Spring 2017 marked the second year in a row our resident Sunshine State sycophant Harold McGruther returned to his spiritual home to MC the Biltwell Bash at Robison Cycles. Held as always on the final weekend of Daytona Bike Week, the Bash is like no other biker brodown in Florida’s tourist-trap-turned-kook-parade. Jecoa and Jordan Simmons are the father-and-son team who run Robison Cycles, and their time capsule of a mid 20th-century motorcycle shop is the ultimate venue for this event. Joe Robison is Jecoa’s grandfather and the founder of his family business, and the salty veteran still comes to work every day to share stories about the role his speed shop played in Harley’s glory days at Daytona Speedway.
If you’ve never experienced a mega rally like Daytona Beach, let us paint a picture. Every spring a quarter-million muscle-bound tough guys in tank tops and tassel vests trailer down to Daytona Beach from their still-snowy perches in New England and the Midwest to sip cheap tequila off the stretch marks on unemployed strippers. Biker Betties with tiger faces painted on their sagging tits walk down Main Street with WWE wannabes carrying albino pythons. Dropout NCAAF linemen in ‘gator skin Air Jordan VII’s creep down the boulevard on neon-lit baggers blaring Fifty Cent through Hogtunes. When the sun sets on A1A everyone jumps into the fast lane on I-95 and cruises 57mph to Destination Daytona to watch Lynyrd Skynyrd play for a standing-room-only crowd in a Harley parking lot. After last-call everyone shovels his beer-soaked ass onto his steel horse and gallops back to the hotel room for night caps and nookie. Come sunrise the light sleepers grab coffee, panic rev their EFI Road Kings to the limiter in the parking lot and head down Dixie Highway to do it all over again.
Needless to say, the Biltwell Bash isn’t a part of that scene. What you get instead are a hundred or so motorcycles of every style for the free ride-in bike show, a bottomless barrel of free beer, and the best catfish and grits on Florida’s southern seaboard. Hosting a bike show and fish fry in the history-rich walls of a legendary Harley race shop only heightens the allure. The crowd at the Biltwell Bash is eclectic, and grows every year. This year we hosted six different classes for the ride-in bike show—Chopper, Sportster, Street Tracker, FXR, Dyna and Café Racer—and some doozies made it to the event. Big thanks to Bash hosts Mr. Robison, grandson Jecoa and his family for opening their doors to our crowd, and of course to S&S Cycles, Chop Doc’s and Ed Subias at Hot Bike magazine for heavy lifting with beer money, door prizes, custom trophies and photos, respectively.