On Jan. 24, 1937, the first running of the Daytona 200 took place on the hard sand of Daytona Beach, Fla. Since that race, won by AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Ed Kretz of Monterey Park, Calif., the annual event has grown into a motorcycling mecca, packed full of racing and recreational riding events.
This year, AMA-sanctioned events will be among the most popular Bike Week attractions, from amateur dirt-track racing to an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame celebration to AMA Supercross on the infield of Daytona International Speedway.
“Daytona Beach in early March is all things motorcycling,” said AMA Vice President of Operations Jeff Massey. “If it happens on motorcycles, it happens at Daytona Beach. I personally can’t wait for the unofficial start of riding season to kick off at what many consider the biggest motorcycling week of the year.”
Motorcycling’s history will take center stage on March 15 at the Yamaha AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Breakfast at Daytona, presented by Motul. The annual fundraising event for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, will be held at the Daytona 200 Club on the infield of Daytona International Speedway. This year, it will shine a spotlight on the Hall of Fame career of Scott Russell. Russell, who will be interviewed by noted race announcer Ben Cheatwood, will discuss his amazing five Daytona 200 wins as well as his championship-winning AMA and World Superbike career. Buy tickets and learn more at www.motorcyclemuseum.org.
One of the biggest rounds of the AMA Supercross Championship goes down March 9 at the Daytona Supercross by Honda, the 10th round of the series. Located on the infield of the hallowed grounds of Daytona International Speedway, the course features a varied layout with extended high-speed sections, massive jumps and a sand/dirt mix. Fans will be packed several deep along the fences to watch Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, Davi Millsaps, James Stewart and more race for glory as the 2013 winner of the Daytona Supercross by Honda. More info is at www.amasupercross.com.
Amateur competitors will get a shot at the Supercross course the following two days, March 10-11, at the Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross. Sanctioned by the AMA, and in partnership with MX Sports, the fourth annual event features two days of amateur racing at the same track that will showcase the best AMA Supercross racers in the world. Sign up to race at www.mxsports.com.
Off-road racers will get to experience their own history at the Alligator Enduro on March 14 in Favoretta, Fla. The Alligator Enduro has been thrilling both racers and fans for 63 years. Although the race isn’t always on the AMA National Enduro Championship Series calendar, it always draws a large contingent of pro riders — as well as weekend warriors who want to line up at the historic event. Find out more at www.daytonadirtriders.com.
Amateur dirt track kicks off just north of Daytona Beach in Savannah, Ga., which features an AMA All-Star dirt track on Oglethorpe Speedway’s half-mile on March 8 and an AMA Holeshot event and vintage national classes on March 9. On March 10-12, racing moves to Barberville, Fla., while March 10 will also feature an amateur short-track event on the Daytona Flat Track. The March 11-12 events will feature both AMA Holeshot points and racing in AMA vintage national classes. To contact the AMA about these events, see www.americanmotorcyclist.com/racing or call (614) 856-1900.
Amateur roadracing will also roll through Savannah, Ga., on March 9-10. The first round of the American Sportbike Racing Association’s AMA Featured Series will take place at Roebling Road Raceway. The ASRA Championship Series (www.asraracing.com) includes both amateur and expert competition in Thunderbike, SportBike and SuperStock classes.
Of course, Bike Week is not just about racing. Road riders make up the largest contingent at the annual rally. One place they’ll certainly congregate is at the Alligator Road Tour on March 13. This AMA-sanctioned ride is put on by the Daytona 200 M/C. The club, founded in 1943, is one of the oldest and most active in the state, and the ride features 150-200 miles of beautiful country roads, as well as a mystery destination for lunch. Registration is from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Daytona 200 Motorcycle Club. More info is available at www.daytona200mc.com.
For a dirtier time on two wheels, there’s the Cross-Florida Adventure Ride. This ride is part of the AMA Husqvarna National Dual Sport Series and the AMA Yamaha Super Ténéré Adventure Riding Series. The March 16-17 ride features some of the best back roads and optional trail sections crossing the peninsula. Find out more at www.dixiedualsport.com.
Another highlight for road riders is the Annual Iron Butt Association Party in Jacksonville, Fla. The event, March 13-14, also features the Battlefield 1000, an endurance road ride around Georgia and Florida. See www.ironbutt.com/daytona/ for more info.
Finally, the ever-popular March 16 Community Appreciation Parade, sponsored by the Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce, will stage at the south parking lot of the Ocean Center beginning at 7 a.m. The parade is expected to feature hundreds of bikes as it rides from the Ocean Center to Daytona International Speedway.
For more on the Community Appreciation Parade, as well as a comprehensive list of all the two-wheeled excitement packed into Daytona Beach Bike Week, check out the official Bike Week calendar at www.daytonachamber.com.