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

Second-Ever Black Lightning Headlines Barber Auction

Vincent Black Lightning
The second-ever Vincent Black Lightning will be sold at Bonhams' Barber auction.

Rollie Free's capture of the "world's fastest production motorcycle" record in 1948 on a tuned Series B Black Shadow led directly to Vincent marketing a racer of similar specification to Free's machine: the Series C Black Lightning.

This Vincent Black Lightning — frame no. RC3548, engine no. F10AB/1C/1648 — was the second one built, completed in January 1949. It was ordered for Hans Stärkle, a rider for the NSU works team, during the Earls Court Motorcycle Show in October 1948, where the first Black Lightning was displayed on the Vincent Stand. Stärkle, who had already won three European Championships for NSU, raced RC3548 in the Unlimited Class with a sidecar attached. The Black Lightning was sold in May 1952 to a Mr. Amrein of Basel, Switzerland.

Amrein rode the Lightning to the works at Stevenage, England, to have it converted for road use, obtaining lights, silencer, pillion seat, footrests, etc. He sold the Vincent to its third owner, a Mr. Duffner of Weil am Rhein, Germany, in 1955. In 1961, the Black Lightning was sold to its fourth owner, a Mr. Kuttler, also from Weil am Rhein. After encountering engine trouble, Kuttler took the engine apart but never completed the repair, and in 1968 sold the machine to its present (fifth) owner, Ernst Hegeler.Ernst rebuilt the Vincent and had it road-registered in 1971. He covered approximately 30,000 accident-free miles on long-distance trips all across Europe.

By 2000, Ernst had decided to return the Black Lightning to its former glory and original racing specification. Ernst rode the Black Lightning exclusively on non-competitive presentation runs, with no accidents or technical failures whatsoever.

Now, after 50 years of enjoyable ownership, Ernst has decided to pass on this magnificent machine, which is still in pristine running condition, to the fortunate next owner. Bonhams is extraordinarily pleased to present RC3548 at their inaugural auction at the Barber Vintage Festival in Birmingham, Alabama, on Oct. 6, 2018.

Vincent Black Lightning

Motorcycle Classics Sunday Morning Ride at the Barber Vintage Festival

Motorcycles on the Barber Ride

Heading out from the Motorcycle Classics tent for a Sunday Morning Ride.

Join Motorcycle Classics for our Sunday Morning Ride at the 14th Annual Barber Vintage Festival on — when else — Sunday morning, Oct. 7, 2018. Sponsored by our good friends at Hagerty Motorcycle Insurance, the Motorcycle Classics Sunday Morning Ride is a casual 35-mile romp through the Alabama countryside, taking in Alabama’s “Mini-Dragon,” a spectacular section of curves and climbs just minutes from the Barber Motorsports Complex.

Hagerty’s Kyle Bowen will join us for the ride, which leaves the Motorcycle Classics tent in the Fan Zone at 10 a.m. sharp. Check out this year’s ride route by clicking here. There’s lots going on leading up to Sunday, including the Motorcycle Classics Vintage Bike Show on Saturday, Oct. 6, this year featuring Triumph and BSA triples in celebration of 50 years since Triumph first introduced the legendary 750cc 3-cylinder Trident and Rocket 3. All triples are welcome, whether from Triumph or Suzuki, BSA or Kawasaki, as are all Triumphs and BSAs.

And there’s more, because after announcing British frame builder Colin Seeley as Grand Marshal for the 14th Annual Barber Vintage Festival, the Barber Museum asked Motorcycle Classics to host a special gathering of Seeley motorcycles at our booth in the Fan Zone. If you own a Seeley and you’re planning on taking it to Barber, we’d like to hear from you and hopefully show your bike along with the other Seeleys that will be there.

Registration starts at 9 a.m., judging at 1:30 p.m., and we’ll hold our awards ceremony at 3 p.m. Guest judges will include Barber Museum’s Brian Slark, motorcycle journalist Alan Cathcart, and Mark Mederski from the National Motorcycle Museum, with a special appearance by festival Grand Marshal Colin Seeley! We’ll award trophies in five categories, with special awards for Best Triple and Editors’ Choice.

