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Here goes my first Ride Report ~ round trip from Savannah, GA to Daytona International Speedway and back.

It was a fairly last minute trip. This past Friday I found out that Tequila Patron ESM, an IMSA endurance car racing team that my friend is an engineer on, was competing in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. It didn't take much convincing to enlist a riding buddy. Here was our route down:



And here we are filling up at the start of the journey:


There's my Wee on the left and Dave's CB500F on the right.

From Savannah we proceeded down Route 17, which is a nice two-lane 55mph highway that winds through rural coastal Georgia. It was a bit chilly (note to self - buy hand guards) early in the morning. We stopped at a McDonald's in Brunswick for breakfast and decided it was probably time to find a place to stay upon arrival. We used the HotelTonight app to snag a room right on the beach in Daytona. If you haven't used it before, HotelTonight is an awesome app for last-minute booking.

After our break we continued along 17, crossing a very cool bridge and then passing into Florida. The route got a little busier with more stoplights than we would have liked, but still plenty of sights to see. Route 17 leads right into the heart of Jacksonville, which was the most harrowing portion of the trip.

We then made our way onto Route 1. Right outside of Jacksonville was still fairy congested, but it quickly opened up for the final 90 miles down to Daytona. Smooth highway and 65mph speed limits. We saw lots of other bikers...all of the Hog variety!

Daytona is definitely a biker's town. Dealerships, bars, and even a Corbin store! Here I am upon arrival at our hotel:



After a quick shower and dinner we ordered and Uber and headed to the race. All I can say is WOW! Having never been to a NASCAR-sized venue, I was amazed at the scale of the place. The vast majority of the spectators were in the infield, leaving the stands a veritable ghost town:



The race began at 2:40pm and was almost three hours in by the time we arrived. After a photo op from the top of the grandstand we walked the tunnel into the infield. And what a place it was! Thousands of people, an amazing assortment of cars and RVs, and tons of booths. There were special parking areas for Porsches, BMWs, Corvettes, rusted out and lowered antique VWs, etc. Nothing like parking your $200k 911 GT3 thirty feet from the track .Nothing like watching a family of three try to pile into one on Sunday afternoon either.



Truly a unique juxtaposition of everyone the very wealthy (think VIP lounges with table service and projectors displaying the race) to those who just wanted to drink beer and listen to loud engines for 24 hours nonstop:



As for the race itself - totally cool. Approximately 50 cars in four different classes ranging from highly modified production vehicles (Ford GT40, Chevy Corvette, Aston Martin Vantage) to one-off speed machines. Here's an example of the latter:



It's hard to capture a car moving that quickly using an iPhone camera...that blur on the left is a GT40:



We stayed until around 11pm and then headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest. By 10am on Sunday we were back for more. Most of the teams were still going strong. Most of the cars were being held together with duct tape, no joke.

As afternoon approached we decide to the hit the road in order to make it home before dark. US 1 brought us just south of Jacksonville, where we decided to hop on 295 an then 95 in the name of time. Highway riding isn't exactly enjoyable but it really did cut off a lot of time.

And there you have it! Savannah to Daytona and back again.
 
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