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Contrary to popular belief, Northern California does not end at San Francisco. The roads into and out of Humboldt County, about five hours north of San Francisco, are lined with redwood trees and ocean, and the Humboldt Bay Classic motorcycle show, sponsored by North Coast Cycle of Eureka, Calif., takes pride in being the only vintage motorcycle show of its type in more than a 250-mile radius.
A 1950 BMW R25 with sidecar at the Humboldt Bay Classic motorcycle show, owned by Becky Fisher of Blue Lake, Calif.
Held in the autumn each year — taking advantage of Humboldt County's best weather — the show pays homage to bikes of all makes, built in 1985-and-earlier. Some gems from the third annual event included a 1943 BMW R75 with sidecar owned by Stefan Fisher of Blue Lake, Calif., and Bruce Braly of Eureka's 1968 Yamaha DT1 and 1978 Yamaha XT500. Peter Dubaldi of Eureka took home gold medals for his 1981 Husqvarna 250XC and 1979 SWM RS250GS TF1, the latter of which also picked up the Promotor's Choice award. A 1966 Triton, owned by Karl Sperling of Arcata, Calif, took a gold medal in the Chopper/Bobber/Custom category. The Triton, built by North Coast Cycle, also took Best Cafe Racer at the 2012 Clubman's All-British Motorcycle Show in San Jose, Calif.
1968 Yamaha DT1, owned by Bruce Braly of Eureka, Calif.
Judges mull over Peter Dubaldi's 1979 SWM RS250GS TF1, which won a gold medal in the Dirt Racer category, and took the Promotor's Choice ribbon.
Bikes shown in the Humboldt Bay Classic are judged based on their own merits — for example: originality, quality of workmanship, rideability — as opposed to being judged against each other. As a result, a single category may have multiple gold medals, or none at all.
This 1966 Triton, owned by Karl Sperling of Arcata, Calif. took home a gold medal.
Set right on the picturesque Humboldt Bay and surrounded by historic Woodley Island Marina, the 2012 Classic drew fans of vintage motorcycles, good music, and delicious local microbrews. Proceeds from this year's event benefited North Star Quest Camp, a non-profit summer camp for middle school-aged girls.
Aside from motorcycle-only swap booths, local food vendors, and microbrews from Lost Coast Brewery, Six Rivers Brewery and Mad River Brewing Company, the Humboldt Bay Classic offered live music from local bands Gunsafe and Slingshot, and music of all genres by DJ Gabe Pressure.
The Humboldt Bay Classic will return in September of 2013 with more show bikes, music, vendors and entertainment.
Photos by Debbie Topping and Greg O'Leary.