We’re also hosting special tech seminars Friday and Saturday. Starting at 1 p.m. on Friday, vintage Japanese motorcycle specialist Rick Shaw of Rick’s Motorsport Electrics will share his extensive knowledge working with charging systems, explaining what you need to know about vintage Japanese charging systems and how to improve them. Starting at noon on Saturday, Race Tech Suspension’s vintage suspension specialist Matt Wiley will discuss the ins and outs of vintage motorcycle suspensions, and how to improve them.

A special thanks to our sponsors at Spectro Oils, Hagerty Motorcycle Insurance, Pecard Leather Care and S100 Cycle Care for helping to make it all happen! These are great companies run by passionate motorcyclists, and we encourage you to learn more about them and their excellent products.

The Motorcycle Classics Vintage Bike Show
and Sunday Morning Ride are sponsored by:

SpectroHagerty logoPecardS100 logo

2018 Motorcycle Classics Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

Group photo at the Getaway

Participants in the 3rd Annual Motorcycle Classics Ride Em, Don’t Hide Em Getaway line up for a group photo at the top of the Johnstown Incline in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

The 3rd Annual Motorcycle Classics Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway happened Aug. 10-12, 2018. Sixty-four riders on 58 classic bikes joined the editors of Motorcycle Classics and special guest Alan Cathcart for a 130-mile ride to the Johnstown Incline in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a fascinating and obscure bit of Americana reached via miles of beautiful backcountry roads.

Truth be told, just a few days before our ride, we were wondering if would even happen. Although rain is always in the offing in Southwestern Pennsylvania — and particularly in the Laurel Highlands area where our ride headquartered — this year has seen more wet days than normal. On Thursday, just two days before our ride to Johnstown, the local forecast called for a 90 percent chance for rain on Saturday and an 80 percent chance on Sunday. It’s one thing to get caught in the rain, but another to start out in it, and we really didn’t like what we were seeing.

Miraculously, Saturday dawned not exactly bright owing to the fog that had settled in the surrounding valleys, but decidedly clear of rain, and our group made the trip to Johnstown and back without issue and dry as a bone. In fact, the sun actually broke through while we were having lunch at Asiago’s Tuscan Grill at the top of the incline, a beautiful location overlooking historic Johnstown, once the steel manufacturing capital of the world, the old mill buildings still dominating the cityscape.

We ended the day back at ride headquarters Seven Springs Resort, where we gathered for a banquet dinner and listened as international motorcycle journalist Alan Cathcart filled us in on some of the more interesting experiences in his 40-year career. The next day we hit the road again, and the weather was even better, with rapidly clearing skies as we headed south and looped through the Laurel Highlands, swinging back north past architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Falling Waters and back to Seven Springs.

A special shout out to Spectro Performance Oils, Pecard Motorcycle Leather Care, Bonhams, RetroTours, Hagerty Motorycle Insurance and Federal Motorcycle Transport for helping make it happen. These folks are all serious motorcycle enthusiasts, and their support makes a good time even better.

It was an amazing weekend, with miles of great roads and a great time spent in the company of fellow enthusiasts. Food, fellowship and fun; it really doesn’t get any better than that. We’ll have a full report in the November/December 2018 issue, and we’re already busy making plans for the 4th Annual Getaway in 2019! Stay tuned!

Colin Seeley at the Barber Vintage Festival

Barry Schanberger

Barry Schanberger took top honors for his 1968 Norton Fastback at last year’s Motorcycle Classics Vintage Bike Show at Barber.

