Flashback. Daytona 200 Race Madness In 1948

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.



17 Responses to “Flashback. Daytona 200 Race Madness In 1948”

  1. 1 Zipper Mar 11th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Great shots. ..Z

  2. 2 Fausto Mar 11th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    They should bring that back, looks like a lot of fun!

  3. 3 Dyno Mar 11th, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Imagine if it would be re-created. Best motorcycle race/show on earth!

  4. 4 Irish Rose Mar 11th, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Way too cool.

  5. 5 Jim Mar 11th, 2012 at 11:17 am

    A friend of mine — John Long — still owns the BSA that his father rode in that race in ’48.
    John raced the 200 many times at the track with a best finish of 2nd place, and now his son Barrett Long #29 will be racing the 200 next week — he finished 6th in ’09.

  6. 6 Marc Mar 11th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Love those style bikes!

  7. 7 Martina Mar 11th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    WOW !! Terrific pics ….any way to purchase copies ?? Thanks .

  8. 8 Rodent Mar 11th, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Back to the Beach!

  9. 9 ragsflh Mar 12th, 2012 at 6:48 am

    great pics

  10. 10 Mark Mar 12th, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Emde’s winning bike, a Big Base Scout is at auction this weekend, J Wood Auction Company sale near Daytona Beach. The last Indian to win the 200……


  11. 11 BlueStrada Mar 12th, 2012 at 7:30 am

    It proves that Don came by his racing skill pretty honestly…. even though the whle time he was racing you could have also accused him of being somebody’s accountant! What a cool memory to have your Dad heralded as Floyd is here for his great contribution to Dayton Beach Speedweek.


  12. 12 ValueTeck Enterprises Mar 12th, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Those were the days……

  13. 13 Joe Phillipson Mar 12th, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Grew up with Don and working for Floyd. He was very proud of what he had accomplished but never flaunted it. It was very sad to loose him. I wish I could have been there to watch but with all the stories I have heard it is almost like I was there. Great family!

  14. 14 bryanr Mar 12th, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Nice to see, was Eddie Kretz racing for Indian in that race ?He rode a Indian TT Warrior 500cc verticle twin in 1950?

  15. 15 Brenda Fox Mar 13th, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you for the great ariticle and photos Cyril – Awesome!
    How refreshing – racers racing for the Love of racing, not to become a super star, but because they love it. So cool to hear the stories and like “Uncle Joe” mentions – Great Family.

  16. 16 bean're Mar 19th, 2012 at 8:08 am

    THIS is what made Daytona Bike Week, not a fashion show, which reminds me, I need to get my bedazzled zoot suit out of the cleaners.

  17. 17 injunwiz Mar 19th, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Who is that ridin’ Rollie Free style on the #161 bike?!

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Cyril Huze