From the March 1938 Issue of Motorcyclist Magazine
Being asked to write a story of the Daytona 200-mile classic places the writer in a rather embarrassing position, as he did not see the actual race, unless one would call watching every rider go by a given point, reviewing the race. We were given the job of running a master check and placed down on the South turn, high up in the grandstand. We did have a fine view of the starting line and the early activity of the forenoon and did see every rider come into that South turn and ramble onto the beach. Then it was a blurr and they were gone in the distance.
To us the high light of this race was the fact that it has developed into an event that can not be compared with any past motorcycle activity. It has become a national institution, something that will continue to grow in public interest. It is a perfect set-up.
This first event of the new year, takes care of that itchy feeling that comes to a motorcycle rider who has been forced to stay in doors for too long a time. It starts the ball rolling with a major speed contest that begins a whole season of activities. After all, motorcycle riders love speed and love that sound of a motorcycle as it winds up on such a long stretch of beach.
Daytona offers a perfect excuse for hard working dealers to head for the sunny South for a short vacation. It fills them with that old enthusiasm to go back home and start things in their own territory. It makes for new friendships and a general get together.
Daytona has the unqualified support of a group of city officials headed by Ray Eberling, Recreation Director, who left not a stone unturned to co-operate to the limit to insure the success of the event. It gets the greatest entry list of fine, clean cut riders of any activity and that assures everyone of the best in competition. It has grown, through the efforts of about five men to a point where the word Daytona means the ultimate in motorcycle activities. It is mighty hard to get on paper the picture that is unfolded starting about three days before the event.
One sees groups of riders coming in from every section of the country. There is an official headquarters where the gang may congregate. There one can meet some rider or some dealer from almost every section of the country. A dictaphone setup of the good natured banter and conversation, known only to motorcycle riders, would be worth its cost many times over. These nightly and daily get-togethers are “tops” in our estimation. On Saturday night there is that annual meeting of the riders, drawing of numbers, and last minute instructions from the officials. We could live those nights over and over again. One sees the actual competitors mixing with each other the “good natured razzing” knowing that on the next day, they cease to be pals and are friendly enemies for about four hours. One looks out over that group of one hundred, clean cut representative boys, real assets to the grand sport of motorcycling; one sees that determined look in their faces and knows that out of the group will come one rider who will be winner. It sort of makes one’s old ticker go pitty-pat.
Then on Sunday morning comes hustle and bustle, checking in of motors, license certificates, etc. The boys this year went to the beach where they were checked as to class “C” equipment by Hank Syvertsen and Doug McGregor; by Boots Murphy for their A.M.A. cards; and finally by the secretary for their proof of ownership. Then, on down to the gasoline wagon for their gas and finally to the starting line where they were placed in the tender care of Jim Davis and Joe Petrali.
There was that confusion of hunting for starting position, officials running around. everyone on edge, all of them tense and ready to battle at the drop of the hat.