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Daytona Bike Week starts today

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Daytona Bike Week, the year’s first major motorcycle rally for the US, starts today. And, even though it’s often panned as a get-together for posers, there’s still a decent amount of legitimate motorcycle entertainment running.

Daytona Bike Week runs in Daytona Beach, Florida. This is the 78th running of the world-famous rally, which actually runs through March 17.

Bike Week attracts plenty of motorcyclists who are much more interested in partying than actual hard riding, as the weather is often some of the best in the US for March, and the roads in Florida are mostly pretty straight. However, there are plenty of serious riders who attend the event as well (hey, just riding to Daytona can be a seriously adventurous trek, if you’re coming from a snowed-in part of the continent, and some people do it every year). There’s lots for them to do once there. Stuff like demo rides (many of the manufacturers have their new-for-2019 models on display, and out for test rides), camping (even right at the Speedway!), and of course, racing.

This year, Bike Week starts off with the Daytona Supercross event, running Saturday, March 9. If that’s not enough dirt bike action to satisfy you, you can also take in the Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross, runing Sunday-Monday; there’s also the inaugural Vintage Supercross, which runs Tuesday.

The Daytona TT flat track race runs Thursday, at the Daytona Speedway. This year, the organizers say the race is on a “one-of-a-kind race circuit re-engineered to feature a bigger, better and faster track design that features both the asphalt and dirt of the tri-oval.” Sounds interesting, although it’s not as if AMA flat track ever lacks for excitement.

Then, of course, there’s the Daytona 200, one of North America’s classic roadracing events. This year, it runs on Saturday, March 16. Alas, the Daytona 200 no longer features the baddest superbikes; the 57-lap race is now sanctioned by the ASRA, and runs supersport-class machines, as they found it difficult to find a superbike tire that would last the litre-class machines over the course of the whole race.

So, while it may not be ADV-centric, there’s still plenty of stuff for the committed motorcyclist to enjoy at Daytona over the next few days. If you get tired of it, rumour has it there’s actually some decent off-roading in Florida, as long as you don’t mind riding in sand. You can always escape the mullet-wearing leather daddies on V-twins by taking a rip through one of the nearby trail systems, although you want to do your homework before leaving town to try that.

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