By Heather Wilson
Ray Sterns of Milan, Ill., has been coming to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days for five years, but he’s been an AMA member much longer – 51 years to be exact.
Sterns was a pro hill climber, raced some short track and even did some ice racing.
These days, he works Moto Armory, the nation’s largest private collection of vintage dirt bikes owned by Tom Reese. Moto Armory is hosting a display of bikes this weekend by the bridge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Sterns explained how the first display shows a 1942 Harley-Davidson WLA and a Harley-Davidson MT350. The WLA was used during World War II and the MT was used in Afghanistan.
“It’s neat to see bikes that are that far apart and that the military is stilling using motorcycles,” Sterns said.
He pointed out that the Harley-Davidson KR750 flat tracker was unique in that it has a dual-carburetor and swing-arm frame, and that racers such as AMA Hall of Famer Mert Lawwill and Bart Markel raced bikes like this.
The Moto Armory display includes bikes representing motocross, flat track, enduro, road race and military that were collected from around the country.
Cody Vipond, another member of the Moto Armory crew, said, “It’s nice for people to be able to come and see the bikes they grew up with or watched in the past. It brings up memories.”
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is happening this weekend, July 9-10, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
For 2016, with the generous support of Suzuki Motor of America, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days honors the career of Suzuki rider and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Wes Cooley.
The infield display, Celebrating 40 Years of AMA Superbikes, presented by Suzuki, will showcase the rich history of AMA Superbike racing with a number of historic championship-winning machines. The central piece of the display will be Cooley's 1980 championship-winning GS1000, which Cooley will ride in demonstration laps around the road race course each day.
The weekend includes the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Bike Show presented by Old Bike Barn, the American Motor Drome Wall of Death, a classic motorcycle field meet, demo rides of current production bikes, seminars, live music, raffle bikes and displays of AMA clubs and custom bike builders.
Tickets are available for purchase on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course website at www.midohio.com or at the gate. A weekend pass is $60, a single-day admission for Saturday is $40 and a single-day admission for Sunday is $35. Kids 12 and under get in free.
For more about AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, see www.facebook.com/AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is a fundraiser for the nonprofit AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Financial contributors include Moto Armory, Nationwide Insurance, Suzuki Motor of America, Federal Motorcycle Transport, Old Bike Barn, Iron Pony/Pony Powersports and Sena Technologies Inc.