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AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2018

Motorcyclists in a group

Make plans now to join Motorcycle Classics at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 6-8, 2018. We’ll host the Motorcycle Classics Ride & Show on Friday, July 6, the perfect way to kick off an incredible weekend of all things vintage motorcycles, including the largest motorcycle swap meet in the U.S., with motorcycles and motorcycle parts spread over a staggering 35 acres adjoining Mid-Ohio. The granddaddy of all vintage motorcycle events, you need to put it on your calendar.

The Motorcycle Classics Ride & Show begins at 10 a.m. in the infield, with bikes and riders gathering at our tent before heading out at noon for a 50-mile ride on the area’s back roads, and returning to the show grounds for a recognition and awards ceremony. Trophies will be awarded for Best Restored, Best Rider and Editors’ Choice. No additional fee or preregistration is required to participate.

Not sure your bike is show ready? Don’t sweat it, because the Motorcycle Classics Ride & Show is as much about the ride as it is the show, and maybe more. Whether you ride a ’54 Harley Panhead or a 2015 Ducati Monster, we’d love to have you join us. We don’t care what you ride, just as long as you do, and thanks to Janus Motorcycles, editors Hall and Backus will each ride one of Janus’ new hand built retro-vintage singles. Janus is also helping with a support vehicle in case anyone has trouble during the ride. If you don’t already know about these guys, check out our article on the new Janus Gryffin, and make sure to come check out the bikes and meet the folks from Janus at our show. They’re a great group of hardcore enthusiasts, something you have to be to do what they’re doing!

This really is one of the great events on the vintage calendar. A mecca for vintage motorcycle fans since its founding in the mid-1990s, VMD regularly draws crowds of 40,000-plus, making it second only to the Barber Vintage Festival in size and scope. Vintage racing fills the weekend, with riders competing on the 2.4-mile Mid-Ohio track in the AMA Vintage Grand Championship and out in the field in great motocross, hare scrambles, trials and dirt-track racing. VMD also hosts the largest swap meet in North America, covering some 35 acres! The amount of vintage gear being traded boggles the mind: If you're looking for that last obscure part to complete your restoration, chances are good you'll find it at VMD. An amazing event, it has a grassroots vibe that only comes from being the real deal. This is truly one of the greatest events of the year, and as always, proceeds from the event benefit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Upcoming Vintage Motorcycle Events: July/August 2018

upcoming vintage motorcycle events

7/6 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days returns to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, July 6-8, 2018. Enjoy the AMA Vintage Road Racing Grand Championships along with motocross, hare scrambles, trials and flat track racing. The event includes America's largest motorcycle swap meet, the Wall of Death, bike shows, stunt shows, demo rides, seminars and the Motorcycle Classics Vintage Ride and Show on Friday. Join us in the infield starting at 10 a.m. for the show. Then at noon we'll head out for a 50-mile ride on lovely back roads to a lunch spot. After that we'll return to our show grounds for an awards ceremony.

7/13 Visit the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey, July 13-15, for the 6th 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.

8/10 Join the editors of Motorcycle Classics for the 3rd 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. 10-12. We'll stay at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, meeting up Friday and riding through the weekend.

8/31 Back for its 13th year, join in the fun at the Bonneville Vintage GP, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, at the Utah Motorsports Campus (formerly the Miller Motorsports Park) in Tooele, Utah. Triples will be the feature of the Motorcycle Classics Vintage Motorcycle Show on Saturday, celebrating 50 years since the introduction of the Triumph triple, 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.

July 6-8 British Motorcycle Club Owners of Canada 35th Annual Vintage MC Rally and Camp Out. Riondel, British Columbia, Canada.

July 12-15 — 46th Annual BMW MOA International Rally. Des Moines, IA.

July 13-15 — 27th Annual MGNOC Iowa Rally. Elkader, IA.

July 13-15 — New York Moto Guzzi Rally. Mountain View, NY.

July 16-19 — INOA Tall Timber Rally. Elma, WA.

July 20-22 — 38th Annual British Biker Cooperative Rally & Show. Blue River, WI.

