Biketoberfest tragedy: Two motorcyclists killed in collision while racing at Daytona International Speedway

Biketoberfest in Daytona / Headline Surfer

No explanation from DIS or cops for 1-day delay in informing media

Double fatality biker crash at Daytona International Speedway / Headline SurferMotorcycle racer Rick Shaw killed at Daytona International Speedway / Headline SurferPhotos for Headline Surfer / Veteran AMA racer Rick Shaw, 65, shown here, was killed as was another motorcyclist, Eric Desy, 45, after their speed bikes collided during a Team Hammer School racing event Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. They are the 35th and 36th persons killed at the Speedway since 1959.

DAYTONA BEACH -- Two motorcyclists were killed after their bikes collided at high speeds coming off a high bank Thursday at Daytona International Speedway during a private racing school session, occurring on the first day of Biketoberfest, police and track officials confirmed late this afternoon.

Neither Daytona Beach cops nor DIS officials explained why they waited a day to release information to the media on the deaths. And Headline Surfer had to go through DIS spokesman Lenny Santiago to even release the police report, which was finally e-mailed at 3:53 p.m., after repeated attempts by the 24/7 internet newspaper to get even basic information from the DBPD.

According to the police report, at 11 a.m., both riders were in a pack under Team Hammer, which rented the 3.51-mile road course from DIS for the riding school, when the two victims collided coming off the East banking "at a high rate of speed." 

Killed were veteran Daytona 200 racer Rick Shaw, 65, of Port Orange, an instructor for Team Hammer, and student Eric Desy, 45, of Quebec.

The police report didn't indicate exactly how many bikes were on the track at the time nor did it indicate what caused the contact between the two. 

Shaw, a retired Miami police officer, who moved up here in 2005 after his retirement from law enforcement,  had competed in several Daytona 200 motorcycle races at the Speedway, and at one point held the record for the most laps completed in the annual race held during Bike Week, the larger of the two Daytona Beach-area motorcycle rallies in the Spring that draws upwards of half a million tourists.

Desy was pronounced dead shortly after transport to Halifax Health Medical Center and Shaw died at 7:06 p.m. of the injuries suffered in the crash. 

The Speedway's Santiago emailed Headline a statement on the tragedy, stating: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the riders and their families, and we are deeply saddened by their loss. Rick Shaw in particular had a long history of racing at Daytona, and for several years held the record for most miles raced in the Daytona 200. He was loved by many in the motorcycle community and we will miss him greatly."

The DIS statement also reiterated the "safety of fans and competitors is always our top priority and we work closely with event officials to ensure the best safety protocols are in place and followed. Team Hammer Advanced Riding School has an outstanding track record of safety at Daytona International Speedway, hosting thousands of riders since the early 1990s. Whenever an unfortunate incident does occur at our facility, we take the opportunity to learn and refine any event procedures."

A statement from John Ulrich of Team Hammer Advanced Riding School also was released to the media by DIS, in which he said: "Everyone at Team Hammer Advanced Riding School is saddened following the tragic loss of student Eric Desy and long-time instructor and former professional racer Rick Shaw at Daytona International Speedway. Rider safety is at the very forefront of all we do and our track record at Daytona speaks for itself. Over the last two decades more than 5,000 students have gone through our advanced riding school program at the Speedway, without major incident."

Ulrich then focused on the loved ones of the victims: "Our thoughts and prayers go out for the families of Eric and Rick. Eric was a passionate motorcycle enthusiast and amateur racer who was very excited to be riding at Daytona. Rick was an excellent instructor and a great friend. His riding resume at Daytona was outstanding, and for many years he held the record for the most miles raced in the Daytona 200. He really enjoyed sharing his knowledge and experience, and he was very popular with our students."

The issue of safety was addressed as well by Team Hammer's Ulrich: "We are fully committed to providing a safe, thrilling and unforgettable riding school for our students and will carefully review our processes and procedures closely to see if there is anything we can improve in the future."

Ulrich ended the statement with a touching farewell to the fallen motorcyclists: "Godspeed, Eric Desy. Godspeed, Rick Shaw."

Ulrich ended the statement with a touching farewell to the fallen motorcyclists: "Godspeed, Eric Desy. Godspeed, Rick Shaw."

Cycle World, in reporting on the double fatality, said a representative with the Team Hammer school said riders reach speeds of anywhere between 100 and 150 mph.

The motorcycle racing magazine said Shaw competed in AMA road race Nationals for nearly 30 years. And he was perhaps best known for breaking Warren Sherwood’s longstanding Daytona 200 mileage record in 2003. He also held the record number of starts and laps completed in the 200.

In an interview after that 2003 race Shaw talked with Cycle World about his emotions of breaking the mileage record in America’s oldest motorcycle race.

"I wanted to celebrate [on the record breaking lap], but I was trying to keep my head down," Shaw said. "I tried to get my hand up there and I just about lost it on the second lap trying to celebrate. Boy was that stupid. I put my head back down and went for it. It was an exciting lap. I felt it. Finally, the weight was lifted off me after the second lap and I could go out and race. I put some more pressure on myself to get this done." 

