The vintage racing bug bit the Beckert family in 2012 at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, and their passion for the sport has grown every year.
Story by Heather Wilson
Photo: The Beckerts
The vintage racing bug bit the Beckert family -- Larry, Fred and Cope -- in 2012 at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.
While they have been racing off-road for most of their lives, it wasn’t until Larry bought a 1973 or ‘74 Yamaha TY250 trials bike in the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days swap meet that first year that their interest in vintage racing took off.
“I bought it for $200, and the following year Cope [his grandson] raced it in the trials event here [at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days],” Larry said. “We probably put more than $500 in getting it fixed up to race over that year.”
The Beckerts (right) said they have always had old bikes, but they really didn’t start acquiring vintage bikes to race until after discovering AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.
“It’s the one event we all ride together as a family,” Larry said. “It’s about spending time with my family and having friendly competition.”
Fred added that “It’s a nice break from our traditional racing in the GNCCs, and we don’t have to travel far. It’s one long-weekend of racing and you’re done.”
This year, Larry raced a 1972 Suzuki TS400 in the vintage hare scramble, while Fred raced a 1982 Honda XR350 in the post-vintage hare scramble.
Cope raced a 1982 Yamaha IT175 in the post-vintage hare scramble, as well as a 1982 Suzuki RM 125 and a 1996 Honda CR 250 in motocross.
When asked why he loves to race vintage bikes, Cope replied: “I gotta beat my old man… Nah, I just like riding vintage bikes. It’s a bigger challenge just learning how to ride the older bikes. You have to learn that you can’t ride them all-out the entire race. The goal is to keep the bike running and finish the race.”
The Beckerts like to rotate their vintage bikes out every few years, and Cope thinks it’d be cool to race a truly vintage bike (rather than post-vintage) in future years.
“We have sold some and bought more,” Fred said. “Now that Cope is older, he has really stepped up to help me prep the bikes.”
One thing is for sure: The Beckerts will be back for many more AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days to come.