their journey and a part of their pit crew. We made new friends in the two of them and cannot wait for next year. If you are interested in following this adventure, be sure to head on over to their YouTube channel and go give them a like on Facebook and Instagram.
This has been Mark with TST and I’ll catch you guys at the next event. Ride safe!