July 22 — Jeff Williams MC Swap Meet. Kansas City, MO.

Aug. 3-5 — Massachusetts Moto Guzzi Damn Yankee Rally. Heath, MA.

Aug. 3-5 — 34th Annual Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Riders Rally. Lake Joy Campground, Belmont, WI.

Aug. 3-5 — Ohio Valley BSA Owners Club 37th Annual Rally. Toronto, OH.

Aug. 4 —6th Annual Kansas City VJMC Midwest Regional Show. New Century, KS.

Aug. 16-19 — MGNOC New Mexico State Rally. Datil, NM.

Aug. 18 — Kansas City All 2-Stroke Rally. Lee's Summit, MO.

Aug. 19 British Iron Association of Connecticut 33rd Annual Brit Jam. Haddam Neck, CT.

Aug. 24-26 — Ontario Guzzi Riders Rally. Lavigne, Ontario, Canada.

Aug. 25-30 — Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials AMA Land Speed Grand Championship. Wendover, UT.

Aug. 26 — Jeff Williams MC Swap Meet. Kansas City, MO.

Aug. 28-Sept. 1 — GWRRA 40th Annual Wing Ding. Knoxville, TN.


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.

Alan Cathcart joins the Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway

sidecar

From left: Editor Richard Backus and son, Charlie, with Andrew Cathcart and his dad, Alan Cathcart, special guest at this year’s Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway, Aug. 10-12, 2018.

Alan Cathcart, unquestionably one of the — if not the — best-known motorcycle journalists in the world, will join us as our special guest for the 3rd Annual Motorcycle Classics Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, Aug. 10-12, 2018.

A recipient of the Guild of Motoring Writers Journalist of the Year Award, Cathcart, a longtime motorcycle enthusiast who started out pursuing a career in law and then working in the travel industry, has been an influential voice in motorcycling since diving head first into the scene as a journalist and test rider in the 1980s.

An accomplished rider who's raced against some of the best at circuits including Daytona and the Isle of Man, Cathcart started racing in 1974, aboard a Ducati 350 single. A winner of the Sound of Thunder World Series, he also raced for Yamaha, at the same time building his career as one of motorcycling's foremost journalists. His abilities behind the handlebars and the typewriter have earned him an enviable reputation, with invitations to ride everything from modern factory race bikes to historic vintage machines. A moving force in the British vintage bike scene, Sir Alan, as he's fondly called thanks to his British background and impeccable manners, continues to ride and test both new and vintage machines to this day, a job he's not likely to give up soon.

A regular contributor to Motorcycle Classics, Cathcart also helps with judging at our vintage bike show at the annual Barber Vintage Festival, and we're thrilled that he's happily agreed to join us for this year's Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway. We'll kick things off on Friday evening with a welcome reception and dinner, then rest up for the Saturday ride. After a full breakfast on Saturday morning, we'll head north to the historic city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a steel-industry town that at one time out-produced better-known industry leaders including Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Ohio. An 1889 flood devastated the city, but its steel industry rebounded.

Saturday's ride will see us riding down amazing back roads from Seven Springs to Johnstown, entering from the West for a lunch stop at the famous Johnstown Incline, followed by a ride on the incline. Built in 1891 and billed as the world's steepest vehicular inclined plane, the 897-foot-long incline has a 70.9 percent grade. A 400 horsepower electric motor pulls two cars, counter-weighted to balance out the load on the motor, one car going up while the other goes down. It's an incredible piece of vintage technology and the views of Johnstown and the Conemaugh River valley are amazing.

After lunch we'll head back to Seven Springs, taking a different but no less beautiful route, winding our way along the area's two-lane blacktop roads. Back at Seven Springs, we'll gather for a postride banquet dinner, with Cathcart joining editor Richard Backus for what's certain to be an entertaining and informative discussion of Cathcart's amazing career in the motorcycle industry as racer, test rider and journalist.

We'll gather again for breakfast on Sunday morning, then head back out on the road for another beautiful ride through the surrounding Laurel Highlands. We hope to offer two routes on Sunday, a shorter one for folks who need to leave early and a longer one for those with a little more time to kill before heading home.

