Classic Motorcycle Day 2019
I went to a motorcycle garden party last May. It was nestled into the rolling hills of the carnival grounds of Mount Airy, Maryland. The originally British only motorcycle show that started in the 90’s near the Ag. Reserve of Maryland and is now progressively becoming an early summer motorcycle Mecca. (and will return in 2021) The British concourse show was popular in the 90’s and then expanded to include all European Marques and now this year to include pre 1983 vintage Japanese vintage and classic cycles.
Mount airy is about half way between Baltimore and Frederick Maryland. The concourse show was held at the Fireman’s Carnival Grounds and it was hot for May in the Baltimore, Pennsylvania and DC area. It was extra warm, 90 plus degrees. The people responded and the show drew a large Mid Atlantic crowd with plenty of bikers on their scoots. The cycle diversity was incredible. The people and cycle mix was delightfully pleasant. The frozen custard was incredibly cool and smooth.
Getting it all together for a new show takes a lot of team work, and the team did a great job putting the new venue show on line and up for business. Right off the major northern east west interstate connector road in Maryland and just west of Baltimore at Mount Airy’s Fireman’s Carnival Grounds the show went on. Parking was easy, admission fair and the hosts grand. The ride in parking area was a bit scattered for viewing of casual ride in biker’s customs and works of art but with a quick eye, modern, classic, and customs were all about for everybody to see and enjoy critiquing.
Who was there? My buddies. Their buddies and people I’d never seen nor met before. The Harley crowd was there, incognito. There were A few moms and dads and kids, a couple of dogs. Lots of experienced riders with full zz top beards were there too.. Trophy hunters and folks looking for cycle treasure and adventure and camera buffs with an eye for cycles were there swinging their cameras around and of course everyone was looking for something.
Lots of knowledgeable cycle hounds and plenty of critics were there in force too. The Suzuki group went over the Suzuki’s, the BMW crowd eyed the oldies and goodies from Germany. The Italian bunch just watched the sky. The British crowd was the largest represented group and the lines of triumphs and BSA models indicated a strong future representation. The young crowd was there, but needs encouragement to participate more, to strengthen the future of the cycle world. Everybody was there.
The Rolling in schedule : unlimbering the cycles one at a time as the assemblage began. First a BMW, then a Dream, some Suzuki’s and then a load of Ducati’s. The rumble in always goes on till the last second. Where is my spot? What group am I in? Where is my trophy – i.e. not a triumph?
The lineup: Triumphs galore, as they were the show marque of the day. Japanese Cycles were the introduced new Marques and the rest of the bikes were invited honored competitors. They were all there with their colors shining. Ducati, BSA, Honda, Harley with a lot of competitors.
The 2019 marque of the day was Triumph, and had the most competition entry classes. The English marque was efficiently divided by transmission types and number of cylinders and customization or level of competitive value. The rest of the group had to vie for first class status with a lot of worthy cycles. The marque for 2021 is an open Japanese class including all brands, but could be a bit more defined, i.e. Marusho or Tohatsu, among others.
The presentation classes were fairly wide with lots of trophies available. The marque of day had the most trophy classes and the other groups had a few slots for perfection. The list follows:
Marque of the day -Triumph:
Lots of Trophies
Other British, European & Japanese Classes
Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki , Suzuki, Other Japanese.
British (The other lot), Norton, BSA , Other British
BMW Vintage (up to 1969), BMW Classic (1969–1983), Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Other European.
Competition (all makes): Off-Road, Pavement
Custom (all makes)
Chopper / Bobber
Special Awards (chosen by the board):
Classic Motorcycle Trophy (Best of show)
Most Technical Interest: Yamaha TZ750
Oldest British. 1932 BSA blue star single
Oldest European. BMW. 1933 R2
Oldest Japanese Honda C110: I met the 110 owner and he said there were only a few yellow 50cc 110’s cycles made and they were for demo purposes only.
Walking the line:: Up and down the aisles trying to take everything in at once. Lines of Europe’s finest followed by Japanese specials and back again. I was up for the scramble. Every line was a journey to places from around the world.
There was an early Rudge cycle in the show that was initially designed to bring women
into the cycle world. It was 1894 and cycling was still almost bicycles with motors.
The early Rudge had three wheels.