The 14th Annual Barber Vintage Festival, the largest vintage motorcycle event in North America and attended by 70,000-plus enthusiasts in 2017, happens Oct. 5-7, 2018, at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Alabama, with famed British builder Colin Seeley this year’s Grand Marshal. A successful AJS dealer, Seeley raced sidecars in the late ’50s and early ’60s before moving into frame building. A huge fan of then-popular British singles, he bought all the tooling and spares for the overhead cam Matchless 350cc and 500cc singles (and the Norton Manx; he later sold those rights) after AMC closed its race shops in 1963. He started producing complete bikes in 1966, and his Seeley specials represented the very best in handling and were raced at tracks across the U.K., Europe and the U.S. He later produced frames to house Honda’s CB750 Four.

Seeley will also be guest of honor at the Barber Museum’s Friday night Motorcycles by Moonlight fundraiser, and we’re anticipating his presence at the Motorcycle Classics tent during our Saturday Vintage Bike Show, which this year puts the spotlight on Triumph and BSA triples, with triples of all makes encouraged to join us. We’ll award trophies in five categories, plus special awards for Best Triple and Editors’ Choice. Barber restoration expert and former Norton employee Brian Slark will join us for judging.

This year’s Motorcycle Classics technical seminars will be led by vintage Japanese motorcycle electrical specialist Rick Shaw from Rick’s Motorsports Electrics, explaining what you need to know about vintage Japanese charging systems and how to improve them, and Race Tech Suspension’s vintage suspension guru Matt Wiley, who will discuss the ins and outs of vintage motorcycle suspensions and how to improve them.

Colin Seeley

Racer and builder Colin Seeley is this year’s Grand Marshal.

The Motorcycle Classics Sunday Morning Ride, sponsored by our good friends at Hagerty Motorcycle Insurance, also returns. The ride leaves our tent at 10 a.m., Sunday, and will take us on a fun, 35-mile run through the surrounding backcountry, including Alabama’s “Mini-Dragon,” a reference to North Carolina’s famous Tail of the Dragon.

Racers will take to Barber’s 2.3-mile track in AHRMA’s National Historic Cup Roadrace Series, with vintage motocross, observed and cross country races happening in the surrounding fields and woods. The American Motor Drome Company’s Wall of Death returns, as does the Globe of Death, and look for the Ace Corner at Turn 17, where you’ll find a show within the show featuring café racers and custom builds. There will also be a Monster Energy Stunt Show, and KTM and BMW will host demo rides in Lot D.

Finally, Bonhams will host its first-ever auction at the Barber Motorsports Museum on Saturday. The featured lot for the auction is the second-ever Vincent Black Lightning, engine No. F10AB/1C/1648. Built in 1949 for NSU factory racer Hans Stärkle, the Vincent was converted to road trim in 1952, but is now in its original factory racing form. No word yet on how many bikes will be offered, but given Bonhams’ reputation for rare and significant motorcycles you can bet it will be an interesting sale.

We say this every year, and we mean it: If you can make only one event in 2018, this is the one. For more scheduling information and event updates visit and

Upcoming Vintage Motorcycle Events: September/October 2018

upcoming events September October

8/31 Back for its 13th year, join us for the fun at the Bonneville Vintage GP, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, at the Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, Utah. Triumph and BSA Triples will be the featured marque of the Motorcycle Classics Vintage Motorcycle Show on Saturday, 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 Le Mans starts both days.

9/1 Visit the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head, Maine, for the Vintage Motorcycle Festival and Antique Aeroplane Show, Sept. 1-2. Owners of pre-1998 motorcycles are encouraged to exhibit and will be admitted free of charge. In 2017 the show attracted more than 400 exhibitors throughout the weekend, along with antique planes and more.

9/9 Visit the 36th annual Battle of the Brits Car Show and Swap Meet at Camp Dearborn in Milford, Michigan. This event regularly draws more than 200 bikes and 300 cars. Classic British, European and pre-1984 American bikes are invited to be a part of the show. Food and beverages will be available, along with on-site camping.

9/15 Join all the good folks and classic bikes at the Modern Classics Ride-In on Saturday, Sept. 15, in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. More than 100 vintage and custom bikes are expected. No judging, no classes and no awards, just a fun day of checking out vintage bikes with friends, food and more.

