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Upcoming Vintage Motorcycle Events: November/December 2017


Visit the Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show on Jan. 27. Motorcycle Classics archives

Featured Events

Oct. 28

Visit Norcross, Georgia, for the 27th Annual Blue Moon Cycle Euro Bike Swap Meet on Saturday, Oct. 28. The swap meet is open to all parts, accessories and apparel for European motorcycles. Display your late model, used or classic bike for sale in the Consignment Corral for $25 each. No fee for buyers or sellers, and free lunch for all. The swap meet runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, then come back and join in Sunday, Oct. 29, for the Blue Moon Cycle Vintage Ride. Join the Blue Moon staff and friends for a scenic ride through the Georgia countryside including a lunch stop and a secret attraction. This ride is open to all motorcycles 1985 and older. Admission is free, and the ride leaves at 9 a.m. from Blue Moon Cycle. Call John Landstrom for more details at (770) 447-6945, ext. 20.

Nov. 4

The 11th Annual Cops and Rodders Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona. Spectator admission is free. Last year’s show featured more than 900 vehicles displayed and attracted more than 20,000 spectators.

Nov. 5

Join the Southern California Norton Owners Club for “the best ride by a dam site,” the Hansen Dam Ride. Now in its 38th year, the ride is a great way to spend a day enjoying classic motorcycles. Recent years have seen more than 500 bikes of all makes show up, making it the largest classic motorcycle event of the year in Southern California. A 75-mile-plus route is mapped out for the day. Show up as early as 8 a.m. for coffee and donuts, and after the ride the grill will be fired up with lunch served. The ride departs at 10 a.m. sharp!

Jan. 27

Mark your calendar early for the largest vintage motorcycle show in South Florida. Head to Dania Beach, just south of Ft. Lauderdale, for the 12th Annual Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27. More than 400 classic bikes will be judged under the trees in Frost Park. Enjoy live music, vendors, a bike parts swap meet, food, motorcycle field games, roller derby girls, a vintage bicycle display and more. The event is free to the public, with a fee for entering bikes, and proceeds benefit Stray Aid & Rescue, Southeastern Guide Dogs and the Dania Beach Lions Club.

More Events

Nov. 2-5

Galveston Island, Texas
Nov. 9-12
Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico
Nov. 17-19
Long Beach, California 
Nov. 26
Long Beach, California 
Dec. 1-3
New York, New York
Dec. 3
Chicago, Illinois  
Dec. 3
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  
Dec. 8-10
Minneapolis, Minnesota 
Dec. 31
Long Beach, California 
Jan. 26-28
Cleveland, Ohio 
Jan. 28
Long Beach, California 
Feb. 2-4
Dallas, Texas 
Feb. 9-11
Chicago, Illinois
Feb. 23-25
Washington, DC. 
Feb. 25
Long Beach, California 

1967 Mosport GP 50th Anniversary

1967 Mosport GP

Michelle Duff, formerly Mike Duff, at the Mosport GP 50th anniversary celebration on the Arter Matchless G50 she rode to third place behind Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood in the 1967 500GP at Mosport. Photo by Bill Petro

