You meet all kinds of people on Main St. during Bike Week. Gator poses with his Cow-asaki, a motorcycle covered in cow hide and bones he salvaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita.
Before long, motorcyclists around the country will be unhooking trickle chargers, checking fuel levels, slapping on new tires and polishing up chrome in preparation for the ride down to Florida. Daytona Bike Week 2012 will be here before you know it as the annual biker bash heads into its 71st anniversary. Daytona Beach Bike Week not only kicks off the motorcycle rally season, it signals the beginning of the motorcycle racing season, too, with GNCC, AMA Pro Road Racing and Flat Track all prepared to start their season, highlighted by the running of the Daytona 200. Who will be this year’s Jason DiSalvo, the surprise winner from last year? Can’t wait for the flag to drop.
Bikers have been flocking to the white sandy beaches of Daytona since January 24, 1937, the date of the inaugural running of the Daytona 200. The first course ran about a mile and a half up the beach before hitting a banked quarter-mile turn made of sand. Then it was on to the paved road for the dash back south to another big banked sand turn. Ed Kretz etched his name in the record books as the first winner of the Daytona 200, averaging 73.34 mph on an Indian to beat out 119 other riders. And the rest, as they say, is history as the race has only grown in magnitude and prestige. And even though the last time they raced on the beach was 1960, you can still take your motorcycle out on the sand for a leisurely cruise.
If you hadn’t heard by now, Bike Week 2012 got pushed back a week this year, so maybe we’ll get some of that killer sunshine that always seems to show up the day bikers are leaving and the spring breakers are coming in. Which brings up the question, did organizers think about the fact that spring break and Bike Week would overlap before moving the event back a week? Is the city prepared for both events happening at the same time? Will we see in an increase in confrontations between drunk spring breakers and bikers which will result in a heightened police presence this year? We’ll find out the answers to these questions soon.
Regardless, Daytona Beach has the resources to easily accommodate everyone and the allure of sunny riding weather and beautiful beaches should bring about a healthy turnout for this year’s Bike Week. On that note, we wanted to help you plan out your schedule by providing this helpful guide, including race schedules, events, and things to do. Seeing how there’s so much to see and do, the list is by no means all-inclusive, but it provides a good outline to start with. Apologies to those we missed on our list, but we encourage anybody who would like to add cool events and happenings that we overlooked by entering a short description and date in the forum below the article. Help us flesh out our Bike Week 2012 Guide. We’re already lining up plenty of motorcycles to ride. See ya soon on the beach!
Bike Week 2012 Racing Schedule
GNCC – March 10 – 13 – Westgate River Ranch River Ranch, FL
Daytona Supercross – March 10, 2012 – Course designed by the GOAT, Ricky Carmichael
Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross Championship – Third annual event takes place Sunday, March 11 and Monday, March 12, 2012
AMA Pro Flat Track March 15-16, 2012 – Daytona Flat Track will host the AMA Pro Flat Track doubleheader on a quarter-mile lime rock track in the West Lot of DIS, located outside Turns 1 and 2.
March 15 – Daytona Short Track I
March 16 – Daytona Short Track II
Daytona 200 – March 17, 2012 – The Daytona 200 kicks off the AMA Pro Racing season with a 200-mile race on the banks of the world famous Daytona International Speedway as America’s top motorcycle stars battle it out.
Fri. March 16 – AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Supersport Race 1
Fri. March 16 – AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Race 1
Sat. March 17 – AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Race 2
Sat. March 17 – AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Daytona 200
Sat. March 17 – AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com SuperSport Race 2
Sat. March 17 – AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series
(R) The AMA Pro Flat Track season kicks off in Daytona Beach. (M) A bunch of rowdies party it up at the Dog Pound. (R) The Broken Spoke Saloon provides a circus-like atmosphere for bikers.
Bike Week 2012 Events – Things to do, Places to go
Destination Daytona – Bruce Rossmeyer’s spirit lives on at the “World’s Largest Harley-Davidson Dealership.” Destination Daytona is a mini-rally within the rally. It goes above and beyond your typical dealership with a hotel, restaurants, the Saints & Sinners Pub, a tattoo parlor, a J&P Cycles shop and more all on-premise. Then you get a host of top-brand vendors which set up shop there, too. There’s always plenty of live music, food vendors, special appearances by the Budweiser Clydesdales, and a Mardi Gras-themed beer garden.
