In 1942, the Daytona 200
was discontinued because of World War II. Its sanctioning body , the
American Motorcycling Association (AMA) solemnly noted it was “in
the interests of national defense” that the event was canceled. With
the war, came a general rationing of fuel, tires and key engine
components. Even though the racing event was “officially” called
off, people still showed up for an “unofficial” party called Bike
February 24, 1947, the famous motorcycle race resumed and was now
promoted by the legendary Bill France. Newspaper stories of the
period recount that the city fathers asked townsfolk to open their
homes to the visiting motorcyclists because all hotel rooms and
camping areas were filled to capacity. The 1947 Daytona 200
featured a record 176 riders.
In 1948, a new beach - road course
was used because of developments along the beach. Organizers were
forced to move the event further south, towards Ponce Inlet. The new
circuit measured 4.1 miles. The last Daytona 200 to be held
on the beach - road course took place in 1960. In 1961, the famous
race was moved to the Daytona International Speedway.
Bike Week has always had a flavor
of its own. Some time after the war, the event began to take on a
rugged edge. While the motorcycle races on the beach were organized,
events surrounding the race were not. As time passed, locals became
afraid of the visitors and law enforcement officers and city
officials were less than enthusiastic about what some termed an
“invasion”. Relations between the Bikers and law enforcement
officials continued to worsen. When things appeared to be at their
worst (after the 1986 event), a special task force was organized by
the city in cooperation with the local chamber of commerce to
improve relations and change the magnitude and scope of the event.
Today Bike Week has transformed
into a 10-day festival that expands throughout Volusia County. There
are hundreds of events for motorcycle enthusiasts to enjoy.
Bike Week now welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors annually
and is enjoyed by locals and motorcycle enthusiasts world wide.