On Sept. 30, 1967, the one and only Canadian road racing GP ever staged took place on the 2.459-mile Mosport circuit 60 miles northeast of Toronto, Ontario. Opened in 1961 and still in use today in essentially unchanged form, it’s one of the most challenging circuits in the world, with significant changes in elevation, copious blind apexes, and an undulating main straight where top-gear wheelies are a matter of course. This past August, Canada’s VRRA (Vintage Road Racing Association) staged a commemorative 50th anniversary event as part of their annual Mosport Vintage Festival. 
1967 marked Canada’s 100th birthday as a nation, and to mark the occasion the Federal Centennial Commission underwrote the costs of bringing the world’s top riders and their machines to compete in the season-ending Canadian GP race, the final round in the 500cc World Championship so closely contested by Honda four mounted Mike Hailwood and his former teammate at MV Agusta, Giacomo Agostini, on the Italian triple. 
The 1967 Canadian 250GP race had a 40-rider grid and saw a superb tussle for victory between Hailwood on the screaming Honda six and Bill Ivy on the bigger V4 Yamaha RD-05 stroker. The duo swapped the lead back and forth in what was undoubtedly the race of the day, which was only resolved in Hailwood’s favor when Ivy’s Yamaha stopped two laps from the end of the 32-lap 50-minute race while in the lead, under suspicion of a dry fuel tank. His teammate Phil Read finished second exactly one minute down on the victorious Honda, for reasons he admitted to at the 50th anniversary celebrations, where he rode former Canadian champion Eddy Brunet’s tricked-out TZ250 Yamaha. “I just couldn’t get on with the Mosport circuit,” Phil said. “Mike and Bill were much faster, and I just let them get on with it. It’s a pity Bill stopped — for whatever reason — because Mike and I tied on points at the end of the season, and he only won the World title because he had one more win than me.” 
In the 500GP Hailwood tried to entice Ago into a battle for victory, but the Italian was having none of it, knowing he only had to finish second to retain his 500cc World title. Riding an improved Honda four in the company’s last-ever 500GP race until the 1979 debut of the oval-piston NR500, Hailwood pulled away to win by 38 seconds from Agostini in the worsening downpour at the end of the 40-lap, 73-minute race, with Canadian Mike Duff in third place on the Arter G50. Ago won the title by virtue of three second places to Hailwood’s two. Honda would have to wait until 1983 and Freddie Spencer to win a 500GP Rider’s title.
With a successful 50th commemoration, hopes are high the VRRA will repeat the event 10 years from now on the 60th anniversary of the day the Grand Prix circus came to Canada.

2017 Barber Vintage Festival: Norton Heaven

Barry Schanberger took our Best Norton award for his painstakingly restored 1968 Norton Commando Fastback. Photos by the Motorcycle Classics staff.

The iconic Norton Commando was our featured bike at the 13th Annual Barber Vintage Festival in Leeds, Alabama, Oct. 6-8, 2017, and 18 Nortons showed up for our show, including this first-year 1968 Commando Fastback belonging to Barry Schanberger. Meticulously restored, it took top honors, winning our Best Norton award.

It was hardly an easy decision for our judges, former Norton employee and Barber staffer Brian Slark, National Motorcycle Museum special projects director Mark Mederski, and vintage motorcycle scribe and former racer Alan Cathcart. The bikes on hand ranged from stunning specials to original riders to restored machines like Barry’s, all of them worthy of attention. But in the end, only one can win, and that was Barry’s ’68.

Among the 18 Nortons at our show was James Murray’s fantastic and original 1968 Commando Fastback, fitted with a period optional orange seat like the one fitted to the 1967 Earls Court bike.

Helping us with the awards ceremony was none other than former Superbike champion Wes Cooley, who won the 1979 and 1980 Superbike Championships on a Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000S. This year’s featured guest at the festival, Wes shared stories of his career, marveling at the attention he was getting and clearly enjoying every minute of it. I got Wes to sign my vintage Wes Cooley Arai Signature Addition helmet, a piece of gear I’d somehow never lost track of, and now destined for permanent display in my shop.

And it wasn’t just Nortons on hand, as an incredible variety of vintage bikes showed up for display including a Munch TTS, two Vincents, a Bimota, an Ariel Square Four, a gaggle of Triumphs and BSAs, a perfect and original 1982 Yamaha XJ550RJ Seca and a trio of vintage BMWs with sidecars, to name just a few.

Editor Backus (second from left) discusses judging criteria with this year’s judges (from left) Alan Cathcart, Brian Slark and Mark Mederski.