They’ve also set up the new Museum Store at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Original Daytona Harley-Davidson on Beach Street in downtown Daytona Beach. The museum and store has memorabilia from Bruce Rossmeyer’s personal collection along with historic Harley-Davidson items in its variety of displays.
Main Street – Also known as party central, this is the place to be if you’ve got a hot ride to show off or to go for people watching. This is not for those who don’t like to bump friendly shoulders, because it gets so packed at times you can barely walk down the street. But at any given time there’s a thousand motorcycles lining the streets, the smell of grilling
brisket and sausages fills the air, and music and laughter spills out of every venue, from the fun at Froggy’s to rockin’ and rollin’ at the Boot Hill Saloon. It’s also the site of several industry parties, from the annual Biker Fusion Party at the Dog House which raises money for Soldiers Angels to Victory Bike Night at Dirty Harry’s, this year featuring the Big Engine Band performing on Tuesday, March 13 at 9:30 p.m.
Broken Spoke Saloon – This is a great place to stop by after hitting up Destination Daytona since you’re already out on Hwy 1 in Ormond Beach. The Broken Spoke Saloon is a Bike Week institution as the party rages there nightly. In the past, the place has rocked with events like the S&S Smokeout and Baker Burnouts. Killer tribute bands tear it up on stage nightly, several magazines generally hold parties and bike shows there and the biker-themed decor of the bar has to be seen to be appreciated. Though the Spoke didn’t have its full schedule posted yet, it did list the Miss G-String International Bikini Contest will be taking place Thursday, March 15.
Iron Horse Saloon – Home of the Moonshine Campground, you can pitch a tent and stumble out to the action. Another Daytona staple that’s out on Hwy 1 just down the road from the Broken Spoke. In fact, you can easily walk from one to the other, just be careful because you are out on a busy highway. The scene here mirrors the Spoke, with live music nightly to go along with plenty of general biker rowdiness.
Limpnickie Lot at the Stone Edge Skatepark – If you’re into cool rat rods, creative customs, and quality hand-crafted parts forged in small US shops and garages, then check out the collection of custom bike builders and artisans of the Limpnickie Lot. Billed as the “Next Generation Builders,” the Limpnickie crew is a group of predominantly young, talented
The Limpnickie Lot is set up at the StoneEdge Skate Park and offers an alternative to the standard rally fare. You’ll find the work of many of the Limpnickie builders at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Chopper Show.
bikers who work hard, ride hard, and party even harder. They provide a fresh alternative to the standard rally vibe, with events like kick-starting contests, paint ball wars and freestyle skateboarding all with the ambience of punk and rockabilly blaring in the background. The collective also puts together benefits for local charities in the towns where they meet, from kids in Daytona Beach to tribes around Sturgis.
Sopotnick’s Cabbage Patch Bar – The home of Bike Week’s infamous “coleslaw wrestling” contests, Sopotnick’s has that old school, anything goes type of biker flair to it. On days it holds coleslaw wrestling matches, you can’t get near this place. The Cabbage Patch Bar has earned its reputation by dutifully hosting bikers for years and years. Vendors, music, camping, and partying hard all are part of Sopotnick’s mystique.
Harley-Davidson MDA Women’s Ride Daytona – Tuesday, March 13 –
Women motorcyclists from around the country will gather to raise money for a good cause during this fifth annual event. Riders will meet at Bruce Rossmeyer’s on Beach Street in the morning to make the run to Destination Daytona. To participate, riders need to make a minimum contribution of $25 to the MDA by March 13, 2012. Riders who collect more than that are eligible for special recognition and prizes, including a limited edition Harley-Davidson MDA Women’s Ride sterling silver charm for ladies who raise $600 or more. Even though it says it’s a Harley-Davidson MDA ride, all makes of motorcycles are invited to participate. The event has raised over $179,000 so far in support of MDA summer camps and programs.
Ride the Loop – When the traffic around Main Street and Daytona International Speedway begins to grind on you, get away from it all with a peaceful spin on “The Loop.” Take John Anderson Drive in Ormond Beach past the ritzy houses and you’re soon out of town under moss-draped trees in the midst of Florida’s verdant waterways. Old Dixie Highway will take you by Bulow Creek State Park through ancient oaks before a relaxing run on North Beach Street brings you back into town. You might just see a manatee along the way. Or a gator or two.
