Daytona Beach Bike Week
by House of Thunder USA
Daytona Beach Bike Week, also called Daytona Bike Week, is a motorcycle event and rally held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. Approximately 500,000 people make their way to the rally area for the 10-day event. The festivities include motorcycle racing, concerts, parties, and street festivals. The event is usually held on the first full week of March and contends with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as the most popular motorcycle rally in the United States.
The Daytona Beach Bike Week rally started as the Daytona 200 race on January 24, 1937. This first race was a 3.2 miles (5.1 km) beach and pavement course. It was won by Ed Kretz from California riding an Indian motorcycle with an average speed of 73.34 mph (118.03 km/h).
This yearly race took a break from 1942 to 1947 due to World War II. During the years off, an unofficial event was still taking place commonly called Bike Week.
In 1947 the official race resumed and gained in popularity. The event was then promoted by the late "Big Bill" France, co-founder of NASCAR, and the family business (now known as International Speedway Corporation) still promotes the 200 and the entire Bike Week races at Daytona International Speedway, including the wildly popular Daytona Supercross.
There have been a number of deaths at the festival due to rider accidents.