What if you had a vintage motorcycle show and swap meet and a race all in the same event on the same day. Chances are, that would be a very desirable event, and a good time would be had by all. Now what if you had multiple vintage motorcycle shows, two full days of racing of a variety of different kinds from dirt to sidecar, and the largest vintage motorcycle swap meet in the country over three days. Then you would have something like Vintage Motorcycle Days (VMD) which is organized by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) every year. Oh by the way, it is held on the grounds of the mid Ohio sports course, which is a beautiful track and has great facilities.
VMD is one of those events that is big enough to almost have its own culture. It is a nation of people that only exist for about a week each year in a specific location. Sociologists and anthropologists hide in the woods nearby with powerful binoculars to observe this rare species. In that way it is similar to the Beaulieu event in England or the Hershey antique automobile event. There are thousands of bikes, and hundreds of swapmeet stalls, and all types of people associated with both. There are also a whole host of vendors present with a midway style food area, gear and helmet vendors, associations, wall of death, etc.
Of course, it is also a logical gathering place and a destination from many different types of clubs. The Penton owners are always out in force, the café racers have a show unto themselves, the vintage Japanese motorcycle club is there, the AMA holds a Councours event, etc. There was an informal competition Friday evening in the camping area to produce the loudest backfire! A Triumph won. I have commented before on the amazing variety of conveyances that people choose to use to get around the mid Ohio sports car course. This year, my favorite was a Barbie Jeep driven by at 250 plus pound guy and equipped with some kind of a two-stroke motor that allowed it to do wheelies. You just can’t make this stuff up.
Returning to the bikes, this is your place if you are interested in vintage dirt bikes. The variety is astounding, as are the range of conditions of the vehicles. This is one of those places where you find what looks like a concours level Hodaka, only to hear a passerby comment on some minutiae that is incorrect. 1980s sport bike subculture is alive and well around the grounds here with great examples of the very earliest sport bikes from Japan. And then there are the race bikes. From a BMW R90S to Honda CB750s, to Italian 125s and 250s, to Triumph and Harley Flat trackers, they are all out on track. The paved track, that is. There is every type and class of offroad bike out on the dirt track. And there is a Hare scramble as well. The highlight was my “parade” lap in a vintage racing sidecar rig. Beyond cool, and on a fantastic track which highlights how crazy you have to be to be a sidecar monkey.
Each year, I try to get to the things I missed the year before. I rarely succeed, but that is to be expected when you try to visit an entire nation and absorb its culture, in just a couple of days. I am sure it leaves the anthropologists searching for new theories and terminology.