Vintage MotoFest and Rockerbox 2017

Reader Contribution by Richard Backus
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Russ Larabee took home top honors in two categories — Best Café and People’s Choice — for his 1978 Honda CB750 café crafted by Godffrey’s Garage.

Wisconsin was the place to be last weekend as thousands of vintage motorcycle fans gathered for the annual Vintage MotoFest and Rockerbox Motorcycle Show at Road America race track outside Elkhart Lake, June 9-11, 2017. Big winds on Saturday threatened to pull more than a few tents off their moorings — we almost lost ours! — but the sun shone brightly as AHRMA racers made their way around Road America’s epic 4-mile road course while attendees took in their fill of great custom and vintage motorcycles.

Always one of our favorite events, this year’s show didn’t disappoint. We don’t have a count, but it felt like there were more bikes than ever in the Rockerbox Motorcycle Show, with bikes parked check to jowl along the access road leading to the Road America Center, a scene reminiscent of Rockerbox’s roots as a street show in Milwaukee starting in 2003. Bands played on stage in front of the Center all day, and a mini brewfest inside the Center provided ample opportunity to sample some of Wisconsin’s finest craft beers.

Motorcycle Classics headed up the judging for the show, with Tony Prust from Analog Motorcycles, Peter Lund from Retrospeed, Kevin Frank from the Brewtown Rumble and Build Moto Mentor Program, Rockerbox co-founder Scott Johnson from Fuel Café, and Motorcycle Classics’ Richard Backus sharing judging duties.

We added two categories for 2017, Best Restored and Best Rider, plus Tony Prust awarded the Analog Motorcycles Best in Show along with a $250 gift certificate from Analog. Trophies were awarded in five other categories including Best Café, Best Rat Bike, Best Scooter, Best Chopper and Best Race Bike, plus we awarded our annual Editor’s Choice, which this year went to Gary King for his awesome 1984 Jamie James Yamaha RZ350, one of two made. And Gary owns the other one.

Great bikes, great weather and a great location, the Vintage MotoFest and Rockerbox Show at Road America is a highlight of the year. Don’t miss it in 2018.

Gary Pritts got the vote for Best Rat Bike with his funky — and we mean that in the best way — 1946 Velocette powered by a Briggs & Stratton V-twin! There’s a story there …

Dominie Garofalo won Best Scooter with his 2007 Ruckus. Look closely at the paint job; it was done with a Sharpie.

Kevin Baumgart got the nod for Best Chopper for his really tasty old school chopper. Based on a 2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster, it was elegant and simple at the same time and really captured the essence of the chopper era.

Bob Martin took top honors in the Best Race Bike class for his 1970 Bultaco El Bandido.

Eric Trosper shows his winning form after getting our Best Rider award for his unrestored and regularly ridden 1937 Moto Guzzi GTV500.

Our award for Best Restored went to Steve Schilling for his immaculate 1965 BSA Lightning.

The Motorcycle Classics Editor’s Choice award went to Gary King for his spectacular 1984 Jamie James Yamaha RZ350.

Jake Drummond walked away with the Analog Motorcycles Best in Show award for his highly customized and beautifully executed 1973 Yamaha RD350.

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
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