Story by Jim Witters
Three clubs -- the Ton Up Club, the Cincinnati Café Racer Club/Garage Brewed Moto and the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club -- are Premier Exhibitors this year at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 8-10 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Club in Lexington, Ohio.
Larry Fletcher, president of the Chicago chapter of the Ton Up Club North America, was showcasing his white Triton on Friday, July 8.
“It’s a sweet bike,” he said. “That’s a ’56 Norton frame with a ’58 Triumph engine. It was built in the 1960s in England.”
The Triton is one of several from chapters around the country on display through the weekend at the Ton Up tent.
The club’s name comes from a 1960s British term for hitting 100 mph on your motorcycle.
“It’s a term from the Rockers in Great Britain from the time of the Mods and the Rockers (rival groups),” Fletcher explained. In fact, the Ton Up club once sponsored an event called “Mods versus Rockers.”
Now, the group sponsors Motoblot, a gathering of café racers and other vintage bikes, along with cars.
“It’s a hot rod motorcycle lifestyle event,” Fletcher says. “We are here to get the word out about the club and the event. And Vintage Motorcycle Days is a great place to reach people who share our interests.”
Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club
At age 14, John Emmons was excited when he dad spotted a 1967 Honda C110 Sport 50 in the classified ads and took John along to have a look at it. The younger man returned home with the bike, but didn’t consider it much more than a step up from the lawn-mower-engine-powered minibike he had been riding.
Forty-five years later, Emmons, from Springfield, Ohio, is displaying that very same Honda at the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club tent at Mid-Ohio.
“I rode the bike for a while, but then I moved on to bigger and better things,” Emmons said. “But I never got rid of that bike. Last year, I started restoring it, and I finished it this spring. It was mostly all still there.”
The Honda featured an overhead-valve, two-cylinder engine that could produce an advertised top speed of 52 mph when new. And it boasted 305 mpg at a cruising speed of 15 mph
One unique feature of the bike is the four speed gearbox, with a 1-up, 2-4 down shifting pattern. Emmons said he trailered the bike to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, but plans to license it and start riding it again soon.
Cincinnati Café Racer Club/Garage Brewed Moto
Ken Weyer is the community leader for off-road for a club that bills itself as a place for café racers. So what gives?
“Tim Burke, who started the club, was a café racer enthusiast,” Weyer explained. “But there are tons of motorcycles out there. So the club began accepting different types of bikes. If it’s got two wheels and you’re not a jerk, you’re welcome here.”
On display at the club’s tent at Mid-Ohio is a mishmash of dirt bikes, mopeds and adventure bikes. Oh, and some café racers.
“We have about 1,000 members now,” Weyer said. “And just about everyone in our club comes to Vintage Motorcycle Days. The event has everything–the people, the machines, the races. This is my Christmas.”
The weekend also 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 and raffle bikes.
With the generous support of Suzuki Motor of America, the 2016 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, showcases the rich history of AMA Superbike racing with a number of historic championship-winning machines. The central piece of the display is Cooley's 1980 championship-winning GS1000, which Cooley will ride in demonstration laps around the road race course each day.
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 younger 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.