We don’t have attendance numbers yet, but we’d guess the show was at least on a par with last year, when an estimated 73,000 bike fans gathered at the incredible Barber Motorsports Complex for three days of motorcycle heaven. This year’s event was forced to shutter early, thanks to the impending presence of Hurricane Nate, which was working its way toward the Gulf Coast as the festival started, finally making landfall Saturday night and Sunday morning. The shortened event was more than a little frustrating, forcing us to cancel our planned Sunday Morning Ride, sponsored this year by our good friends at Hagerty Motorcycle Insurance. That was more than a little disappointing, but there’s not much you can do when Mother Nature gets her way.

There is always more going on at Barber than any one person can ever take in, but we’ll share what we saw in the upcoming January/February 2018 issue of Motorcycle Classics. Look for John L. Stein’s incredible story of how he and 10-time pro car racing champion Randy Probst bought two vintage Rickman dirt bikes in the swap meet, prepping them on-site and then racing them in Saturday’s AHRMA off road event. Incredibly, Stein and Probst pulled it off. Cool stuff; don’t miss it in the next issue of Motorcycle Classics!

Russell Briney found this spectacular and completely original 1981 Yamaha XJ550RJ Seca on Craigslist. It won our Japanese Best Rider award.

Klaus Huenuke took home our Editors’ Choice award for his amazing 1971 Munch TTS.

Editor Backus with former Superbike champion Wes Cooley, who signed Backus’ vintage Wes Cooley Arai Signature Edition helmet.

Kawasaki W2 enthusiast Kevin Lemire let me ride his unbelievably original, 411-mile 1969 W2. It now has all of 413 miles on the odometer. What a treat.

I also took a spin on this custom 2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT that’s been scramblerized by Tony Prust at Analog Motorcycles. Awesome, and it could be yours as Tony’s put it up for sale.

Motorcycle Classics Ride at the 2017 Barber Vintage Festival!

Our Sunday Morning Ride at the 2017 Barber Vintage Festival will take us through 40 miles of Alabama countryside.

Motorcycle Classics tent at Barber

A handful of riders congregate at the Motorcycle Classics tent following the 2016 Sunday Morning Ride.

Join Motorcycle Classics for our Sunday Morning Ride at the 13th Annual Barber Vintage Festival on — when else — Sunday morning, Oct. 8, at 10 a.m. Sponsored by our good friends at Hagerty Motorcycle Insurance, the Motorcycle Classics Sunday Morning Ride is a casual 40-mile romp through the hills of the Alabama countryside surrounding the Barber Motorsports Complex. Last year’s ride was excellent, with dozens of readers joining us on their vintage bikes. And thanks to Hagerty, this year we have swag! The ride leaves our tent in the Fan Zone at 10 a.m. sharp, so don’t be late! Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em!

We’re pretty excited about pulling together another ride, taking us back as it does to our first years at the Barber Festival when we staged an annual ride starting at nearby 29 Dreams Motorcycle Resort early — painfully early! — Saturday morning, winding our way to the Barber park and culminating in our Saturday Vintage Motorcycle Show. But then 29 Dreams shut down, and with the Barber Festival growing by leaps and bounds we kind of lost track with our roots at the show — in a word, Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em, only we’d forgotten to keep riding. Well, at least at Barber.

Last year, almost as an afterthought, we decided to put together a short Sunday morning ride. Frankly, we had no idea if anyone would be interested because, equally frankly, we barely promoted it. Plus, traditionally, lots of folks are pulling up stakes on Sunday morning, getting ready to head back home to resume their regularly scheduled broadcast. Apparently people were looking for an excuse to ride, because by mid-Sunday morning 30-some readers and riders were at our tent and ready to head out. It was an awesome ride, taking in a great little section of Alabama SR 25 otherwise known as Alabama’s mini-Tail of the Dragon. OK, so it’s nowhere near as epic as the real Tail of the Dragon, but it’s a hell of a road nonetheless, an absolutely beautiful stretch of two-lane blacktop winding up, over and down a series of ridges.

