It’s that time of the year again, folks. One of the biggest and best biker blowouts of the year, Bike Week in Daytona, is set to kick off this weekend for ten days of fun in the Florida sun.
The Cabbage Patch has spread its blue plastic sheets and oiled up the green slaw, beer girls have picked out their best star-shaped pasties, and the bars along Main Street have stocked coolers and backrooms with enough beer and booze to keep a few hundred thousand bikers comfortably numb for weeks. Which can mean only one thing – it’s Bike Week, baby. And in a couple of days, the beaches, streets, hotels, and sidewalks of Daytona will be filled to capacity as over a half-million people converge on this Atlantic resort destination for some serious fun in the sun.
Who would have thought 67 years ago that what started out as a small group of motorcycle riders wanting to race on the beaches of Daytona would metamorphose into the multi-million dollar revenue-generating giant of the motorcycle industry it is today? And while racing is still at the root of the event, Bike Week has become so much more. For many Eastern Seaborders, Northerners, and Pacific Northwesterners, it’s a chance to soak in some much-needed sunshine. It gives us a reason to fill the oil pan back up, to take our bikes off the tender, and to polish the chrome to a lustrous shine again. For many, Daytona is the first reason to kick start the riding season. Gotta love the magical qualities of that Florida sunshine.
Did I mention that Daytona is all about race action? You name it, Bike Week’s got it. I mean, where else can you go and catch AMA Flat Track action one day, go watch AHRMA’s historic motorcycles chug around Daytona International Raceway the next day, see Ryan Villopoto, Chad Reed and company show their berm-busting skills in AMA Supercross on a Friday night and wake up the next day to see Matt Mladin, Ben Spies, and Neil Hodgson dice it up in AMA Superbike action? This list doesn’t even include the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series or the 67th running of the prestigious Daytona 200. Talk about having it going on. From February 29 to March 8, it doesn’t get any better for motorcycle race fans. Best part is, tickets are still available. Check out www.racetickets.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP to get hooked up with the hottest tickets in town.
One of the first things on Motorcycle USA’s agenda is to head over to the Ocean Center to see what’s going on with the Harley-Davidson Road Tour. Fans of The Motor Company are always out in force at Daytona, and this year will be no exception. Maybe we can catch a ride on Harley-Davidson’s newest softail, the Crossbones, as the Milwaukee manufacturer plans on having a full contingent of 2008 bikes available daily for demo rides. Or maybe we’ll get a chance to check out the Sportster tribute at the Harley-Davidson Traveling Museum, or watch the daredevil riders of B.O.S.S., the Ball of Steel Stunt Show. Of course, if the fine femme fatales of The Purrfect Angelz are on stage, then work is going to come to a standstill as we take a break and watch the talented troupe do its thing.
Out of all the manufacturers, Harley-Davidson stands out as being one of the frontrunners who embraces female riders, and The Motor Company has designated Tuesday, March 4 as its official Women’s Day, with a slew of activities planned at the Ocean Center.
Harley-Davidson has designated Tuesday, March 4 as its day to celebrate women riders. Women’s Day activities will be highlighted by the arrival of the winners of the Down to Daytona contest, who are riding down from Atlanta along with H-D’s Karen Davidson. They’ll arrive to a raucous Women’s Day welcome at the Harley-Davidson Festival Stage, and hang around for a full day of food and fun, demos and seminars that all cater to our sisters in the saddle.
It will be followed on Wednesday, March 5 by Harley-Davidson’s Ride-In Show. Be prepared to see the trickest, sickest Harleys out there. There will be 13 judging classes, ranging from Antique (1903 to 1988) bikes to VSRCs to Radical Customs. Each class has a $500 cash prize up for grabs, not to mention appreciation of all your creative customizing work by your peers and by the good people of The Motor Company. And while your bike might look cherry in the back of a trailer, this is a ride-in show, and judges will be looking for ride- and driveability. Aside from the upcoming 105th Anniversary Celebration The Motor Company has planned in August in Milwaukee, you won’t see a better collection of custom Harleys anywhere in the country than at the Daytona Ride-In Show.