Need a bike? Ride sponsor RetroTours has a limited selection of classic 1970s motorcycles available for rent, including bikes from Ducati, Triumph, Norton, Yamaha, Honda, BMW and more. Check out the 25-strong stable on its website, but don't wait too long, because rentals are available on a first come, first served basis. Want to pile on even more miles? RetroTours will lead a 600-mile round-trip tour to Seven Springs from its headquarters in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, through the seemingly forgotten backcountry of Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

We'll also be joined by our good friends at Bonhams Auctions, Federal Motorcycle Transport, Pecard Motorcycle Leather Care and Spectro Performance Oils, passionate motorcycle enthusiasts and enthusiastic sponsors of our annual ride. Reserve your spot now on the Seven Springs website, where you'll also find updates and interactive ride routes as we get them posted. See you there!

Motoblot 2018

Motoblot 2018 flyer

Make plans now to join Motorcycle Classics in Chicago, Illinois, for the Motoblot Urban Motorcycle & Hot Rod Street Rally, June 22-24, 2018. Motorcycle Classics is sponsoring the Motoblot Ride-In Motorcycle & Hot Rod Show, with a special Editor's Choice award and trophies in six other categories. The Motoblot Film Festival runs all weekend, and there's a beer hall, plenty of food trucks and vendors galore. Definitely not to be missed!

Vintage Motorcycle Days 2018

Triumph motorcycle

Make plans now to join Motorcycle Classics at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 6-8, 2018. Plans are set for the Motorcycle Classics Ride & Show on Friday, July 6, our first at Mid-Ohio in years and a perfect way to kick off this incredible weekend of all things vintage motorcycles, including the largest motorcycle swap meet in the U.S., with motorcycles and motorcycle parts spread over a staggering 35 acres adjoining Mid-Ohio. The granddaddy of all vintage motorcycle events, you need to put it on your calendar. To see all the shows we’ll attending this year go to MotorcycleClassics.com/2018-shows

Group of motorcycles

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering 2018

1913 Flying Merkel
Best of Show winner, Douglas and Marian McKenzie’s 1913 Flying Merkel Twin.

Douglas and Marian McKenzie’s 1913 Flying Merkel Twin — which the McKenzies owned previously before buying it back a few years ago — took Best of Show at this year’s The Quail Motorcycle Gathering at The Quail Lodge in Monterey, California, on Saturday, May 5. Wearing the famous orange livery for which Merkels are known, the 1913 twin was a standout among the 350 spectacular machines gracing The Quail Lodge’s manicured lawn for the 10th anniversary of what’s become the most prestigious vintage motorcycle event in the U.S.

As we’ve come to expect, The Quail showcases some of the most beautiful and historically important motorcycles ever to roll on two wheels, including models from Vincent, Honda, Harley-Davidson, MV Agusta and more. And it’s not just about vintage bikes, either. This year’s four featured classes included bikes from the private collection of famed builder Arlen Ness, electric motorcycles, vintage and contemporary café racers, and a special nod to the Ducati Monster, now celebrating its 25th year of production.

Arlen Ness' custom Harley-Davidson
Spectacular Harley-Davidson custom from famed builder Arlen Ness.

The selection of machines on display was truly eclectic, including a selection of rotary-powered bikes from Hercules, Norton (including an F1 and a Classic) and Suzuki, with two perfectly preserved RE5s on hand. The selection of Japanese machines was strong, as were, predictably, machines from England, with at least a half dozen Vincents lined up on the British section of the lawn. This year’s Innovation Award went to Curtiss, formerly Confederate Cycles, which displayed its planned electric-powered 2020 Curtiss Zeus. Looking like something out of Tron, the Curtiss Zeus is an interesting take on the possible future for limited production, high-performance electric motorcycles.

The annual Design and Style Award went to Tony Prust and Analog Motorcycles for Tony’s spectacular 1968 Ducati 250 custom, while Jackson Burrows nabbed the Industry Award for his incredible 1960 Harley-Davidson Super 10, its pedestrian 2-stroke HD roots barely discernible after having been transformed into a piece of two-wheeled art.

