If it’s July, it must be time for the Woodstock of classic bike shows, the American Motorcyclist Association’s (AMA) annual Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, July 25-27.
Hard as it is for some Triumph fans to believe, it was 40 years ago that the first Bonnevilles began rolling off the assembly line in England. Since then, Triumph has seen its ups and downs, yet save for a handful of specialty makers, Triumph is the sole survivor from a country that once boasted over 100 different motorcycle manufacturers that led the industry in technical and design innovation.
That makes the AMA’s decision to honor Triumph as the VMD Marque of the Year more than fitting, and thanks to VMD’s continuing — and deserved — reputation as Mecca for classic bikes fans, attendees can expect more classic Triumphs in one place at one time than they’re likely to experience again any time soon. Triumph will display some of its new bikes, naturally, and we’re especially looking forward to the planned highlight of pre-1980 Triumph café racers. In a nod to Triumph’s success with retro-themed bikes like the current Bonneville, Scrambler and Thruxton, café racer customs based on those bikes will also be welcome.
Better yet, owners of classic Triumphs who need a hand assessing condition, value and trends in restoration can bring their bikes to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum’s Vintage Triumph Road Show at the Motorhead Café on the track grounds. Randy Baxter, owner of Baxter Cycle and an acknowledged Triumph expert will help owners assess their machines and memorabilia. Baxter and the Hall of Fame Museum are particularly interested in getting owners of original, unrestored machines to attend. Don’t forget that proceeds from VMD go to support the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum and its efforts to preserve motorcycle history and culture.
Attendees can also look forward to an ocean of orange and red at VMD. The North American Laverda Owners Club (NALOC) is this year’s featured classic club, and will hold its 2008 rally at VMD. Better yet, club chairman Bob Andren tells us that Piero Laverda, who with brother Massimo made the sound of Laverda engines ring in the ears of motorcyclists everywhere, will be on hand. And it gets better still, because Piero, along with son Giovanni, will be showing off the famous Laverda V6 endurance racer, shipping it in from Italy for its first-ever North American appearance.
Singled out by some as a contributing factor in Laverda’s downfall thanks to the immense sums the Italian company supposedly spent on its development, the one and only V6 racer is one of the Breganze firm’s most famous machines. It will share the limelight at VMD with a 1,000cc triple factory endurance racer and a 500cc twin factory endurance racer, one of only three existing.
Laverda club members will also get to make daily parade laps of the track, plus the club plans a Saturday night banquet featuring Piero, Giovanni and Tim Parker, author of the coveted and long out of print "Green Book," the bible for Laverda owners. Editor Backus is threatening to ride his RGS to the show, so let’s get those Laverdas pointed toward Ohio and make this a real Breganze blowout. Bene!