The 71th edition of Daytona Bike Week just got started. Many races are going to be run on different tracks, but not on the beach like it was for the prestigious Daytona 200 from its inception in 1937 until the early 60’s. In 1948, LIFE magazine reported on this high speed , high risk and many crashes race.
These pictures, some not published at the time, were shot by photographer Joseph Scherschel and perfectly illustrate the Daytona madness of this time. 155 helmeted daredevils participated to the 1948 Daytona 200 high octane race, with only 45 finishing. Floyd Emde (inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998) claimed victory, averaging 84 mph and receiving a prize money of $2000. 1948 was the first time a rider led the race from flag to flag and it was the last time an Indian Motorcycle won the Daytona 200.