Lee Hoffseth's 1974 MV Agusta 750S
Lee Hoffseth took second in the Italian category for his perfectly running 1974 MV Agusta 750S, which he’s owned since new.

Clyde Crouch won both the Spirit of the Quail Award and HVA Preservation Award for his 1920 ex-Burt Munro streamliner, made famous in the 2005 movie The World’s Fastest Indian, and Siobhan Ellis — dressed in a period Star Trek-inspired outfit — took the Extraordinary Bicycles/Scooter Award for a 1969 Lambretta Vega. A futuristically styled scooter that flopped on the market, only a few hundred Vegas were made and even fewer survive. And Honda’s little CT70, beloved by young aspiring riders across the U.S. back in the day, got its just due, Steve Mast’s perfect 1971 model taking the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award.

An estimated 3,000-plus enthusiasts made the trek for the annual event, which also included a special Friday ride to Laguna Seca for a lap of the track for those lucky enough to sign up in time. Amazing motorcycles and a beautiful location, it really doesn’t get much better than this. The 2019 event is scheduled for May 4, 2019. More info at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering events page. — Richard Backus

Tony Prust's 1968 Ducati 250
Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles won the Design and Style Award for his 1968 Ducati 250 custom.

Siobhan Ellis' 1969 Lambretta Vega
Siobhan Ellis nabbed the Extraordinary Bicycles/Scooter Award for this 1969 Lambretta Vega. Nice Star Trek getup.

Jackson Burrows' 1960 Harley-Davidson Super 10
Jackson Burrows and his heavily customized 1960 HD Super 10, which took this year’s Industry Award.

Dunstall Norton Commando 810
Dunstall Norton Commando 810.

1958 Ariel Square Four
Fantastic 1958 Ariel Square Four.

Pair of MV Agusta singles
Contrast; a restored and a barn-find MV Agusta single.

Group of rotary motorcycles
Two Hercules rotaries front a Norton F1 and Classic rotary and a pair of Suzuki RE5 rotaries.

Brian Schindler's 1995 Buell S-2
Buell enthusiast Brian Schindler brought a pair of Buells, including this 1995 S-2 with 79,000 miles on the clock.

Behind the Vintage Tour Cross

Classic bikes

Prepping vintage enduros for a 350-mile road trip and race requires more than just good planning; you need good parts and gear, too. Photos by Seth DeDoes.

Two days and 350 road miles hauling luggage followed by a day of motocross racing is a lot to ask of a trio of 42- to 48-year-old vintage enduro bikes and their riders. For this reason, we took as many precautions as possible before departing to ensure a safe and successful trip. Here are some of the specific products we needed and the suppliers who supported our adventure.

Tenacious Tires: Regardless of displacement or horsepower, ultimately, a motorcycle’s tires do all the work. They must grip wet and dry pavement, and on the MX track master hard-pack, sand, mud and loam. Fortunately, Dunlop makes a wide range of dirt-loving knobbies, including the DOT-certified D606. Available in numerous sizes, modern Dunlops well satisfied our needs, and amazingly fit the old bikes nearly to a “T.” Best of all, they finished the long tour with little wear, and then with pressures lowered, worked great on Hollister’s Grand Prix track. Go to dunlopmotorcycletires.com

Fail-Safe Chains: Old drive chains that look okay externally can be internally compromised by rust — with possible broken links the result. This can be way more than just inconvenient, as a broken chain can puncture an engine case or worse, lock the rear wheel. To avoid this, we fitted Regina Professional Cross Supermoto chains before our trip. Designed for modern bikes, they were totally capable of handling the output of our classic engines. The Honda needed a 530 chain, while the OSSA and Suzuki took the more common 520 size, which we trimmed to fit with a Regina chain breaker. Go to reginachain.net

John L. Stein rigging up lights

John L. Stein rigs up lights on the go after the lighting coil on his OSSA failed.