FAST FACTS: Track deaths at Daytona international Speedway

Eric Desy and Rick Shaw became the  35th and 36th persons killed at Daytona International Speedway in their collision on speed bikes Thursday.

Marshall Teague, Feb. 11, 1959, Testing Test runs preparing for speed-record attempt in reconfigured Indy car with canopy, high-speed aerodynamic lift caused crash.

George Amick, April 4, 1959, USAC 100-mile race Crash at the exit of turn 2 and backstretch.

Dr. Bernie Taylor, June 14, 1959, Powerboat race in infield lake.

Harold Haberling, Feb. 21, 1961, Daytona 500 practice. 

Billy Wade, Jan. 5, 1965, NASCAR Grand National tire test Died of internal injuries suffered in a crash during a tire test session for Goodyear. The crash happened on the west turn caused by the bursting of one of the tires he was testing. Goodyear was testing inner liners at the time.

Uploaded from YouTube/ Don MacTavish killed in horrific crash, 1969.

Don MacTavish, Feb. 21, 1969, Permatex 300, Killed when his car hit the outside wall on the front stretch, tearing the motor out of the car, then was hit by Stan Sommers. He was killed instantly.

Wayne Harris Bartz, March 12, 1969, Lightweight motorcycle race.

Talmadge "Tab" Prince, Feb. 19, 1970, Twin 125s, Engine failed in Turn 1, spun and was t-boned by Bill Siefert.

Joe "Rusty" Bradley, March 14, 1971, Daytona 200.

David Pearl, July 30, 1971, Central Florida SCCA meet -- Paul Whiteman Trophy Race.

Friday Hassler, Feb. 17, 1972, Twin 125s, Killed in a crash on Lap 19 after tire failure on another car.

Ricky Knotts, Feb. 14, 1980 ,Twin 125s, Lap 15 two-car crash with another driver.

Francis Affleck, Feb. 7, 1985, ARCA 200 practice.

Dr. Charles Ogle, Dec. 26, 1985, Charlotte-Daytona Dash Series testing, Tire failure during Charlotte-Daytona Dash series test on Dec. 15 led to car digging into the chicane and car overturning in crash. Was hospitalized and succumbed 11 days later.

Bruce Jacobi, Feb. 4, 1987, UNO Twin 125s, Car tumbled violently in Lap 6 crash on backstretch during 1983 UNO Twin 125 Race One, and driver was in a coma which he never recovered.

Joe Young, Feb. 13, 1987, Charlotte-Daytona Dash Series race.

James Kolman, Dec. 27, 1987, Daytona KartWeek race.

Randy Glenn, Feb. 26, 1988, no description provided

Don Williams, May 21, 1989, Permatex 300 Died of injuries suffered in a February 1979 crash.

Dale Robertson, Dec. 27, 1989, WKA Daytona Kart Week race.

Julius Johnson, Feb. 11, 1990 ARCA 200 race, Part of seven-car Turn 4 crash on Lap 78 of the 80-lap race that also injured a track worker when Bob Keselowski (father of 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad, crashed into safety worker assisting with another car). Johnson died three days later on Feb. 14, 1990.

Joe Booher, Feb. 12, 1993, Florida 200 Dash Series race crash on Lap 2.

James Adamo, March 7, 1993, Daytona 200, crash caused by front brake failure, causing bike and rider to strike trackside barrier

Neil Bonnett, Feb. 11, 1994, Daytona 500 practice crash in turn 4.

[Rodney Orr, Feb. 14, 1994, Daytona 500 practice Reigning NASCAR Goody's Dash Series champion's Cup car flipped over at exit of turn 2, roof caved in, killing the driver instantly. Hoosier Tire withdrew from the race immediately, after two fatal crashes from Hoosier drivers.

Michael Himes, Jan. 31, 1997, IMSA Showroom Stock During the Friday two-hour Showroom Stock event, Himes' Honda del Sol had a failure and hit the tire wall guarding around the bus stop chicane.

Roger Reiman, March 4, 1997, Daytona 200 week, killed in vintage motorcycle event.  

Dale Earnhardt, Feb. 18, 2001, Daytona 500, basilar skull fracture suffered from crash in turn 4 on the final lap of the Daytona 500.

Dirk Piz, March 11, 2001, Daytona 200 week, Buell Pro Thunder crashed with Kiyoshige Watanabe in a two-bike crash in the bus stop during the Buell Pro Thunder race. Watanbe was treated and released, but Piz died at Halifax.

Stuart Stratton, Oct.19, 2001, Fall Cycle Scene motorcycle event.

Michael Davis Jr., Dec. 30, 2001, Daytona Kart Week race.

Bryan Cassell, Oct.18, 2003, motorcycle practice, CCS/FUSA Fall Cycle Scene, died in crash on turn 4.

Roy H. Weaver III, Feb. 8, 2004, IPOWER Dash Series 150, track worker; struck and killed by driver Ray Paprota.

Robert Boswell, Feb. 3, 2008, Richard Petty Driving Experience Heart attack while driving.

Source: Wikipedia/DIS.

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.