2012 Daytona Bike Week. Flash News And Postcards.

This year’s event has been pushed back one week later than normal, meaning hotter temperatures and bikers mingling with Spring Breakers on the beachside. Don’t know for sure how crowds compare to those of these last 2 years, but would bet on somewhat identical. The big difference I noticed all along the week is a more joyous atmosphere among both bikers and professionals present in Daytona. And we all now the reasons for this. US economy continues to inch up, consumer confidence in the U.S. held close to an almost four-year high last month as pessimism eased,  stock market equities are rising and labor market stabilized. Gasoline prices may be a concern but most visitors planned to attend this edition of Bike Week well before gas prices went up…

Intensive marketing and promotional events organized towards women are paying off and I never seen before so many women riding or straddling bikes at the demo displays of all big manufacturers. A lot of things have changed since 1915 when pionners like Avis and Effie Hotchkiss rode coast to coast. More than ever women are controlling their body, their career, their money and their lifestyle. When they don’t ride solo they love to celebrate their independent lifestyle in group rides almost all organized with a charity purpose in mind. This week, let by personalities Karen Davidson (daughter of Willie G. Davidson and Creative Director for Harley-Davidson Merchandise) and Cris Sommer Simmons (past year’s Motorcycle Cannonball Coast-to-Coast Endurance only American female competitor and best selling author), over 130 women rode the fifth annual Harley-Davidson MDA Women’s Ride to Rossmeyer’s Destinnation Daytona and raised more than $35,000 for MDA.
In Daytona, hot spots are still Main street, Beach Street, International Speedway Boulevard and inner field. At 290 North Beach Street, the original 1994 Harley-Davidson dealership of the late Bruce Rossmeyer (before he moved his headquarters to his Destination Daytona complex on U.S. 1 in Ormond Beach) is progressively turned into a museum and already features a re-creation of Bruce’s original office, a place where I met with him several times. The full Harley museum exhibit is set to open this summer. In Ormond, Destination Daytona continues to attract huge crowds visiting not only the largest Harley dealership in the world, but also a selection of the most important manufacturers and players of the industry. Also a multitude of smaller vendors offering free installation of your parts and accessories while you wait, a service that has expanded like wild fire and now requiring more and more that you reserve your spot before arriving in Daytona. Mandy Rossmeyer Campbell, the spokeswoman for the Rossmeyer’s family business told me that they can’t keep Baggers on the show floor more than a few hours, that they could sell many, many more… She also confirmed to me that the Dark Series is the second most successful segment of the Harley lineup and that the percentage of business done with the Service Department has increased during the recession years because many bikers opted or were obliged to keep their current bike for more years than anticipated.

After shrinking during the last 4 years, the number of bike shows is increasing again. I counted 9 different competitions in 7 days! Too many, I think. One of the most successful is Willie’s Tropical Show. As I wrote many times, probably because it’s more than a show, a Creative Happening where each competitor and visitor is coming to celebrate the freedom of self-expression. Most of the usual suspects of the V-Twin industry were present and for the first time (alerted by my news…) Willie G. Davidson with wife Nancy spent 1 hour at the show and jokingly asked me where was my new 2012 rusty custom bike? Funny, Willie G. Well, this year I picked one of the winners to receive a JeremySumpter trophy that Roadside Marty gave away to the winner on my behalf while I rushed on the other side of town to test- ride Zach Ness “Ness Cafe” custom Victory Judge model (more on this in a few days).

At the Speedway, it was a pleasure to observe the long lines of bikers impatient to test the new 2012 Harley or Victory models, or both! Manny Pandya, Victory Press Relations Manager, told me that they beat every day all records of number of demo rides. In addition, each test rider had his picture taken while test-riding and could download it immediately for free from the internet. Talking about Victory, Biker’s Fusion, the main industry charity event (but also accepting non professional participants) during Bike Week was featuring a presentation of a custom Victory Motorcycles to legendary Marine and Drill Instructor R. Lee Ermey, a.k.a. “Gunny.”  The fundraiser once again benefited Soldiers’ Angels, a volunteer-led non-profit that provides aid and comfort to active servicemen and women of the U.S. military as well as veterans and their families. More news about this 71th edition of Daytona Bike Week when I recover from too much sun, too much talk and from almost no sleep (all photography copyright Horst Roesler for JeremySumpter)
picture 1: the crowd at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Show. picture 2: Zach Ness on “Ness Cafe” Victory Judge. picture 3: David Uhl, Cris Sommer & Pat Simmons (Doobie Brothers). picture 4: Dave Perewitz, JeremySumpter. picture 5: woman of Harley. picture 6: Arlen Ness. picture 7: Roadside Marty with JeremySumpter Award trophy. picture 8: fluorescent powder coating, a new trend? picture 9: Willie Jones & guests. picture 10: oil reserve, in case…picture 11: Ladies of David Uhl. picture 12: Baker Boys.  picture 13: Cris Sommer Simmons autographing her new book “The Cannonball Diary” picture 14: Kevin Bean’re. picture 15: Sara Boyle, JeremySumpter, Michael Lichter. picture 16: Karen Davidson. picture 17: Willie’s Show rockabilly band. picture 18: Diablo. picture 19: Jumping Jack Degeazio celebrating the Gold he won in official Harley-Davidson Bike Show. picture 20:  The come back of Burger Harry. picture 21: The 2 Victory Judge I road tested. picture 22: With Dannielle Larrabee and Rollin Karroll from Spectro Oils. picture 23: Papa Clutch custom seat. picture 24: photographer Horst Roesler looking for new shooting angle. picture 25: no name, no phone number… picture 26: Steve Broyle, Paul Yaffe, Dave Perewitz at the Biker Fusion fundraising event. picture 27: R. Lee Ermey a.k.a. Gunny. picture 28: Legendary long distance rider, “Motor Maid” and role model Gloria Tramontin Struck. picture 29: Good time at the Beach Street Dog House. They all won…

23 Responses to “2012 Daytona Bike Week. Flash News And Postcards.”

  1. 1 Larry Mar 18th, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Hey, Cyril. Agree that everybody seemed happier. Silver lining of the recession is that we enjoy more what we have… Great pictures and report. Had a fabulous time in Daytona.

