Meet at the Ace: Great bikes and a great ride

| 8/29/2012 8:59:19 AM

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Meet at the Ace Matchless 
A stunning 1939 Matchless at the 2012 Meet at the Ace at the LeMay in Tacoma, Wash. 

Picture-perfect weather and 200-plus vintage bikes greeted attendees to the inaugural Meet at the Ace Vintage Motorcycle Festival at the LeMay vintage car museum in Tacoma, Wash., Saturday, Aug. 25. Hosted by the LeMay museum in partnership with Mark and Linda Wilsmore and Ace Café London, the event was the museum’s first to celebrate vintage motorcycles.

You couldn’t have asked for better weather, with temperatures in the mid-70s all day and barely a cloud in the sky as participants strolled around the museum’s 3.5 acre show field taking in an impressive selection of machines. Bikes on hand ranged from an immaculately restored 1954 Vincent Black Lightning to Roy Ivalters’ lovely and very original 1965 Honda 305 Dream, which, incidently, took 1st Place in the Japanese category. Best of Show went to Ron Rumbolz’s fantastic 1963 Norton Atlas.

1963 Norton Atlas 
1963 Norton Atlas with period fairing took Best in Show.  

Former Cycle World editor-in-chief David Edwards led judges through the task of assessing the bikes and rendering a verdict. I was fortunate to be one of those judges, along with former Isle of Man TT racer Mark Gardiner, Motorcycle Classics regular contributor Robert Smith, the Cretins Motorcycle Club’s Kevin Wiebusch and collector and vintage bike restorer Dennis Merwood.

The quality of bikes on hand was excellent, and in the end we were able to narrow down our top three choices in 13 categories. My favorite of the show? Hands down it was Terry Johnson’s completely original, 15,000-mile 1948 Harley-Davidson S-125, which took 1st Place in the American category. Bought new by an uncle who then rode it from his home in the Midwest to Seattle, it has a unique history in having been shipped around the world in a sub when said uncle took it with him on assignment with the Navy. Abandoned in a shed for some 30 years, Terry says that after a simple cleaning and flushing it started on the third kick.