Daytona Motorcycle Madness. 1948.

To conclude my reports on Daytona Bike Week, a jump into the past.

From its inception in 1937 until the early ’60s, the Daytona 200 was run on the Florida beaten.

In 1948, LIFE covered the 12th annual races and reported in its April 19 issue. Now, with unpublished and rarely seen photos from the meet, LIFE opens a window on a long, loud weekend 60 years ago.

A weekend that thrilled thousands of racing fans, scandalized others, and saw 2 people killed and 30 more injured. See the 22 photos of Joseph Scherschel at Time & Life Pictures.

9 Responses to “Daytona Motorcycle Madness. 1948.”

  1. 1 Dale Mar 9th, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Very cool photos

  2. 2 fuji Mar 9th, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I had an opportunity to watch the Daytona 200 with a fellow who rode on the beach before the Speedway was built.
    He gave me some very colorful story’s of the racing on the sand then continued with story’s of racing at the Speedway to say the least it was very interesting.

    Made several races this last week. Flat track and Road racing and I must say for those that were involved with putting the races on did an overwhelming job.

    Daytona was good but cold.

  3. 3 Mike Kiwi Tomas, Kiwi Indian Motorcycles Mar 9th, 2010 at 9:25 am

    1948 was a great event for Indian at Daytona as it was a big win on their remodelled Big Base Scout engine with Floyd Emde taking the checkered flag.

  4. 4 Vince Mar 9th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Back when I used to be a racer, one of my racing sponsors (and mentors) raced the Daytona 200 in the 40s. His name was Philly Cancilla and he was a tremendous inspiration to me then and today.
    He was one of those old school guys who wore white mechanics overalls everywhere. If I crashed, or just feeling slow that day, Philly would tell me stories about driving rental cars into hotel swimming pools or crashing at Daytona when it was half sand and half pavement. Imagine, instead or running up the banking, you ride down the A1A, and then make a left onto the beach, all at full race speed.
    Philly had the scars and the knowledge to back up those stories. He learned to tune race engines before everyone owned an engine dyno. If we were dynoing an engine he could just feel what the motor wanted. He would tell us to retard the exhaust cam 3 degrees or whatever. Sure enough he was right more often than not.
    Those were the guys that started it. I have told those stories to the young racers I have worked with. Someday I will pass those stories onto my son. I know we have progressed a lot in 6 decades Cyril, but seeing pictures of Daytona 1948 reminded me of the stories Philly told me. Thanks for that memory

  5. 5 A 1 cycles inc. Mar 9th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    i have stayed over at dick klamforths house in ohio before when i was chasing the grand national dirttrack circus…it was an amazing night full of amazing stories, how he stole his wife from some gang members, rode on the sand with bobby hill, and other great champions,the most incredible part of these stories is that they were true. his wife cooked us breakfast and we all went racing that night in circleville and lima…amazing memories..these guys are all the real deal. pleasure to know some of them. and t open up their house to some young racers was just showing the true side of racing and true racers..before mcdonalds,pepsi,coke,wal mart all pulled the strings

  6. 6 rocky Mar 9th, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    1948 saw my father, Dill, at Daytona as the pit man for Murdaugh Indian Racing, Clem riding #21,, 2 laps down and Bill Kelly riding #48 as a DNF.

  7. 7 Josie Mar 11th, 2010 at 7:34 am

    loved these pic’s…truly enjoyed the blast from the past , I had the pleasure to ride with some ol timer’s and these pic’s brought their stories to life.

  8. 8 Charlie Lecach Mar 15th, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Great photos indeed. Especially the one with the father & son team racing on the beach. These are Ted Edwards and Teddy Edwards Jr from Atlanta GA. Ted had #13, his son had a number plate stating #13-1/2 ! He was also on the cover of the July 1948 issue of American Motorcycling magazine, posing in the middle of Dot Robinson and some of the Motor Maids.

  9. 9 jack1340 Mar 15th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    great blak & wite. j adore.

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Cyril Huze