  2. 2 PanMan49 Mar 18th, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Talked to Harley people at the Beach Street display. They said that sales are better than they ever been since 2008…

  3. 3 Mar 18th, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Great review set of images from Horst. Had a nice time as well, the weather was amazing!


    John E Adams

  4. 4 Brandon Mar 18th, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Cyril wearing an Indian tee. Any meaning/hint about something going on?

  5. 5 MDSPHOTO Mar 18th, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Great pictures! Man, Dave Perewitz didn’t miss any meals this winter!

  6. 6 Mar 18th, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Was a great time !!! Glad to meet oldanew friends!!! I truly hope all fully enjoyed themselves!!!! Cyril thanx as ALWAYS!!#

  7. 7 Mar 18th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Thanks Cyril and yes it was the second biggest crowd at the show ever CHOPPER TIME 2012 was huge .Great bike and great people just would like to thank ever one who came out to support this event.#ten was way cool we had three bands this year ,THE DIRTY CHUCKS,HAIR OF THE BEAST AND The kings, .This is not an event for children so please leave kids at home… thanks

  8. 8 DJ Mar 18th, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Hey Cyril,
    Next time your standing with Dave P. Ask him where his favorite buffet is and make him take you there

  9. 9 sollis Mar 18th, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Ness cafe is awesome shot

  10. 10 highrpm Mar 18th, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    love arlen’s big wheel bagger.

  11. 11 Mar 18th, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Driving back to California right now. Had a great time this year. It was nice to see such a great turn out of vendors & spectators. I even came home with a pair of Rat’s Hole trophies! I’m not even to Baton Rouge yet, and I’m already planning our Biketoberfest trip.

  12. 12 Mar 19th, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I agree with everyone, my crew was there shooting day & night and the feeling was one of a huge fun to be at party, which is the way it used to be. Great shots to Horst as well!

  13. 13 Rodent Mar 19th, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Yeah, the Tropical Tattoo Show was the best event of the entire Bikeweek. It was so good that after enjoying it, Willie G announced that he was quitting the company that bears his name and just enjoy traveling to events and giving a little advice to the Motor Company

  14. 14 Mar 19th, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Good overview Cyril. Nice to see more optimism in the air.

  15. 15 Mar 19th, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I had a great time at Bike Week as there was so much to do and see that I did not get a lot of sleep either.
    Hey always time for sleep later LOL.
    It was interesting with the bikers and college kids being together and I do think that went well especially for some of the younger bikers.
    I was happy to see so many old friends and meet new ones.
    I did notice the ABATE of Florida Does Not Speak For Me Stickers all over town.
    To find out more about that check Cyril’s site at http://www.testforsites.info/2012/03/13/daytona-bike-week-rc-takes-on-abate-florida/

  16. 16 Mar 19th, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Right on Cyril but I think it was a terrific week in spite of a rotten economy not because of a rising one. We’re not stupid enough to think that borrowing from China can be good but we’re tough enough to not to let the worst goveremt in the world, except for every other gov’t in the world hold us back! And BikerFusion was an excellent example of bikers rising up to help SoldiersAngels help our warfighters and their families. Im glad you were there and I hope you give credit to the organizers! Awesome week and hopefully a sign of the season ahead!

  17. 17 Mar 19th, 2012 at 11:45 am

    RATS hole …ruled event!…I will say that my damn BUELLA had a stator failure and could not attend rats show as entry …BUT I will say location was killer !

  18. 18 Mar 19th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Btw spitfire Paul I’m riding back to Cali too but with all that good stuff and all those bikes in Daytona I don’t see that many of us on the roads. What’s up with that? Guess Daytona is still an east coast thing… We’re selling so many more touring bikes I just thought Id see more of them. Hmmm…….

  19. 19 James lucio Mar 19th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Best show in town. Only reason I come to Daytona. Thanks Willie for a great time.

  20. 20 John Williams Mar 19th, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Yup…Bike Week Was cool alright. Rode thru Main St today (Monday) and almost empty compared to yesterday (Sunday). Next Monday things will be back to normal..ghost town… a couple 2 or 3 bikes parked in front of each bar.

    Ride on

  21. 21 Sara Brown Mar 21st, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Whole 2 weeks were Truly a BLAST !! nice seeing you again Cyril! Thanks for the hook up with Micheal Lichter!

  22. 22 bikerjimmy Mar 22nd, 2012 at 10:40 am

    tropical tattoo willie an his worker put on the best home build bike show in the south
    willie bike show gets better an better every year
    what with that rodeside guy he looks like a want a b biker

  23. 23 Mar 23rd, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    LET me tell you something hes got more miles on the road then a lot of so called bikers and he is a true brother so back off there buddy ,Roadside is my MC AND HE DOES THIS YEAR AFTER YEAR AS A TRUE FRIEND ,And we know the the show is one of the best thing going on ever year .I have so many people come up an tell me this is why they come to Daytona .this year we had 170 bikes in the show and some twenty +winners and THE HORSE BACK STREET CHOPPERS AND SPONSORS gave out a ton of freebies the ARNI FOUNDATION ,TWISTED TEA AND THE HORSE ARE SUCH A BIG HELP ALONG WITH ALL THE FRIENDS BUILDERS AND PATRONS THANKS EVER ONE. for your support.

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