Bike Week racing still important
March 29, 2004
Filed under Features
The crowd at bike week in Daytona seemed younger this year.
For one week each year, Daytona Beach loves motorcyclists. This year, an estimated 500,000 bikers enjoyed great weather during one of the safest and more relaxed Bike Weeks in recent years. And officials estimate that close to $750 million was pumped into the local economy.
The reason for Bike Week in the first place was to enjoy racing, and that still is important. Bike Week main event races were moved up from Sunday to Saturday this year. Many riders who in past years would have missed those events in order to make it home for work on Monday got a chance to see the AMA season openers.
Both 600cc Supersport and 1000cc Superbike racing brought all the factory teams out to show what their new machines can do. Track records were set and there were crashes, but no serious injuries.
Climbing the winner’s podium twice during the AHRMA races was Barrett Long, carrying on a family tradition as the third-generation rider to race at Daytona. Barrett’s grandfather, John Long, raced Daytona in the 1940s and ’50s when half the track ran down the beach on the sand, and the start-finish line was on city streets.
Barrett’s father, also named John, also is a famous racer who dominated tracks throughout the world during the ’70s. psb