Riverfront Park – Riverfront Park hosts Harley-Davidson in addition to several other manufacturers, bike builders and vendors. Harley will have its H-D1 Factory Customization program on hand as well as interactive displays and its latest parts and accessories for fans of the Bar & Shield to check out. It’s a H.O.G. pin stop, site of the H-D Ride-In Custom Bike Show, and starting point of the MDA Women’s Ride and more.
Demo Rides at the Speedway – The beauty of Bike Week is not only can you see all the latest motorcycles all in one place, you can ride most of them, too. Just about all the top manufacturers will be set up at Daytona International Speedway, from cruiser kings Harley-Davidson, Victory and Triumph Motorcycles to sportbike kings like Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. Even riders curious about Can-Am’s three-wheeler can get a chance to actually ride the Spyder there.
(L) Motorcycle USA hosted a little party at the Blue Grotto. (M) How many other places can you enjoy the splendor of the beach from the seat of your motorcycle? (R) Bill Davidson and Willie G. work the crowd at the annual Harley-Davidson Ride-In Bike Show.
WyoTech 21st Annual Brute Horsepower Shootout – WyoTech 470 Destination Daytona Lane, Ormond Beach – The WyotTech Institute in Daytona Beach has been training tomorrow’s motorcycle technicians since January of 1972. The Daytona Beach campus has established itself as WyoTech’s Motorcycle Division, so what better place to hold a horsepower shootout. The school hosts plenty of events throughout the week with the annual Brute Horsepower Shootout a big draw. Stop on by to see who is Bike Week’s “King of the Dyno.”
Ride your bike on the beach – The number of places you can ride right on the beach is dwindling these days, but Daytona Beach is still one place you can take a leisurely ride over fine white sand. Pack a lunch, pull over and throw down a blanket to enjoy the sights and smells of salt water in the air and waves breaking on the beach. Riding on the beach is always a little nostalgic, too, considering they used to race on the sand back in the day.
The Speedway – If you’re going to Bike Week, a trip to Daytona International Speedway is a must. You can almost feel the history of this place just by entering its hallowed grounds. Host to the Daytona 200 and flat track races, the venue also has plenty of other cool events scheduled, including an AMA Pro Racing Fan Walk where you can meet your favorite racers and get an autograph from the riders of AMA Pro Racing on Pit Road. DIS also has a Spring Dash planned where everyday Joes like you and me get an opportunity to ride our motorcycles on the historic banks of Daytona International Speedway for a couple of parade laps. The annual Spring Dash charity ride raises money for the Disabled Veterans Foundation.
There’s plenty more, from standard rally fare like vendors and custom builder booths to Hooter’s hot wings and beer gardens. And as we mentioned before, just about every major motorcycle manufacturer sets up shop there, so you can see the latest 2012 motorcycles and take a demo ride. You can easily spend an entire day just checking out all the things Daytona International Speedway has to offer.
The Rat’s Hole celebrates its 40th anniversary, so expect the custom bike show to be bigger and badder than ever before.
Bike Week 2012 Bike Shows
Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show – Saturday, March 17 – If you only have a chance to check out one bike show in Daytona Beach, make it the Rat’s Hole. Big Daddy Rat held the first show almost 40 years ago, and the Rat’s Hole has become a Bike Week institution since. World class talent, and we do mean world class because Ted Smith usually flies in bike show winners from overseas to compete against their American counterparts. All held within the fun, friendly confines of the Daytona Lagoon.
Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Old School Chopper Show – Thursday, March 15 – Another long-standing Daytona tradition, Willie has been slingin’ ink in Ormond Beach since 1990 and over the course of the years has developed quite a few friends in the biker community. Willie’s Chopper Show attracts a huge crowd as garage builders and small shops usually fill the parking lot with rat bikes, rebuilt Harleys and unique homemade customs. Willie’s show is old school cool and has a throwback vibe to it. We like it. We like it a lot.
Harley-Davidson Ride-In Bike Show – Wednesday, March 14 – Willie G. usually presides over this annual event hosted by Harley-Davidson. See custom Harleys of all shapes and sizes, from vintage art deco models to turbo-charged V-Rods. It’s amazing to see the creativity Harley owners have.
Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show – March 14-17 – The final round of the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show will take place pitting winners of the previous 11 rounds against one another in a winner take all contest. Payouts are doubled and an automatic invite to the AMD World Championships of Custom Bike Building are on the line for this top-notch custom bike show. Check it out at the Ocean Center as the event is held in conjunction with the International Motorcycle Shows.