Motorcycle Classics Blogs >

MC Events
Reviews and Notices of Upcoming Classic Motorcycle Shows and Events

Vintage MotoFest and Rockerbox 2017

Russ Larabee

Russ Larabee took home top honors in two categories — Best Café and People’s Choice — for his 1978 Honda CB750 café crafted by Godffrey’s Garage.

Wisconsin was the place to be last weekend as thousands of vintage motorcycle fans gathered for the annual Vintage MotoFest and Rockerbox Motorcycle Show at Road America race track outside Elkhart Lake, June 9-11, 2017. Big winds on Saturday threatened to pull more than a few tents off their moorings — we almost lost ours! — but the sun shone brightly as AHRMA racers made their way around Road America’s epic 4-mile road course while attendees took in their fill of great custom and vintage motorcycles.

Always one of our favorite events, this year’s show didn’t disappoint. We don’t have a count, but it felt like there were more bikes than ever in the Rockerbox Motorcycle Show, with bikes parked check to jowl along the access road leading to the Road America Center, a scene reminiscent of Rockerbox’s roots as a street show in Milwaukee starting in 2003. Bands played on stage in front of the Center all day, and a mini brewfest inside the Center provided ample opportunity to sample some of Wisconsin’s finest craft beers.

Motorcycle Classics headed up the judging for the show, with Tony Prust from Analog Motorcycles, Peter Lund from Retrospeed, Kevin Frank from the Brewtown Rumble and Build Moto Mentor Program, Rockerbox co-founder Scott Johnson from Fuel Café, and Motorcycle Classics’ Richard Backus sharing judging duties.

We added two categories for 2017, Best Restored and Best Rider, plus Tony Prust awarded the Analog Motorcycles Best in Show along with a $250 gift certificate from Analog. Trophies were awarded in five other categories including Best Café, Best Rat Bike, Best Scooter, Best Chopper and Best Race Bike, plus we awarded our annual Editor’s Choice, which this year went to Gary King for his awesome 1984 Jamie James Yamaha RZ350, one of two made. And Gary owns the other one.

Great bikes, great weather and a great location, the Vintage MotoFest and Rockerbox Show at Road America is a highlight of the year. Don’t miss it in 2018.

Gary Pritts

Gary Pritts got the vote for Best Rat Bike with his funky — and we mean that in the best way — 1946 Velocette powered by a Briggs & Stratton V-twin! There’s a story there …

Dominie Garofalo

Dominie Garofalo won Best Scooter with his 2007 Ruckus. Look closely at the paint job; it was done with a Sharpie.

Kevin Baumgart

Kevin Baumgart got the nod for Best Chopper for his really tasty old school chopper. Based on a 2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster, it was elegant and simple at the same time and really captured the essence of the chopper era.

Bob Martin

Bob Martin took top honors in the Best Race Bike class for his 1970 Bultaco El Bandido.

Eric Trosper

Eric Trosper shows his winning form after getting our Best Rider award for his unrestored and regularly ridden 1937 Moto Guzzi GTV500.

Steve Schilling

Our award for Best Restored went to Steve Schilling for his immaculate 1965 BSA Lightning.

Gary King

The Motorcycle Classics Editor’s Choice award went to Gary King for his spectacular 1984 Jamie James Yamaha RZ350.

Jake Drummond

Jake Drummond walked away with the Analog Motorcycles Best in Show award for his highly customized and beautifully executed 1973 Yamaha RD350.

Join Motorcycle Classics for the Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway

Vintage bikes, fine country roads and great company. That’s what you’ll find at the Motorcycle Classics Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway. Motorcycle Classics archives

The 2nd Annual Motorcycle Classics Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway at Seven Springs Resort in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, is just around the corner, Aug. 4-6, 2017.

Joining us this year is special guest Mark Mederski, the former executive director of the American Motorcycle Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame and now special projects director at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa.

