As we previously noted, Kawasaki organized a “Bike Nite in the Daylite” on Friday, March 14th at the Daytona Int’l Speedway. With around 40 bikes assembled for the four prize category, all those involved with the show felt like it was a success.
This year marked the first time that the Most Unique Bike category was included in the mix. In previous years, the folks at Kawasaki noticed there were many bikes that didn’t fit the Best Cruiser, Best Sportbike, or Best Vintage Bike classes. So, they approached MO to see if we’d be interested in being a sponsor. Since we feel MO readers are unique among motorcyclists, we immediately signed up for the duty.
The entries in the Most Unique category ranged from KZs of various sizes to a ER–6N to a Concours to even a KLX250 in motard trim. The selection of the category winner was left to the folks in attendance who then submitted their ballots to Kawasaki reps. At stake was a 16 GB iPad and a cool trophy created by hand by Kawasaki employees. The Best in Show (with its trophy and $500 MasterCard debit card) would then be selected from the category winners by four judges from Cycle News, MO, Motorcycle Cruiser, and Sportbikes Inc. Additionally, MO partnered to offer our “Most Unique” category winner a free set of METZELER or Pirelli tires. Not bad, eh?
Although there were several impressive bikes on display, the beautifully simple 1977 KZ1000 drag bike owned by Billy Ray Bryant stole the thunder of the other unique contestants. According to Bryant, the KZ was drag raced for many years prior to his converting it back to a street bike. In full race trim, the KZ ran a best 1/8 mile time of 5.75 second at 125 mph. Over the course of a year, Bryant spent a total of 45 days on machining alone. When making the bike street ready, the ride height had to be raised from 2 in. ground clearance to 5 in. A charging system had to be installed while the wiring harness to send the power to the starter and lights had to be fabricated. Said Bryant, “I’m having more fun with it now than I ever did drag racing it.”
If winning Best Unique Bike wasn’t enough, Bryant also took home the Best in Show trophy. The discussion among the four judges was remarkably simple. All had two bikes that they thought were worthy of the Best of Show award, and one of those two selected by every judge was Bryant’s 1977 KZ 1000. He won by unanimous decision! Since Bryant started showing his KZ its tally is a total of 16 trophies – including Best in Show at the Cabbage Patch earlier in the week. Clearly all of Bryant’s effort has paid off.
Each of the other category winners were standouts in their own way. We hope that Kawasaki continues to host the Bike Nite in the Daylight show at Bike Week next year. We’re sure that the gauntlet has been thrown down and even more bikes will be on display next year.