The Bonneville Vintage GP returns to Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, Utah, Sept. 4-6, 2015. Launched in 2006 and the first motorcycle event on the calendar of the then just completed Miller Motorsports Park, the Bonneville Vintage GP quickly became a favorite of American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) racers, who stream in from both coasts to race under the desert sky at Miller. And this year, you can see it all for free.
In a first for any event of its type, Miller Motorsports Park officials have announced that anyone who rides their motorcycle into the park for the Bonneville Vintage GP will be admitted free. Really. Free. Just ride in, and you can take in one of the most anticipated vintage motorcycle events of the year, a two-day celebration of vintage motorcycles, with rounds 15 and 16 of the AHRMA/CPL Systems National Historic Cup Roadrace Series and two vintage motorcycle shows.
Motorcycle Classics will be there as we have since the very first event, holding our 10th Annual Bonneville Vintage GP Bike Show on Saturday, Sept. 5. Featured marque for this year’s show is Norton, celebrating 40 years since the last Norton, the fabled Commando 850, went out of production.
Helping celebrate the event and joining us as guest judge for our show is former Norton Motorcycles employee and current Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum restoration expert Brian Slark. Slark, who’s credited with making motocross racing popular in the U.S., was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 2012 and has led Barber’s restoration efforts since 1996. Slark’s history with Norton goes back to the late 1950s, when he was hired as a test rider for Associated Motorcycles, which purchased Norton in 1953. Slark moved to the U.S. in the early 1960s and eventually found himself heading up Norton’s U.S. service operations as national service manager. Slark will help us choose winners in six categories, including Best Norton, Best American, Best British, Best European, Best Japanese and Best Custom.
Sunday will see the Second Annual Salt Lake City Builds Custom Bike Show. Hosted by local custom builders and brothers Seth and Gavin Clark, founders of Salt Lake City Custom Builds, the show celebrates the burgeoning retro custom category, with prizes for Best Café Racer, Best Import, Best American, Best Hardtail, Best Softail and Best in Show. Local bikes clubs will run a helmet and gear check, giving attendees a safe and easy place to leave their gear while they check out the show, and as always there’s free motorcycle parking in the paddock.
Race highlights include Saturday and Sunday’s popular Battle of the CB160s featuring a traditional LeMans-style start where racers bump-start their engines before heading out on the 14-turn, 2.2-mile track. Attendees will have an opportunity to get on the track themselves, with parade laps planned during Saturday and Sunday’s lunch breaks. The parade laps — riders will make three or four, depending on available time — will cost $10, with all proceeds going to benefit The American Cancer Society’s Salt Lake City Hope Lodge, currently under construction and scheduled to open by the time of the GP.
This will be one of the best events on the 2015 vintage calendar, so don’t miss it! — Richard Backus