Toni Roach of Belpre, Ohio, prefers the lighter front ends on the modern trials bikes. But she still believes the vintage bikes provide a great challenge, along with a good time. Photo by Jeff Guciardo.
Story by Jim Witters
Riders in the vintage trails competition at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days slipped, slid and sidled their way over and around trees, stumps, creeks and bogs on Sunday.
Coping with the morning rain showers were competitors on vintage bikes that were caked with mud by the end of the first section.
The event drew a variety of competitors.
Sixteen-year-old Lukas Gillespie, of Wesby, Wis., is touring with the Sherco trials team that presented demonstrations throughout the weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
“This is my first competition on a vintage bike,” he said. “When we stopped in here, I thought it might be fun to try it. I’m having a fun time.”
Gillespie said switching from a modern trials bike to a vintage one takes some adjustment.
“It’s a totally different riding style,” he said. “The older bikes are heavier, and the suspensions are different. But it’s a lot of fun.”
Toni Roach of Belpre, Ohio, prefers the lighter front ends on the modern trials bikes. But she still believes the vintage bikes provide a great challenge, along with a good time.
Roach, 54, has been riding trials bikes for 18 months, but AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days was her first experience on a vintage trials bike.
“I’ve been riding dirt bikes since I was 8,” she said. “But my husband and I needed something new that we could do in our backyard and get a good workout. This is a workout.”
Roach and her husband, Gary, competed on bikes Gary built.
“I am still adjusting to the trials style, where you have to stay smooth,” Toni Roach said. “I’m used to getting on the gas to get out of trouble.”
Dave Greenwell is a 57-year-old rider from Louisville, Ky., who took up the sport in the 1990s after riding motocross most of his life. He prefers the vintage bikes over their modern counterparts.
“I was beating myself up on the modern bikes,” he said. “The vintage ones are not as rough. It seems like you can ride them a little slower. It’s amazing what these old bikes will do.”
Toni Roach said that one of the best things about trials competition is the camaraderie.
“All the guys want to see everybody do well, because there are so few of us,” she said. “The people are out here to have a good time, and they want everyone else to have a good time, too.”