By Michael Gougis
It is fitting that this year’s Daytona 200 Monument celebration honored Dick Klamfoth, three-time winner of the spring classic. Not only did he and wife Beverly both die in 2019, Klamfoth was literally the creator of the monument, not only convincing the city of Daytona Beach to donate the land for the monument, but putting in the financial backing and physical effort to make his vision come true.
This year’s celebration—one of the few racing events to occur before all activities ceased due to the COVID-19 pandemic—drew more than 300 people. TOBC Racing owner Michelle Lindsay and rider Danny Eslick took their places on the monument with a plaque celebrating their three Daytona 200 wins together.
Fan-favorite Eslick and TOBC Racing won the Daytona 200 in 2015, 2017, and 2018. In 2015, Eslick rode a Suzuki GSX-R600, and in 2017 and 2018, he piloted a Yamaha YZF-R6. Eslick’s first Daytona 200 victory came in 2014 on a Riders Discount Triumph. He is the only rider to have won the Daytona 200 on three different brands of motorcycles.
And 1990 Daytona 200 winner David Sadowski was on hand at the Daytona 200 Monument celebration for the unveiling of a painting by famous motorsports artist Lee Bivens, showing Sadowski in the West Horseshoe on his Vance & Hines Yamaha OW01 on his way to the victory.
“It was 30 years ago—30 years!—but when I saw that painting, it was like it was just yesterday,” an emotional Sadowski told Roadracing World. “I’m getting up there (57), but it made me feel young again.”
The monument celebration event, typically held at the monument on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk on the Wednesday prior to the Daytona 200, has grown over the years and become more formalized, with past winners and significant racers invited to the ceremony.
This year, AMA Hall of Fame inductees John Parham and Arlen Ness; flat tracker and road racer Rodney Farris; flat track racers Charlotte Kainz, David Jones, and Dick Dickinson (who raced on the sands of Daytona Beach) were also honored with plaques being placed on the monument. Last year’s ceremony featured 1989 Daytona 200 winner John Ashmead, racer/race promoter Henry DeGouw, and Gina Bovaird, who was the first woman to complete the Daytona 200.
The monument exists because of the hard work and dedication of Klamfoth, who won the Daytona 200 in 1949, 1951 and 1952, becoming the first rider to win the 200 three times. According to Bob Coy, director of the United States Classic Racing Association (USCRA), Klamfoth decided to create the monument after visiting Bike Week in the late 1990s and finding that few were aware of the early races on the beach and how those races had laid the foundation for Bike Week.
Klamfoth not only raised money and got the city to donate the land, but mortgaged his own home to raise additional funds. During the weeks before the event, Klamfoth would drive from Ohio to Daytona and could be found on his hands and knees, laying bricks and building the monument.
In 2002, the first phase was completed and dedicated to the city of Daytona Beach. Since then, “It’s gotten a lot bigger over the years,” Coy said.
To benefit the Daytona 200 Monument fund, Bivens sold print copies of his painting of Sadowski at the celebration, while Sadowski autographed those large prints and smaller, free print copies of the painting.
If you would like to learn more about the Daytona 200 Monument or support the Daytona 200 Monument Fund, click HERE.