Essential Oils: Lucas Oil makes lubricants for every motor application imaginable. We stocked up with Semi-Synthetic 2-Cycle Oil, 80W/85W Transmission Oil, Synthetic Fork Oil, Chain Lube, Contact Cleaner, Brake Parts Cleaner and Tool Box Buddy (a multipurpose aerosol) for our pre-ride servicing. And then used it all — including Slick Mist Speed Wax — on the road and during our frantic repairs in the pits. Go to lucasoil.com

Racy Numbers: Besides our personal gear attached to the bikes, the piece de resistance was three sets of racing number plates and custom Fastlane MX Vintage Ovals graphics. Super easy to spec and order online, the durable 9x11-inch graphics were likewise simple to apply. Go to fastlanemx.com

Creative Storage: Unless you ride a tourer like a Gold Wing Interstate or BMW R100RT, safely bundling a sleeping bag, clothes and incidentals onto a classic bike can be trying. We found a great solution in Aerostich’s Tank Panniers. The tough, semi-rigid 1,000-denier nylon bags dropped effortlessly over the Savage’s gas tank, and across the rear of the XL350 seat. The included bungee cords — plus some additional Aerostich heavy-duty bungees — safely secured both panniers and sleeping bags. To the tail section of the Pioneer, I attached a Cortech Super 2.0 Tail Bag, whose soft neoprene pad protected the original Spanish lacquer and pinstripes. Go to aerostich.com and cortech.net

Riding protected

Selecting riding gear suitable for both touring and motocross proved a challenge, considering that in our case, temperatures ranged from the 40s to the 80s. Packing layers, and then choosing the right helmets, jackets, boots and gloves, proved key. Here’s a selection of products used on the inaugural Vintage Tour Cross.

Hand-Picked Helmets: Owing to the combination of road and track riding, Randy and Deborah both elected for HJC’s DS-X1 full-face, dual-sport adventure helmet with flip-up visor, which they replaced with Scott goggles at Hollister. Well acquainted with unexpected swan-dives onto terra firma while dirt riding, I chose the DOT-certified Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex, which additionally protects against glancing blows that can result from such low-speed falls. Happily, though, the OSSA and I stayed upright on both road and track! Go to hjchelmets.com and bellhelmets.com

Do-It-All Goggles: On the MX track, Scott Hustle MX goggles with Chrome Lenses gave everyone good comfort and UV protection, while guarding against airborne dust and rocks. Although during the long highway days, my dirt-oriented helmet’s open eye port added some wind blast around the face. A car racer, Randy was smart to bring a couple of balaclavas; donning one reduced airflow over the face, lowered audible noise, and added warmth. Winner! Go to scott-sports.com

Repairing a Suzuki

Stein and crew work on Randy Pobst’s Suzuki after a piston failure.

Snug, Safe Jackets: For the tour, Randy wore a Tourmaster Transition 4 Jacket and I chose a Cortech Sequoia XC Jacket. Both feature a 600-denier shell, internal armor, various pockets and vents, and zip-in thermal liners that earned their keep on the cold first evening above Ojai, and the next morning in Taft. Deborah went more traditional, snuggling into a Cortech Women’s LNX 2.0 Leather Jacket. Go to tourmaster.com and cortech.net

Dirt-Ready Boots: Protect your feet offroad, and you’ll be a happy rider. Randy and Deborah both used Cortech Accelerator XC boots for comfort on the road combined with safety in the dirt. As a modern MX rider, I went with pro-caliber Alpinestars Tech 10 boots. They’re heavy but ultra-comfortable, and most essentially, offer major protection for feet, ankles and shins. During my second Hollister moto, I hyperextended one foot in a rut and remain convinced the boot spared me real injury. Go to cortech.net and alpinestars.com

Cool Jerseys: We all wore padded jeans on the road and motocross track, but for breathability during the races, we packed lightweight Alpinestars Racer Supermatic Jerseys. Worn over body armor, they provided good abrasion protection while wicking away sweat. Randy and Deborah both tested the jerseys when they hit the ground during their MX races, and happily came away unscathed. Go to alpinestars.comJohn L. Stein