The weekend event, centered in Southern Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, includes two days of riding, eating and just generally hanging out with like-minded vintage motorcycle enthusiasts. With help from Tom McKee, organizer of the annual All Brands Motorcycle Event at McKee’s Sky Ranch in nearby Terra Alta, West Virginia, we’ve mapped out a great Saturday ride taking us through the region’s mostly unknown Amish territory, an area punctuated by stunning farms and miles of incredible back-country roads. McKee helped map out last year’s excellent ride, and having just made the run with him, we can tell you this year’s event will be every bit as beautiful and relaxing as last year’s, which drew 83 vintage bike enthusiasts. 

We’ll kick off the weekend Friday evening with a welcome reception and dinner, and we’ll have a post-ride banquet dinner on Saturday, with Mederski joining editor Richard Backus for a relaxed discussion about the National Motorcycle Museum, vintage motorcycle collecting and Mederski’s decades-long career in motorcycling, one that’s put him face-to-face with some of the biggest names in the game, picking up more than a few interesting stories along the way.

We’ll take a shorter but no less exhilarating ride around the Laurel Highlands area on Sunday, leaving everyone plenty of time to make their way back home after a fantastic weekend of riding.

Can’t bring your own bike? Not a problem, because RetroTours will once again have a limited selection of classic 1970s motorcycles available for rent, including models from Ducati, Triumph, Norton and more. Check out the 25-strong RetroTours stable at retrotours.com, but don’t wait too long because rentals are limited on a first come, first served basis. And if you’re looking for total vintage immersion, check out the RetroTours Seven Springs ride, a 500-mile round-trip romp to our event from RetroTours headquarters in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, riding RetroTours’ classic ’70s motorcycles.

RetroTours joins us this year as an official sponsor of the event, along with the great people from Bonhams auction house, Federal Motorcycle Transport, Pecard Leather Care and Spectro Performance Oils.

August will be here before you know it, so reserve your spot for the 2nd Annual Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway now at MotorcycleClassics.com/PA2017, where you’ll also find event updates and interactive ride routes as we get them posted. MC

McKee’s Sky Ranch All Brands Motorcycle Event

The racing’s wild and wet at McKee’s Sky Ranch. Photo by Karl Jarvis

Vintage dirt bike fans won’t want to miss the 6th Annual All Brands Motorcycle Event at McKee’s Sky Ranch July 27-30, 2017. Held at vintage bike enthusiast and former motocross racer Tom McKee’s 200-acre dirt bike refuge in the mountains outside Terra Alta, West Virginia, the four-day event features three days of AHRMA vintage offroad racing including Vintage Cross Country, Enduro, Vintage MX, Post Vintage Cross Country and Post Vintage MX. Former ISDT gold medallist Fred Hoess is this year’s Grand Marshall, and he’ll be racing as well, defending his title win from last year!

The weekend kicks off Thursday morning, July 27, with the Dual Sport Ride, a three-hour, moderately challenging ride offering mountain trails and varied terrain from single track to unimproved dirt roads, with elevation changes and stream crossings. Later that day riders can also participate in the Adventure Ride, tailor-made for bigger adventure bikes and riding mostly the dirt and gravel back roads that wind across the area. On Friday there’s an 80-mile road run for street and touring enthusiasts, plus an old-fashioned field meet, and the West Virginia Motorcycle Safety Program folks will have a riding simulator on hand, as well. The rides are open to everyone, with a $10 fee.

Sponsored by the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau, the West Virginia Motorcycle Safety Program and AHRMA, the weekend will include a swap meet, a vintage bike display, motorcycle art by John Panek, plus a photo exhibit by Karl Jarvis.

Entry is only $10 a day, or $30 for the entire weekend. If you like vintage dirt racing, don’t miss this event. More info: mckeeskyranch.com or ahrma.org.

Upcoming Vintage Motorcycle Events: July/August 2017

Participants enjoy the lovely roads during the 2016 “Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em” Getaway. Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff

Featured events

July 7
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days returns to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, July 7-9, 2017. Enjoy the AMA Vintage Road Racing Grand Championships along with motocross, hare scrambles, trials and a round of the AMA Vintage Dirt Track National Championship Series. The event includes America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, the Wall of Death, bike shows, stunt shows, demo rides, seminars and more.

July 14

Visit the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey, July 14-16, for the 5th Annual AHRMA Vintage Motorcycle Festival. The weekend will feature plenty of vintage motorcycle racing along with 60,000 square feet of parts, bikes, merchandise and more.

