The Antique Motorcycle Association (AMCA) hosts the biggest motorcycling event in the US and Australia has now run its inaugural event. Words by Paul Bailey, Photography by Baldy
The last weekend of August this year was a memorable one, with the Antique Motorcycle Club of America – Australia’s first event, following a colossal level of organisation and effort by all those involved, not only in bringing the event here but making it worthy of the name.
For those that are not aware, the Antique Motorcycle Club of America has been running in America for many decades and is the foremost motorcycle show and gathering in the US. It is not a single make show or a high dollar custom show for only V-Twins. It is a motorcycle event that encompasses all forms of motorcycle enthusiasm.
It is an event that has over the years encouraged all brands of motorcycles to attend and it has encouraged all types of motorcycle styles and interests. The AMCA of America is a BIG deal and attracts the best in the land to its events. It is like a playground for us that love older motorcycles, anything more than 35 years of age is eligible to be in the event.
Now to bring that event to Australia is a big deal, and it takes time, effort, enthusiasm and a willingness to stick to a plan and make it work. There was of course the formal agreement from the AMCA that the event could even take place in Australia and use the AMCA logo and title. No small feat to achieve considering the long and proud past of the American Event. But it was done with the dedication of a small band of people that have an absolute passion for historic motorcycles and the individual credentials to be able to pull off this event here in Australia.
It has taken a number of years for the event to finally happen, the location, at Bulli showground is ideal, it is both close to Sydney and beautiful south coast that getting to the event was half the fun. The grounds are large and can easily cater for more in the future. In regards to the future, the AMCA Australia committee has committed to a five year agreement to use the Bulli showgrounds. This alone shows the level of commitment to this great event.
The weekend started on the Friday night with many of the motorcycle owners bringing in their machines, the Swap Meet people were busy setting up their stalls as well and there was also an official evening dinner, and meet and greet. A very special guest for the entire weekend was Mr Don Druzick, AMCA America head judge. It was great to hear him speak so positively about the Australian event and where it could potentially lead to.
Over the weekend there were seminars from some of Australia’s leading motorcycle restorers, builders and collectors, there was a swap meet on the Saturday that was very well represented and the quality of parts available was exceptional. There was also an extremely high quality of motorcycles on display over the weekend, with many different classes from the obligatory 100 point concourse to street ridden and custom.
Saturday afternoon also had the motorcycle auction, there were some very rare and beautiful machines, both restored and also examples of unrestored , unmolested machines, and there were race bikes from the past that were simply magnificent. The auction of these machines had a total value of just under $500,000! Simply amazing for the first Australian event.
There was plenty of food available, as well as coffee and cake, all from individual vendors that made the effort to join the event, I think that they were all very happy with the size of the crowd and how well everyone got on. The slow cooked meats and ribs were a highlight for everyone.
Sunday was also a cracker of a day with the crowds swelling into the thousands. The People’s Choice Awards were very popular, but the standout of the weekend was the magnificent Arial Square Four, an absolutely gorgeous machine, and one close to my heart as my Dad had and raced one for many years as a young man.
There were a sprinkling of most brands making an appearance, some ridden in to have a look and others entered in the event. The public carpark for the bikes was also full of unique and collectable machines. With good reviews of the event and good follow up by the committee in the following year, hopefully we will see a number of the motorcycle clubs representing particular brands make their way to this event as a club, perhaps even liaising with the committee and having their major club event at this venue at the same time.
The AMCA of Australia is after all trying to bring together all makes of motorcycle and all clubs together under the one umbrella for one weekend of the year to celebrate classic motorcycling here in Australia.
I hope that they can achieve this. The venue is perfect, too large for individual clubs to have, but great for a festival of classic motorcycling. The AMCA truly deserve to have other motorcycle clubs get involved and support the event. It can only make the sport, lifestyle or hobby of classic motorcycling better for the future.
Next year, same time of the year, the last weekend of August, 25 – 26 August, 2018.
See you there.