9/16 Visit the 35th Annual Italian Motorcycle Owners Club 2018 Rally in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, with Laverda as the featured marque. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All Italian bikes and scooters are invited, and the show benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Judging is at noon for rally classes.

9/30 Join the Old Capitol Lions Club for their 3rd annual Monterey Peninsula Vintage Motorcycle Show on Sunday, Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Del Rey Oaks, California. Bring your vintage bike to display. All proceeds benefit the Blind & Visually Impaired Center of Monterey County.

10/5 Join us for the 14th Annual Barber Vintage Festival at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Alabama. The show runs through Oct. 7 and will feature AHRMA road racing, the American Motor Drome Wall of Death, Ace Corner, the swap meet and more. Our Motorcycle Classics bike show on Saturday will feature more than a dozen awards, with the Triumph and BSA Triples as our featured models.

10/19 Attend the 16th Annual Harvest Classic European & Vintage Motorcycle Rally in Luckenbach, Texas. Registration starts Friday afternoon, and you can camp at the location Friday and Saturday night. The swap meet runs both days. Friday afternoon the 100cc Fun Run will take place, and Friday evening enjoy live music. Saturday is the big day, with the bike show, vintage trials, a home-cooked barbecue, music, raffles, a live auction and an outdoor motorcycle movie that night. The Globe of Death will also be running shows both afternoons.

Sept. 7-9 — 22nd Annual Radnor Hunt Concours d'Elegance. Malvern, PA.

Sept. 7-9 — Southern California Norton Owners Club High Sierras Ride. Leaves from Mariposa, CA.

Sept. 7-9 — Thunder in the Smokies Fall Rally. Maggie Valley, NC.

Sept. 7-9 — AHRMA Roadracing at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway. Munford, AL.

Sept. 8-9 — 29th Annual Classic British Motorcycle Club of Cincinnati Vintage Motorcycle Rally. Burlington, KY.

Sept. 9 — Rice-O-Rama Vintage and Custom Japanese Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet. Spencer, MA.

Sept. 15 — 10th Annual Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show. Paso Robles, CA.

Sept. 23 — 7th Annual Motorado Classic Motorcycle Show. Santa Fe, NM.

Sept. 28-29 — White Rose Motorcycle Club Antique Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet. Spring Grove, PA.

Oct. 13 — El Camino Vintage Motorcycle Show & Swap Meet, Torrance, CA.

Nov. 4 — 39th Annual Hansen Dam All Brit Ride. Near Glendale, CA.

Motorcycle Classics wants to know about classic motorcycle shows, swap meets, road runs and more. Send details of upcoming events at least three months in advance to

2018 Vintage Motorcycle Days and Ride & Show

Motorcycle parts at the swap meet

Engines, forks, frames, fenders … if you can’t find it at the Vintage Motorcycle Days swap meet, well, good luck!

The 2018 Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 6-8, lived up to its reputation as one of the largest and greatest vintage motorcycle events in the country, drawing thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for a weekend of riding, racing and sharing their passion for motorcycling. Vendors packed the field for the annual swap meet — the largest in the U.S. — and attendees checked out the bike shows and other vendors at the Old Bike Barn Crossroads in the infield.

Motorcycle Classics pitched its tent in the Old Bike Barn Crossroads, organizing Friday’s Ride & Show, with a leisurely 25-mile ride through the surrounding Ohio countryside followed by a short recognition ceremony for the winners in our three categories, Best Restored, Best Rider and Editors’ Choice. Last minute changes in our plans meant we had to fly to Ohio instead of drive, but our good friends at Janus Motorcycles came to the rescue, loaning ad man Shane Powers and editor Backus Janus bikes for the Motorcycle Classics ride.

Organized by the American Motorcyclist Association, Vintage Motorcycle Days was founded in the 1990s as a way to raise money to support the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which promotes the heritage of motorcycling in the U.S.

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.

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

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