July 27

Head to Terra Alta, West Virginia, for the All Brands Motorcycle Event, July 27-30. Enjoy four days of riding, offroad racing, displays and a swap meet. There will be a road run, a dual sport ride, an adventure ride, a field meet, AHRMA vintage cross country, enduro and vintage motocross, post vintage cross country and post vintage motocross racing.

Aug. 4

Join the editors of Motorcycle Classics for the 2nd Annual “Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em” Getaway. We’ll enjoy a relaxed weekend of riding and sightseeing in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, Aug. 4-6. We’ll stay at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, meeting up Friday and riding through the weekend.

Sept.1

Back for its 12th year, join in the fun at the Bonneville Vintage GP, Sept. 1-3, at the Utah Motorsports Campus (formerly the Miller Motorsports Park) in Tooele, Utah. Norton will be the featured marque of the Motorcycle Classics Vintage Motorcycle Show on Saturday, celebrating 50 years of the Commando, plus trophies in six classes and a People’s Choice award. Sunday will feature a custom bike show. Both days will feature AHRMA racing, along with the CB160 races with LeMans starts both days.

More events

June 30-July 1
Rhinebeck Grand National Meet
Rhinebeck, New York

July 7-9
26th Annual MGNOC Iowa Rally
Elkader, Iowa

July 7-9
30th Annual Deep Forest Campout
Randle, Washington

July 7-9
British Motorcycle Club of Canada 34th Annual Vintage MC Rally and Camp Out
Riondel, B.C., Canada

July 13-15
45th Annual BMW MOA International Rally
Salt Lake City, Utah

July 14-16
New York Moto Guzzi Rally
Mountain View, New York

July 17-21
INOA Norton Thunder Rally
Buena Vista, Virginia

July 21-23
37th Annual British Biker Cooperative Rally & Show
Blue River, Wisconsin

July 23
Jeff Williams MC Swap Meet
Kansas City, Missouri

July 24
6th Annual Kansas City VJMC All Japanese Motorcycle Rally
Kansas City, Missouri

July 28-29
Rocker’s Roll Eight Ride and Show
Exeter, Pennsylvania

Aug. 3-6
5th Annual Massachusetts MGNOC Rally
Russell, Massachusetts

Aug. 4-6
2nd Annual Nova Scotia Moto Guzzi and Friends Rally
Near Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada

Aug. 4-6
33rd Annual Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Riders Rally
Lake Joy Campground, Belmont, Wisconsin

Aug. 5
5th Annual Kansas City VJMC Midwest Regional Show
New Century, Kansas

Aug. 5-7
Ohio Valley BSA Owners Club 35th Annual Rally
Toronto, Ohio

Aug. 17-20
MGNOC New Mexico State Rally
Datil, New Mexico

Aug. 20
British Iron Association of Connecticut 32nd Annual Brit Jam
Haddam Neck, Connecticut

Aug. 25-27
Ontario Guzzi Riders Rally
Lavigne, Ontario, Canada

Aug. 26-31
Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials
Wendover, Utah

Aug. 27
Jeff Williams MC Swap Meet
Kansas City, Missouri

Aug. 29-Sept. 2
GWRRA 39th Annual Wing Ding
Grapevine, Texas


Motorcycle Classics wants to know about shows, swap meets, road runs and more for classic motorcycles. Send details of upcoming events at least three months in advance to lhall@ motorcycleclassics.com.

Tour Cuba by Motorcycle!

Join acclaimed moto-journalist Christopher P. Baker on an unforgettable ride through western and central Cuba, Oct. 22-Nov. 2, 2017.

1972 Jawa 250 twin and Toma Rey Gutierrez

Vintage bikes like this circa-1972 Jawa 250 twin, lovingly maintained by Cuban motorcycle enthusiast Toma Rey Gutierrez, abound in Cuba. Photo by Josh Withers.

