The Fun-filled Daytona 200 and Bike Week
The Daytona 200 motorcycle race is held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA. This 68-lap, 200 mile (322 kilometer) motorcycle race is set to take place on 8 March 2008 as part of the Daytona Bike Week. This 10 day event that draws motorcycle enthusiasts from far and wide, will start on 29 February with a schedule jam-packed full of entertainment and excitement carrying on through to 9 March 2008.
This will be the 67th time that the Daytona 200 will take place and the event continues to grow in popularity. Crowds of up to 500,000 gather to enjoy the company of fellow bikers and the revelry which includes motorcycle races, concerts and virtually non-stop street festivals and parties.
The Daytona 200 has a long history which began on 24 January 1937, when the inaugural race took place on a beach and road course stretching over a distance of 3.2 miles just south of Daytona Beach. Ed Kretz of Monterey Park, California, riding an American manufactured Indian motorcycle at an average speed of about 73 miles per hour, was the first winner of the Daytona 200 and he was presented with the City of Daytona Beach trophy. The race continued on an annual basis until it was interrupted in 1942 by the rationing of fuel and lack of key engine components brought about by World War II. Despite the racing event being called off, bikers still gathered for an unofficial party which became Bike Week. When the Daytona 200 resumed in 1948 the race featured a record of 176 competitors. Due to beach development, the race was moved further south onto a circuit measuring 4.1 miles and in 1961 the Daytona 200 moved to the Daytona International Speedway – a popular auto racing venue.
Over time the Daytona 200 and Bike Week became a 10 day festival with hundreds of events taking place throughout Volusia County for the enjoyment of the hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from far and wide. Numerous camping facilities are made available and food vendors of every description make sure the crowds are well fed. The events include an invitation for bikers to “Ride the Loop” a popular 22 mile trail that winds through some of Florida’s most beautiful countryside.
The Daytona 200 is considered by many to be the motorcycle event of the year and, judging by the efforts put in by organizers and popularity of previous events, the 2008 Daytona 200 and Bike Week will prove to be a memorable experience.