We’ll run an altered version of last year’s route, hitting SR 25 again, but from a different direction. Wanna see the route? Just click here or on the route map below for a little preview of what to expect. Don’t miss it — every participant gets a cool Hagerty Sunday Ride bandana specifically made for the ride and other cool swag! See you there!

Hagerty Vintage Motorcycle Insurance logo

Ride the West with Destinations Writer Joe Berk

The Grand Canyon

The beautiful Grand Canyon in Arizona. Photos by Joe Berk.

Motorcycle Classics writer Joe Berk and our friends at CSC Motorcycles are planning a fall ride the third week of October to visit a number of Destinations out West. Day one will take riders from Azusa, California, through the Mojave Desert to Laughlin, Nevada, with a stop in historic Oatman, Arizona. More Destinations along the way include the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, the Extraterrestrial Highway, Death Valley and more.

If you want a preview of what you’re going to see, here you go … just click on any of the links below!

The Grand Canyon
Zion National Park
The Extraterrestrial Highway
Death Valley

For more info, head over to the CSC Blog here:

Motorcycles at the Grand Canyon

In Arizona, en route to the Grand Canyon.

2nd Annual Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

Riding through Amish country

Heading into southwestern Pennsylvania’s Amish country during the 2017 Getaway. Photos by Karl Jarvis.

The 2nd Annual Motorcycle Classics Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway is in the books, and what a great weekend it was as 56 riders joined us for a weekend romp through the Laurel Highlands in southwestern Pennsylvania, Aug. 4-6, 2017. Although it was looking like it might rain throughout the weekend, Mother Nature kept her cool, literally, providing two days of perfect vintage motorcycle weather with cool, moisture-rich air perfect for our old carbureted engines. The bikes ran great, the roads were spectacular and after two days of plying the area’s back roads the response from just about everyone there was, “So when does this happen next year?”

That was also the response after last year’s inaugural Getaway, like this year headquartered at Seven Springs Resort in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. The area is a natural for motorcycling, with miles and miles of stunning little blacktop roads winding in and out of the surrounding hills, then spilling out into the valleys and farmland that also define the area. It’s perfect territory for vintage bikes, where speed isn’t really the goal. OK, maybe sometimes it is, but really, what most of us want to do is get our beloved old bikes out for some exercise and stretch their legs, ideally in the company of like-minded enthusiasts, something we did in spades in both last year’s and this year’s Getaway.

There were lots of cool bikes last year, but this year the range of machines on hand was even more amazing, including no fewer than three Ducati 750s, a Triumph Hurricane, three Norton Commandos, a gaggle of Triumphs, a Laverda Jota, a custom Honda CBX, some vintage BMWs and all manner of fabulous Japanese and European machinery. It was, in a word, awesome. And yes, we will do it again next year. Look for a full report in the November/December 2017 issue of Motorcycle Classics! — Richard Backus

Joe Block with his Ducati 750

Joe Block with his 80,000-mile Ducati 750, one of three Ducati 750s on the ride.

Team Obsolete Honda RC165 Returning to Isle of Man

Honda RC165

The extended rebuild of Team Obsolete’s 1964 Honda RC165 250cc 6-cylinder Grand Prix racing motorcycle is finally complete and will return to the Isle of Man for the 2017 Classic TT to take part in the Jurby Festival as well as the “Lap of Honour” on the fabled 37-mile mountain circuit. The rider will be Steve Plater.

Two new crankshafts were sourced from an Italian Formula One Technology Company. New pistons came from Helmut Wahl. New Valves came from Kibblewhite Precision Machining, Inc. A stash of spare parts found in South Africa were extremely helpful.

The bike was run in and tuned on a rolling road. The motor was stripped down to make sure everything was happy. A final test run, then into the air freight crate, and off to the Isle of Man.

Many thanks to our sponsors, Vanson Leathers and Avon Tyres.