The American Motorcyclist Association Vintage Motorcycle Days event — often referred to simply as Vintage Days — at the famous Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course covers every inch of the incredible grounds each year with more two wheeled excitement than most events can even dream of. Each year we contribute by hosting the Old Bike Barn Crossroads area in the infield of the race track and while we encourage everyone to spend their day with us on Saturday for our vintage bike show, amazing vendor booths, and AMA feature tents, we want to focus this story on the amazing things that Vintage Days has to offer in every corner of the event: a full motocross racing track, a versatile hare scramble racing inner and outer woods course, moto gp-style racing on the car course, Wall of Death stunt shows, one of the country’s biggest vintage swap meets, and a chance for everyday riders of all ages to take a "lap for history" around the entire Mid-Ohio track on their own vintage bike.
We began the weekend enjoying the campgrounds and setting up the Old Bike Barn crossroads while the hare scramble racing kicked off on the far course outside the campgrounds area. The racing begins just outside the woods and digs deep through trails cut amongst the trees and every bit of terrain on the grounds. One of the most exciting areas each year —though it only has a small amount of room for spectators to safely watch — is the muddy creek areas of the course where riders are faced with several strategic obstacles, one of which is a massive pit of mud they are forced to power through. Some of the most seasoned veterans actually chose to jump the creek altogether which resulted in some pretty impressive high-flying action.
Next, the motocross area of the grounds kept a solid lineup of action going with several brackets and different classes all geared towards making each rider endure the grueling and versatile track with several areas for deep corners and huge jumps. The vintage CR Hondas were some of our favorites to watch as they ripped through the course with two stroke fury, but the Yamahas and Husqvarnas made for some fierce competition.
The swap meet area was our next highlight of the weekend as we combed through a seemingly endless sea of vendors and booths filled with vintage gold. No matter what vintage parts you may be searching for, when it comes to 70's and 80's Japanese and British and a wide range of other motorcycles, you can find just about everything you could need in the AMA vintage days swap area. From complete bikes to parts, they have it all.
Next up, happening Saturday and Sunday morning, the "lap for history" got underway and invited all types of bikes and riders to participate in taking a lap around the famous Mid-Ohio track on their own vintage motorcycle. With everything from tiny 125cc mopeds to 1000cc 6-cylinder Honda CBXs, the track came alive with vintage motorcycles of every kind. Legendary racer Kevin Schwantz joined Old Bike Barn’s Bear in leading the Saturday morning "lap for history" on one of his famous race bikes. Once all the riders were lined up and passed a safety inspection they made their way onto the track to take their lap. While there's no one speed that is required, most riders comfortably cruise the beautifully paved track and just enjoy the twists and turns with a huge grin on their face.
After enjoying the lap for history, it's a good time to check out one of the many shows offered throughout the weekend by the freestyle trials bike riders and the American Motordrome Wall of Death featured in the infield in the Old Bike Barn crossroads area. Both shows make for some great entertainment no matter how many times you watch them and we usually encourage people to check out these death-defying riders and support them more than once throughout the weekend.
After the swap meet vendors close up shop and the racing concludes, it’s usually a good time to make it over to the campgrounds to watch the ongoing, unofficial barrel races where many riders take to the dirt-covered circle track at high speeds just seeing how long they can last doing laps. The place to be after the track goes cold is what's known as the "Kentucky corner" where the unofficial burnout competition goes on until all hours of the night. Everything from dirt bikes to scooters take their chance at heating up a little rubber for some good ol' fun.
Looking back after all the festivities wind down, the people of the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days really stand out as being our favorite part of the weekend. Sharing motorcycle stories with newfound friends or talking shop in the swap meet area with one of the many knowledgeable vendors, or maybe just making a new friend or two out of sharing a love for vintage motorcycles, you'll find people from all walks of life at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.
Photos and words by Mike Vandegriff