Overlooking the very same stretch of beach that forever changed the motorcycling world, directly adjacent the Daytona Beach Bandshell and not more than a quarter-mile from the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, stands the DAYTONA 200 Monument.
The 10-foot granite plaque pays tribute to the original DAYTONA 200 beach course and the origins of bike week -- a legacy now three-quarters of a century in the making.
75 years later and the DAYTONA 200 By Victory now draws over a half- million bikers and non-bikers alike to Daytona International Speedway, as it remains the centerpiece event for the annual Bike Week festivities.
The monument can trace its beginnings to January 24, 1937 – the date of the very first DAYTONA 200. Run on the 3.2 mile Daytona Beach and Road Course, which started on A1A before drivers accessed a two-mile stretch of beach, the inaugural DAYTONA 200 was won by the legendary Ed Kretz, riding an Indian Sport Scout.
This hidden treasure was the brainchild of three-time DAYTONA 200 winner, Dick Klamfoth, who realized that many bike week attendees were unaware of how the annual Daytona Beach tradition got its start.
He thought creating a Daytona 200 Monument would be a great way to preserve this history.
Klamfoth and his wife Bev spent eight years raising funds and working with the city of Daytona Beach to get approval to place the monument near the beachfront site of the north turn of the old beach course. With the ideal location secured and with generous donations coming in, the idea became a reality as the Daytona 200 monument was officially dedicated in March 2002.
The monument is truly a piece of racing history that the motorcycle community can be participate in. Engraved 12 x 12 granite plaques are able to be reserved in order to honor friends and loved ones from motorcycling’s past, beach racers or not.
“This monument is likely to be here forever, and everyone can be part of it,” Klamfoth explained.
The monument itself features the start of the 1959 Daytona 200 on the beach track, along with etched images of the 12 men who were named Daytona 200 champions from 1937-1960.
The monument has continued to grow over the years as other faces and names join the original dozen each year as in granite plaques and on red bricks.
“In addition to the large central stone that pays tribute to the 1937 to 1960 beach champions, engraved stone plaques and pavers offer other ways you can recognize racers, a friend or family members,” said Klamfoth.
The annual Daytona 200 monument party for 2016 will take place on March 9 at 11 am. The Klamfoths will be in attendance, sharing stories and memories, while celebrating the new plaques and bricks to be added.
The Daytona 200 Monument is truly a hidden treasure that all motorcycle enthusiasts and Bike Week visitors owe a visit.
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