Seventy years ago, the skies above New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) were blanketed with P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, their pilots training at the adjacent Millville Army Air Field. The fighters are long gone, but this past July the epic sound of their Pratt & Whitney engines was replaced by the bark of Norton overhead cam singles, Indian V-twins and Honda fours as racers in the AHRMA/CPL Systems National Historic Cup Roadrace Series worked their way around the 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway course during the AHRMA Vintage Festival at NJMP.
The Motorcycle Classics Vintage Bike Show drew an impressive and eclectic selection of classic bikes, including a super rare 1975 Rokon 340cc flat track racer (number 13 of 36 made), a wild twin-engined 1958 Triumph drag bike, a 1975 Hercules W2000 rotary, the actual 1957 Earls Court Triumph Twenty-One show bike (with 3.5 kilometers on the clock!) and a 1974 Honda CT70 sporting a Honda Rebel 250 twin engine! The little Honda fooled more than a few people thanks to its nicely executed conversion, complete with faux “CT250” badges.
We loved Howard Edwards’ 1941 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead. A local bike since new, it has full history and Edwards has the original title and bill of sale. We were also taken with Randy Creel’s 1966 Wards Riverside Cobra Scrambler. The Benelli-built 125cc 2-stroke was beautifully restored and must be one of only a handful still in existence. Better yet, at the end of the day Creel, owner of Randy’s Cycle Service & Restoration in Rhoadesville, Virginia, let us take the Wards out for a quick spin. What a hoot!
The weekend crowds numbered around 3,000 people, a good showing for an event that just launched last year and was held on the same weekend as the granddaddy of vintage bike shows, Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio. A good time, and we’re looking forward to doing it all over again next year. We’ll post the 2015 event dates as soon as we know them. MC