Cuba. Seemingly frozen in time following the U.S. embargo in the early 1960s, for over 50 years this Caribbean Island nation barely 100 miles off the Florida coast has been a forbidden destination for would-be American travelers. Yet as barriers between the two countries continue to fall, Cuba is once again becoming accessible to U.S. citizens. This October, join celebrated moto-journalist Christopher P. Baker in partnership with Cross Cultural Journeys for a 12-day motorcycle exploration of one of the most colorful and controversial countries in the world.

When travel restrictions for U.S. citizens began to fall a few years ago, many riders started looking into how they could tour this culturally and historically rich country. Change is coming fast to Cuba, and motorcyclists are eager see Cuba as it still is today, a country of immense beauty deeply rooted in its own unique political and cultural history.

Acclaimed Cuba expert and moto-journalist Christopher P. Baker has designed the perfect 12-day motorcycling itinerary of Western and Central Cuba. The “Motorcycle Diaries” redux program includes the Bay of Pigs, plus Santa Clara — with its close association to iconic revolutionary (and motorcyclist) Ernesto “Che” Guevara. The tour will visit the Comandancia de Che (his former headquarters), plus Cuevas de los Portales (a giant cave where Che headquartered during the Cuban Missile Crisis), along with the enchanting colonial city of Trinidad and the snow-white beaches of Cayo Santa María. The tour will also visit the capital city of Havana and head to tobacco growing country of Viñales and Matanzas.

With two decades experience motorcycling in Cuba, no one knows motorcycling around the island like Christopher. In 1996 he shipped his BMW R100GS motorcycle to Cuba and rode 7,000 miles during a three-month journey to research the Moon Cuba guidebook. His literary travel book — Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba — describing the journey was published by National Geographic Adventure Press and is a two-time national book award winner.

Seventeen years later, in 2012, Christopher secured a “people-to-people” (P2P) license from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to offer the first-ever group motorcycle travel of Cuba for U.S. citizens, and a year later finally fulfilled his dream of leading the first-ever such tour of Cuba end-to-end since the Revolution. He has since led numerous group motorcycle tours of Cuba, plus more than 70 “people-to-people” trips to Cuba on behalf of National Geographic Expeditions and other leading international tour companies.

Christopher has authored four other books about Cuba, written feature articles on Cuba for magazines from Motorcyclist to National Geographic Traveler and Playboy, and appears frequently on CNN, MSNBC, NPR and other radio and TV outlets.

Christopher guarantees that joining one of his group motorcycle tours will be immensely rewarding and memorable as he shares with you his intimate knowledge of Cuba.

The itinerary will include activities that provide a fascinating overview of the history and culture of the country while maximizing interaction with Cubans from all walks of life, from artists, baseball players and classic car owners to local harlistas (owners of pre-revolutionary Harley-Davidsons). The tour will include approximately 1,000 miles of riding easily navigated by any experienced touring enthusiast, with travel primarily on paved roads with occasional unpaved sections.

One of the first companies licensed to take travelers to Cuba, Cross Cultural Journeys has been leading Americans on legal people-to-people trips to the island since 1998. Guaranteed to be the trip of a lifetime, we encourage interested participants to sign up now as space is limited to just 15 riders.

When booking, please mention that you learned about the tour through Motorcycle Classics magazine. For full tour information including trip itinerary and cost, visit the Cuba Motorcycle Diaries page at Cross Cultural Journeys. Cross Cultural Journeys provides socially responsible travel for individuals and organizations interested in global awareness, indigenous wisdoms and societies at the crossroads.

Sons of Speed 2017

Billy Lane on the track

Sons of Speed organizer Billy Lane on the track at New Smyrna Speedway.

Nostalgia racing is in. Look at such events as The Race of Gentlemen (TROG), AHRMA road racing, and the March 18, 2017, Sons of Speed, an event that hearkens back to the glory days of board track racing. Billy Lane of Choppers Inc. has long wanted to recreate this era of racing, except for this race he had to use an embanked asphalt speedway instead of a banked pine board track. To seed the race, he built several replica bikes and then invited others to participate. Frames could be built up new, but crankcases built after 1924 were not allowed, and 1924 was also the last year for direct-drive racers. The rules were simple: no brakes, no transmission – what could go wrong? Very little, actually. The only incidents involved a flat tire by Rhett “Rotten” of Wall of Death fame. After a crash his team rebuilt the bike overnight, and he was ready to race the next day in spite of a broken rib!