And while H-D’s Ride-In Show will whet our appetite for customs, the main custom building course will be provided by Ted Smith and the crew of the Rat’s Hole. Heading into its 36th year, the Rat’s Hole has three days of shows planned, starting with Metric Madness on Thursday, March 6. Friday’s main event will be for Rat Rods and Old School Bobbers, followed up on Saturday by the World Famous Chopper Show. Smith had a custom Hayabusa built for Rat’s Hole last year by Nick Anglada’s crew at Custom Sportbike Concepts and recognizes the fact that custom metrics are here to stay with the creation of the new Metric Madness day. And while a metric showcase will be a good draw, it doesn’t get any better than the World Famous Chopper Show which will display some of the best custom work you’ll find anywhere.
If we’re lucky, we plan on joining custom bike builders Arlen Ness and Russell Mitchell for the 20th annual Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum’s breakfast Friday, March 7 at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort. Since admission is going for $49 a pop, the Hilton better be putting out the serious spread. But the proceeds do benefit the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, so the money is going to a good cause. Maybe we can get Ness to scratch his signature on a photo for us during the autograph session planned after breakfast.
We’ll also try to head over to the LimpNickie Lot to visit some local Pacific Northwest boys from Nash Motorcycle Company. Located at the Stone Edge Skate Park off Ridgway, Nash will be joined by a host of custom builders, including Led Sled Customs, French Kiss Customs, Blings Cycles, Bare Knuckle Choppers and our buddies the Detroit Bros. They’ve got pro skateboard demos and live music planned and it should be a refreshing break from the pandemonium of Main Street. Maybe we can borrow a board so we bust our tails trying to relive our youth.
The Rat’s Hole will be holding its 36th annual custom bike show and has expanded its lineup to include its first-ever competition for metrics on Thursday, March 6.
We do have a visit to the Seminole Hard Rock Roadhouse on our agenda. The Roadhouse will have the work of four premier custom builders on display, including Billy Lane of Choppers, Inc., Paul Cox of Paul Cox Industries, Russell Mitchell of Excile Cycles and the debut of Love Hate Choppers, featuring Ami James of Miami Ink and Marlowe B of Marlowe B Customs. The ever-popular motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter will be there with a large display of his work on hand, live music will fill the venue at all times, hot chicks will be in abundance for bikini contests in addition to the Hog Wild Dancers and the Hard Rock girls.
On Tuesday night, we’ve accepted an invite to the Biker Fusion party at the Seminole Hard Rock Roadhouse. The industry-only party will raise money for Soldiers Angels, a group that is dedicated to providing comfort and care to soldiers and their families. Proceeds from the event will fund a Convoy Support Center in Iraq. The party will be hosted by Billy Lane and Paul Cox, and a long list of other well-known custom builders like Mitchell, Marlowe B, Kim Suter, Eddie Trotta and Scott Webster will be hanging out. We look forward to the opportunity to meet some of the hottest names in the custom building biz, not to mention enjoying plenty of good grub, drinking some cold Bud, and visiting the P.I.N.K. Vodka Bar for a martini or two. Sounds like a good night for a cab ride home.
Though we missed out on last year’s festivities, Motorcycle USA will be on the front lines of the action this year, so log in next week and look for our daily reports and lots of gratuitous shots of bikini-clad babes, bikes, and shots from the scene. We’re kicking off the week Monday as the guest of Pirelli, who is introducing a performance-based tire for the V-Twin Market. This includes a ride on Tuesday to give the tires a couple of hours of road testing Pirelli’s performance claims. It culminates with lunch and a tour at the Kennedy Space Center, so we can’t think of a much better way to get our party started. We’ve also got a dinner invite from our friends at BMW Motorrad later in the week, where they’ll have all their 2008 bikes on hand. I haven’t seen the HP2 Sport up close yet, so hopefully I’ll get my first good look at it. Regardless, BMW events are always top-notch affairs, so who are we to turn down an invite from our gracious hosts?
Sun, fun, and buns (I’ve never seen a place where ass-less chaps get more exposure) the 67th Annual Daytona Bike Week ought to be just the elixir for the winter time blues. The dynamic duo of Bryan Harley and Adam Waheed will be bringing you as much action as they can get themselves in to. Our buddy and MCUSA’s Off Road Editor, JC Hilderbrand is heading south as well and plans on competing in some GNCC action while he’s there. We’ll let you know how Hilde fares. If circumstances prevented you from making it there in person this year, sit back, log in next week, and live vicariously through Motorcycle USA’s daily reports and photo galleries as we work hard to bring the action to you.
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