2012 Daytona Bike Week Report
MonsoonCross returns, H-D takes back Beach Street, History made at the 200
Upon arrival in Florida this year, I found the weather fouling up the first weekend’s energy, but after shaking loose the early wave of attendees, the poles reversed, the winds shifted back to their usual jet stream and the sunny skies and famous Florida warmth (for outsiders) came back in aces. By early Friday, traffic was thickening up with trailer bikes, extended swingarms, custom customs, and the party was in the streets again, quite literally on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, throughout the week, the usual plethora of biker games and entertainment was happening, as it does twice a year.
Round 10 of the AMA Supercross series didn’t disappoint on the first Saturday with a torrential event – maybe they should rebrand the “M” in MX to Monsoon. Riders of every brand crossed the finish line dressed head to toe in the same earthen color, mud. The Daytona stage almost never disappoints, unless you sat in the rain all day waiting for the race to begin. But that’s another issue; buy an umbrella!
Sunday was the Gloomy Gus day of the week for sure, forget it even happened, I was jetlagged from a hectic week and accidentally slept through much of the day’s light... there was no sunshine. Many apologies were necessary. Next.
Hopping on a new horse, Monday brought a new week and new hope for Bike Week. And our wheels were in motion finding bikes, babes and builds. Much of the day was spent warming up to the vendors, poking around for new products, seeing old friends, shaking hands and gearing up for the madness that was sure to come later in the week. Tuesday was a light workload day, but we were able to pick up some test bikes and get to work wading through the grunt work of testing and photographing some new machines… somebody has to do it!
Wednesday was hump day and the energy was on! More chrome rolled through the streets and Harley-Davidson took over Beach Street with a ride-in bike show and concert. On the mainland coastal area, between Main Street and the Daytona International Speedway, is Beach Street, once home to Bruce Rossmeyer’s original store (before departing and attracting attention to his newer creation, Destination Daytona) and a growing array of vendors of any size – from Harley-Davidson to pop-up tents with cheapo sunglasses. Growing each year, until this one, the west side of Beach Street was under construction and lacked the usual “other Main Street” feeling. Harley, however, stepped up the day with a massive bike show and one-day concert stage, parked right in the middle of the street. Come nightfall, police sirens rang out, cars skidded to a stop and the Blues Brothers launched from the cars to take the stage and rock out the crowd with some old-fashioned rhythm and blues… full Jake and Elwood style! This was a great show to launch off the second half of Bike Week.
Thursday was highlighted by new details from Motus. You might recall last year’s Daytona unveiling of the American-built sport touring machines. All new machines, engines and finally a year later we’re graced with the production run details.
Come Friday there’s simply too many parties for just one human being to consume. Having to decide between flat track racing at DIS, a Molly Hatchet concert at Hogs on the Hill, peak night of the rolling bike show that is Main Street, and a hundred small block parties and local hangouts, keeping it low key and safe for the attendees was paramount… second to beer, of course!
This year’s second weekend comes later than usual and is combined with La Die de la San Patricia, or more commonly known, St. Patrick’s Day. And you thought the freaks only came out at night? While I thought Saturday night was going to be like having a full moon party on New Year’s Eve, in the end the crowd was festive and green, but not nearly as raucous as I thought they would be. Perhaps many went home after that historic Daytona 200 win by Elena Meyers. I went to the 40th anniversary of the Rat’s Hole Show looking for beautiful things… the show did not disappoint!
Alas, on Sunday morning it was time to pack it up and head back west where it’s colder than it is in the Northeast… what the hell?!
Be sure to check out our photo gallery to see everything you missed.