The line ups were not segregated especially in the custom aisles and the competition lines. There was even one “Harley” in the show, an Ammerachi Harley 350 sprint. The custom bobber isle included a Honda monkey bike that looked stock. Fellow said he figured he was in the right place. I enjoyed our talk. The cafe racer group was a motley group of fine cycles. Yamaha dirt bikes, triumphs, and even a Honda dream bagger.
The concourse setup:
Some of the Exotics at the show:
Suzuki rotary wankle. RE-5, A water buffalo, TZ Yamaha, New old stock Elsinore 250, Orange smoke Large gas tank BMW. Big wheel Triple wheel antique, Munch 4, Laverda Jota, Suzuki 450 Automatic, A bunch of Honda Dreams, Honda c110 50cc street bike, Triumphs galore, Norton’s, Vincent’s, BSA, Norton, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Ajs , Matchless, and All the rest I missed. Munch.
A friend was overcome almost ga ga after spotting a Yamaha TZ racer. He said they are extremely rare. They came in a variety of sizes and he was particularly into the 750 group.
He rides a Honda fire blade. A Highlight of the Day, Yamaha TZ racing. The TZ story is fascinating and an exciting engineering experiment. Racing in the sixties was dominated by two strokes by various Japanese manufacturers and high rev multi cylinder Honda’s. There was a handsome copy of a TZ 750 at the Mount Airy show. Kenny Roberts rode a similar TZ Yamaha in 1975 as a flat tracker running against the big thumper tracker crowd, Harley, Moto Guzzi and others and was banned outright after leaving the thumpers behind in a large cloud of smoke. The TZ series carried on until two strokes were eliminated through environmental and other concerns. i.e. big four strokes and now electric monsters. Yamaha experiment with a four cylinder two stroke water cooled street cruiser that was a great design but was a little wild for the masses. The Yamaha GL 750 was never produced but lived on in racing style.
Off the concourse:
The competition was fierce off the concourse podium too. Some fellows rode in on their Urals with side cars, I spotted a Bimota parked next to a Kawasaki, Choppers and customs, dragsters and a lonely Honda CL350. One ride in guy was instructed to park with the rest of the concourse bikes in the lineup but his bike was brand new and stuck out like a pineapple in the classic corral. (a Yamaha FZ 07) His bike did not have a show tag on it so no trophy for him. Nice bike though., and to my surprise no vespas of yore. Also represented off the concourse line:: A black bomber, a Wards Riverside, a Whizzer, a Bimota, a Zero, and a few hogs were in the parking lot.
Sales pitches and great deals rang out throughout the event. The cycle jumble vender row was there and alive. New faces and old with left over parts to vintage signage, it was all there. I witnessed the sale of a vintage windjammer with BMW brackets go for twenty bucks, I said twenty five as I walked by and they both looked at me. The seller said fifteen, I think it went for twenty. Over by a parking area a six fifty Honda Custom was deliberated on for some time but I saw it packed up to return home at the end of the show by the original seller. A friend had a Triumph for sale. Cycle Clocks were there alongside the Wards Riverside. A table of British gas tanks. A Triumph Trident frame and all sorts of parts new and old. I’m sure some cycles changed hands. I bought a Triumph tank badge for my table collection.
Triples and fours, twins, and bores were all there. I looked for an oval piston and case but could not find them. Some of the bikes needed some TLC but it was great seeing the variety of bikes in all sorts of restoration stages. Static displays were everywhere but after the judging that all changed.
The fire up and ride off started. Just like the early days of rolling thunder when you could park your cycle on the grass of the Washington mall and walk about and mingle with everyone, we all become participants in the ride out shuffle.
The show was great. The People were fine, food was available and the weather was right on for the early summer event. Looking around and talking to folks I found that many of the cycles and cyclists are veteran show and competition goers. I did talk to people about their collections for a future story on collections and museums past present and future with links to other treasure hunters and museums. I plan to visit the show next year (2021) and will try to help organize the lineups and the Japanese entries and see if we can get VJMC participation in some way.
My thoughts on how and what the cycle show can contribute to the future while working
with the past opens the idea of what the possibilities can be for the reach that the show has and how that reach can add to the lacing of old and new ideas and realities, continue to develop. Future generations of riders and enthusiasts need to see from the past for exciting new developments based on experiences from recent history to create a new more encompassing show. The Mount Airy Classic cycle show is great now as it was when it was a British cycle show. What to do with the drawing power to make it a show with a larger statement is a challenge all motorcycle shows, competitions and vintage classic concourse events have to work with.