Starting a direct drive isn’t a simple matter of bump and go. Since the Speedway had a banked corner, riders would remove their spark plugs so they could push the bike up the embankment without fighting engine compression. Plugs back in, they would roll down the hill and try to start in an almost violent, bucking manner. Bikes would lunge and buck and then fire … hopefully.

Motorcycle racer being push-started

Push, roll and hope it fires.

The plan was to run several elimination heats. Riders would follow a pace motorcycle until they were lined up. This became difficult, so after a couple of laps they typically “had at it.” The first heat became one of the tightest. Billy Lane ran against American Iron Magazine publisher Buzz Kanter, who was riding one of Billy’s creations! Billy, though leading, was slowly reeled in and passed on one of his own bikes.

Brittney Olsen, Matt Harris and Buzz Kanter

Event winner Brittney Olsen shows her winning style as she rounds a corner with Matt Harris even up and Buzz Kanter pulling up the rear.

When it came time for the final race, Brittney Olsen on her 1924 Harley-Davidson took off and was followed by Matt Harris on his 1924 H-D, with Shelly Rossmeyer Pepe in third place, making this a race for sons AND daughters of speed!

Brittney Olsen's 1924 Harley-Davidson

Event winner Brittney Olsen’s 1924 Harley-Davidson. She was given the engine instead of an engagement ring by husband Matt!

Billy Lane’s mission for the event was to recreate the days when early American motorcycles met in fields or on board tracks: Simple rules, simple bikes, and a great show. Mission accomplished! The Sons of Speed race will be recreated at Sturgis in August and Biketoberfest in October back at New Smyrna Speedway.

Billy Lane suiting up

Billy Lane suits up for his race. Look for the next Sons of Speed at Sturgis and then Biketoberfest.

Motorcycle Classics’ Second Annual Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway

BMW at a gas station

The 2nd Annual Motorcycle Classics Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway at Seven Springs Resort in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, is just around the corner, Aug. 4-6, 2017. The weekend event, centered in Southern Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, includes two days of riding, eating and just generally hanging out with like-minded vintage motorcycle enthusiasts. We’ve mapped out a great ride taking us through the region’s mostly unknown Amish territory, an area punctuated by stunning farms and miles of incredible back-country roads, and having just made the run we can tell you this year’s event will be every bit as beautiful and relaxing as last year’s, which drew 83 vintage bike enthusiasts.

Joining us this year is special guest Mark Mederski, the former executive director of the American Motorcycle Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame and now special projects director at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. We’ll kick off the weekend Friday evening with a welcome reception and dinner, and we’ll have a post-ride banquet dinner on Saturday, with Mederski joining editor Richard Backus for a relaxed discussion about the National Motorcycle Museum, vintage motorcycle collecting and Mederski’s decades-long career in motorcycling, one that’s put him face-to-face with some of the biggest names in the game, picking up more than a few interesting stories along the way.

We’ll take a shorter but no less exhilarating ride around the Laurel Highlands area on Sunday, leaving everyone plenty of time to make their way back home after a fantastic weekend of riding.

Can’t bring your own bike? Not a problem, because RetroTours will once again have a limited selection of classic 1970s motorcycles available for rent, including models from Ducati, Triumph, Norton and more. Check out the 25-strong RetroTours stable at retrotours.com, but don’t wait too long because rentals are limited on a first come, first served basis. And if you’re looking for total vintage immersion, check out the RetroTours Seven Springs ride, a 500-mile round-trip romp to our event from RetroTours headquarters in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, riding RetroTours’ classic ’70s motorcycles.

RetroTours joins us this year as an official sponsor of the event, along with the great people from Bonhams auction house, Federal Motorcycle Transport, Pecard Leather Care and Spectro Performance Oils.

August will be here before you know it, so get more details and reserve your spot for the 2nd Annual Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway now at MotorcycleClassics.com/RideEvent, where you’ll also find event updates and interactive ride routes as we get them posted. — Richard Backus

The Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway is sponsored by:

Bonhams logoRetroTours logo

Federal Motorcycle Transport logoPecard logoSpectro logo