It's that time of year again, folks. One of the biggest biker blowouts of the year, Bike Week in Daytona Beach, kicks off this weekend for 10 days of fun in the Florida sun.
The time is nigh. The exodus has begun. The spring pilgrimage of motorcyclists to the white sandy beaches of Daytona Beach is in full motion as it’s time to kick start the rally season. Daytona has been the honorable host of Bike Week for 71 years now. With the first signs of spring announcing their arrival, bikers are itchin’ to ride. Bike Week beckons. It motivates us and gives us a reason to get our motorcycles prepped and ready for another riding season. As if we needed much motivation!
First off, though, it feels a bit weird not to be there already. Bike Week is usually going strong right about now, but as we reported in our Bike Week 2012 Pushed Back a Week
article, the event is starting a little later this year so Daytona International Speedway has enough time to convert the track from cars to motorcycles. NASCAR bumped its opening race, the Daytona 500, back a week, starting this domino effect. No worries. Hopefully this equates to even better riding weather.
Motorcycle USA has done its damnedest to keep readers up to speed about what’s going on at this year’s rally, starting by providing a Daytona Bike Week 2012 Schedule
. We’ve also been pushing stories to our Daytona Bike Week 2012
page, from the fact that popular motorcycle rally host Jay Allen will be utilizing his talents at the Boot Hill Saloon
this year (after being the amicable host of the Broken Spoke Saloon forever), to Paul Jr. of American Choppers
signing autographs at the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show. Yesterday we announced we’re helping throw a 40th Anniversary Bash with the Rat’s Hole at Harley Crossing on Thursday night, March 15 (Rat’s Hole Turns 40! 2012 Bike Show and Party
). The Rat’s Hole is the most prestigious bike show held during Bike Week, and Ted Smith and the Rat’s Hole gang have plenty of fun stuff planned, from a V8 parade to the big anniversary party to a Café Racer Showdown. Check out the article to get all the details and come join the party Thursday night.
In addition to the Rat’s Hole Anniversary Bash, Motorcycle USA has more big plans during Bike Week. We’re excited that our friend and test rider, Frankie Garcia, is racing the Daytona 200. Frankie is an ambitious up-and-comer who helps us out in countless ways, from running around LA picking up and dropping off bikes to helping run the dyno to providing valuable input during bike tests. Plus he rides with controlled abandon, be it motocross, flat track or road racing. We’re proud that he’s getting an opportunity to compete in the Daytona 200 on a Tuned Industries/AXO-backed Yamaha R6. We hear a Motorcycle USA sticker might make it on that R6 somewhere, too. We’ll be pulling hard for Frankie come race day and it will be fun to watch him run with the big dogs.
A bikini contest or two has been known to break out during Bike Week.
Motorcycle USA’s Justin Dawes heads out tomorrow for the press launch of the 2012 Yamaha WR450F
. J-Dawg has a full Bike Week schedule, too. He’ll start out at the Westgate River Ranch for the press launch where he’ll get a crack at riding the enduro motorcycle around the sandy, palmetto lined trails. Saturday night he gets to catch the Daytona Supercross race on the Ricky Carmichael designed course. After that, it’s time for some GNCC racing, both as a spectator and a competitor. Part of the plan for testing out the WR450F is racing it in the opening round of the GNCC series. After that, Justin will be hitting up Daytona Beach so he can catch Motus Motorcycles press conference as the company reveals its 2012 production plans, pricing and specs on its MST V4 Sport Tourer. We’ve heard nothing but good things about the American-made sport-touring motorcycle and would love to sample its qualities ourselves in the future. Then Dawes is off to the Speedway for the Daytona 200 where he’ll be capturing Frankie’s exploits through the lenses of his cameras.
On the cruiser front, we’ll be busy. Very busy. We’ve got three motorcycles to test while we’re there. Sunday we pick up the new 2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
for a first ride article. The next day, we’re meeting up with the folks from V8 Choppers for another test. We’ve never ridden a motorcycle strapped to a V8 engine before, but hell, if it’s got two wheels and an engine, we’ll ride it. Should be interesting, to say the least. Tuesday we pick up Harley’s new Sportster chopper, the 2012 Seventy-Two
, to rumble around Daytona Beach on for the next couple of days. Finally, Friday night
Whether you're cruisin' or flat trackin' there's something going on for all motorcyclists at Bike Week, regardless of what style of riding you like to do.
we’re hoping to hop on a 2012 Ducati Diavel just for fun and a little change of pace. So many motorcycles, so little time!
In between all that, we intend on hitting a few bike shows, too. The Harley-Davidson Ride-In Show on Wednesday always has a great turnout. We’re thinking about hanging out afterward for the official H.O.G. Street Party on Beach Street after the show. Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Old School Chopper Show, one of our favorites, goes down Thursday, then the granddaddy of them all, the 40th Anniversary Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show takes place on Saturday. Right across the street from the Rat’s Hole in the Ocean Center, the finals of the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows will be taking place Saturday as well. The 12th and final round pits the winners of the 11 prior shows against one another, so there’s some top-shelf bikes entered in the show. We’ve been covering every round of the series as sponsors of the “People’s Choice” award and we’ll soon be giving away a custom 2011 Honda Fury
as part of our promotion of the show. The Daytona Beach Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show presents the last chance to get your name into the drawing for the Fury, so cast your vote in the “People’s Choice” category to get in on the giveaway.
And it wouldn’t be a trip to Daytona Beach without at least one trip to Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona, a night or two at the Broken Spoke Saloon, and at least a few trips down Main Street. By the time it’s all over, we’ll be ready to collapse. Sleep is overrated, anyways. So “Climb On” with Motorcycle USA next week as we start bringing you reports from the scene. Hopefully we’ll see plenty of you there, too, so be sure to come party with us at the Harley Crossing Thursday night. It’s right across the street from Destination Daytona. And it’s free! See ya there.