Rhinebeck, N.Y., July 1-2, 2016—The Northeast Coalition of Chapters of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America partnered together on July 1 and 2 to produce the 10th year of the AMCA Rhinebeck Grand National Meet. This year’s meet took place a little later on the calendar than usual, kicking off the July 4th weekend, and once again was deemed a success by exhibitors and attendees alike.
The Northeast Coalition, comprising the Big Sandbar and Hudson Valley Chapters out of New York and the Colonial chapter from northern New Jersey, shared responsibility for putting on this fabulous gathering of antique motorcycle and memorabilia buffs. Over 160 vendors (AMCA membership is required to exhibit) displayed their wares across the sprawling Dutchess County Fairgrounds.
Friday at 8:00 a.m. the gates were opened to spectators who roamed all over the fairgrounds checking out the swap meet. The Antique Museum Village, a permanent exhibit, featured displays showing how people lived and worked at the turn of the 20th century, and the Century Museum and Collectors Association also ran an antique machinery and tractor show as well as an antique truck show.
Present at the show were several participants in the Motorcycle Cannonball, such as Doc McCormick representing Motorcycle Cannonball 2016 Team White Trash and Jon Szalay of First National Antique Restoration with the 1911 Harley-Davidson he rode in the 2010 Cannonball and the 1913 Thor he will ride in this year’s event. I also chatted with several competitors in The Race of Gentlemen that’s been held at the Jersey Shore the past few years. Ed Jakubowski of Unique Cycle had a vending spot set up, and Bill Gallo rode his 1946 Harley to the meet with his wife, Thunder Press contributor Dagny Gallo.
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There was a dazzling array of just about every part imaginable for your 35-years-or-older motorcycle. Some vendors who exhibited partially-constructed bikes were on the lookout for parts to finish their works in progress. Others were looking to sell rollers, basket cases or complete machines. And there were plenty of shoppers walking around with checklists of parts, including those who had to make onsite repairs on their vintage rides.
A vintage motorcycle timeline featured motorcycles from each era from the early 1900s through the early 80’s (the AMCA accords antique status to motorcycles 35 years and older), and antique bikes awaiting scoring were on display as well. Friday afternoon brought a tech seminar conducted by Dan Henke, Rhinebeck event chairman, and John Pierce of Colorwrite, and a recognition awards banquet took place that evening. Heavy rain and winds visited the fairgrounds in the late afternoon and again that evening, however, after the storm cleared out, those of us who stayed around were rewarded by a magnificent double rainbow spanning the sky.
On Saturday Chaos Cycle of Mastic, New York, sponsored the No Invitation Bike Show, open to the public, that included freestyle, retro mod, modified stock, and bagger classes. Nick Beaulieu of Forever Two Wheels in Windham, Maine, rode away with Best in Show with his award-winning Panhead bobber dubbed “Cupcake.” By mid-afternoon, the Lustre Kings started a set of rockabilly music while the bikes in the AMCA judged competition were being rolled outside.
The big event of the day was the announcement of the AMCA judging results. An expert panel of AMCA judges carefully scrutinized each entry for authenticity, and each motorcycle was judged against a set of stringent standards rather than competing against other machines. Several AMCA members had brought their pride and joy to the meet for a first-time evaluation, excitedly waiting for the judges to announce their scores. Awards were given for Junior, Senior, and Winners’ Circle as well as special recognition awards for the oldest motorcycle, the bikes ridden the longest distance, and a few other categories.
Before we knew it, the day had drawn to a close and we packed up and headed for home after another wonderful weekend of old bikes, competition and camaraderie. Check rhinebecknationalmeet.org for next year’s dates.
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