Great vintage bikes on track and off, great weather and great people make for a perfect weekend.
One to own: David Harris took our Editors’ Choice award for his stunning 1976 BMW R90S.
Count us among the concerned when torrential rains ripped through Millville, New Jersey, last Friday afternoon just as the 2nd Annual AHRMA Vintage Festival at New Jersey Motorsports Park was getting underway. The water seemed to collect in near biblical proportions, and the next thing we knew we were pushing our way through small lakes covering the surrounding roads.
Fortunately, the rain left as quickly as it came, and as the sun fought its way through Saturday morning’s thick fog it became apparent it was going to be a perfect day for vintage racing and vintage motorcycles. We don’t have numbers yet from NJMP, but we’d guess the weekend crowds at upwards of 3,000 people, a more than respectable 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 late change to the VMD schedule put the two events on the same weekend, yet you wouldn’t have known there was a schedule conflict talking to NJMP AHRMA Vintage Festival attendees, who were thrilled to have the option of a local event. And judging by license plates on cars and bikes, there were also plenty of attendees who made the trek from surrounding states like Massachusetts, Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania.
They were well rewarded for their decision, with two days of predictably excellent vintage racing in rounds 13 and 14 of the AHRMA/CPL Systems National Historic Cup Roadrace Series. A 2.25-mile road coarse, Thunderbolt Raceway provides plenty of grandstand viewing options for attendees, with a favorite being Turn 1, where you can watch riders set up after blasting down the front stretch, tipping into the turn before throttling hard and setting up again for a another quick right-hander.
The Motorcycle Classics Vintage Bike Show was great fun, with an impressive and eclectic selection of vintage bikes on hand 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 Rebel 250 twin engine! The little Honda fooled more than a few people thanks to its nicely executed conversion, complete with faux “CT250” badges.Editors’ Choice went to David Harris for his beautifully restored 1976 BMW R90S, and we were really intrigued by Howard Edwards’ 1941 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead. A local bike since new, it has full history and Edwards’ even has the original title and bill of sale. We were also taken with Randy Creel’s 1966 Wards Riverside Scrambler. Built by Benelli, the little 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 in Rhoadesville, Virginia, let me and editor Hall take the Wards out for a quick spin. What a hoot! A good time, and we’re looking forward to doing all over again next year. We’ll post the 2015 event dates as soon as we know them. – Richard Backus
Jay Lindquist and his wife with his 1968 BMW R60. All original, it took our award for European, Best Rider.
Julian Clark and his wife with his 1967 BSA A65 Thunderbolt chopper. Period perfect, it took our award for Best Custom.
Marty Culver with his gorgeous 1968 BSA 250 Starfire. It took our award for British, Best Rider.
Howard Edwards with his 1941 H-D FL Knucklehead. A local New Jersey bike since new, Howard bought it from the original owner’s family. It took our award for American, Best Rider.
John Supernavage with his 1968 H-D XLCH Sportster. Although John says he only refurbished it, not restored it, we gave it our award for American, Best Restored.
Corinne and Scott Blachien with their 1979 Honda CBX custom. Spectacularly prepped with loads of sensible modifications, we gave it our award for Japanese, Best Rider.
Peter Hoshyla and wife with Peter’s incredible 1957 Triumph Twenty-One. The actual 1957 Earls Court show bike, it shows a mere 3.5 kilometers on the clock. Although it’s entirely originally and arguably better than any restored bike could ever be, we gave it our award for British, Best Restored.
Randy Creel with his lovely 1966 Wards Riverside Scrambler. Wards can’t have asked Italian maker Benelli to make very many of these, and Randy’s restoration is simply breathtaking. We gave it our award for European, Best Restored.
Bryan Page brought a fleet of cool ‘70s offroad bikes, including this stunning 1974 Yamaha YZA 125. We gave it our award for Japanese, Best Restored.
A rare sight, George Merchant’s 1975 Hercules W2000 rotary was original and a runner.
More than a few people did a double-take on Tony Telleri’s 1974 Honda CT70, which features a twin-cylinder Honda Rebel 250cc engine in place of the original 72cc single.
We spied this rare and apparently original circa-1964 Norton Electra out in the parking lot. Nice.
George Hirn’s 1975 Rokon was a unique machine. Featuring a pull-start single-cylinder 340cc Sachs 2-stroke engine, it was number 13 of 36 flat track bikes built by Rokon.
Twin-engined 1958 Triumph “Parasite” was beautifully restored and featured a fascinating history, having been reunited with its original builder.