Contributed to Bikeland.org by flyboy
The "Legend of the Motorcycle" for 2007 took place on the beautiful cliffs over looking the Pacific Ocean in Half Moon Bay, California. Lined up on the 18th fairway of the golf course were some 300 of the most exciting classic motorcycles ever built.
My bike, although a newer 2006 ZX-14 was invited to attend because it held the FIM record for the fastest production bike in the World. For only a mere $10 entrance fee, who could afford not to participate in one of the most spectacular motorcycle events of the year. Although I knew little about the classics, I was looking forward to learn.
The manufacturing dates ranged from 1910 all the way up to 1975. Representatives brought their bikes all the way from England, France, Italy and Croatia. A Japanese group brought 30 bikes of their own to the show.
The judges were from all over the World and knew their craft. Presented at a budget of approximately one million dollars this was the second year that the Legend of the Motorcycle event took place. Advance tickets sold for $50, with tickets at the gate going for $65 each.
When I arrived, having driven up from Santa Cruz, I placed my bike in a storage room the hotel had set up for anyone needing to shelter their prized possessions.
This picture shows a portion of the room. You are looking at over a million dollars worth of bikes. The real valuable bikes were kept locked up in trucks and trailers lined up along the road lining the fairway.
The festivities began that Friday night at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, the elegant backdrop for this famous event. At the reception that night they offered 4 different brandy drinks, free of charge of course, with plenty of finger foods and deserts. There was plenty of motorcycle artwork to look at and some of the most dedicated bikers and collectors in the World with which to engage in conversation. The partying could not last too long as we had to be up early to place our bikes out onto the field the next day.
The sober invitees began placing their bikes out at 5:30 am the next morning. As I had sampled a little too much the night before, I managed to get my bike out by 6:30. The weather was sunny and quite outstanding except for the wind that came up at noon and lowered the temperature 10 degrees. The fairway was marked off as to where you were to place your bike and individual signs were provided with your type of bike, your name and home and any pertinent facts about your bike were described at the bottom. My 14 was placed in the Japanese category.
The judging started at 9 sharp and continued until noon. Spectators were admitted at ten am. We were asked by the staff to stand by our bikes until noon and then were could wander around. As my bike was only there for display only and not for judging I began to circulate much earlier with my camera and here are some of the wonderful bikes I witnessed first hand.
It should be noted that these motorcycles are working machines. Part of the judging was that each individual had to start his machine or you were deducted 5 points off your score. A small number of owners didn't want gasoline in their carburetors so they passed on the starting. And when some of those bikes started up and roared their engines... the spectators would look on in awe and clap loudly.
I was amazing to see the progress of the motorcycle. The first ones had only one gear, no brakes and were belt driven. The chain didn't come along until much later. The headlamps burned kerosene and had to be lit by match.
The bikes had different classes but within those classes it was either "restored" or "unrestored".
Of course we can't forget some beautiful Kawasaki's
One of the highlights of the show were the Vincents. Apparently there are only thirty left in the World and nine of them were at this show. Equally spectacular were 4 antique bikes that participated in the Isle of Mann
This little gem is valued at around one million dollars.
One of the highlights for me was to see the Black Lightning that set the 150 mph World Speed record at Bonneville. The rider was Rollie Free and this is how he rode it.
Mike was there with the Ack Attack and attracted a very large crowd.
Also included as exhibits around the field were an electric bike, custom bikes, quad bikes and a bike of the future?
At the front entranceway were two jet bikes brought in from Louisiana.
The company, MTT was trying to sell them and their company to whoever would listen. The engines are taken out of Bell Jet Ranger helicopters. They quoted me 295 horsepower at the rear wheel and 400 pounds of torque. Unfortunately the gas tank only holds eight gallons and the bike gets eight gallons to the mile. So figure They had just sold one to Jay Leno and the Emir of Dubai. When those engines started up it was standing next to a helicopter. One had a tendency to look skyward. They were asking $135,000 for one bike and $175,000 for the other.
After the show ended at 4:30 I put my bike back in storage and headed back to my hotel room for a cold beer. There was an antique bike auction-taking place in the hotel but I didn't have an extra fifty thousand lining around. And you're probably wondering where I slept. No, I wasn't staying at the Ritz Carlton. They quoted me $625 per night for a single. Sometimes I like to spend money on something that runs on electricity or gasoline but not on a bed. No, I headed for my little hotel in town. It had been a very exciting but exhausting day. There were some special parties going on in the hotel that night but I was not privy. One group partied around the putting green after the sun went down and then sat down in golf carts lined up in front of an outdoor movie screen and watched an old Elvis movie. Of course this was the one where Elvis rode around on a motorcycle but I don't remember the name. I was happy enough to go back to my room and crash.
Sunday morning was also a very exciting event. At 8:30 am approximately 60 of us met at the storage area for a planned 45-mile motorcycle ride. The CHP was there to escort us in front and in the rear. What was amazing was that more than half the bikes were not legal to run on the street. I had no mirrors, many had no plates and even more had little or no mufflers. Joining the bikes from the 20's, 30's, 40's 50's, 60's. 70's, were the two jet bikes. We ride took off down the highway with the CHP blocking all intersections. The direction then turned up into the hills and after about 30 minutes of climbing twisties into the mountains were arrived at the famous intersection containing Alice's Restaurant. The big San Francisco biker hangout already had 50 to 60 regulars when we pulled in with the CHP leading the way. The place went wild. Everyone broke out their cameras and came over to see the bikes.
Most of people had been at the show the day before and were excited to see these actual gems in action. Unfortunately some of the older bikes arrived a couple minutes later as the hills were putting quite a strain on their engines. On the way back to the hotel two of them overheated and broke down. Luckily, a repair truck was provided by the Legend organizers to follow the group in case any of the older bikes had trouble handling the mountains.
In all, it was a very exciting weekend and a tremendous learning experience. I would encourage all to attend this outstanding event next year and before I forget-- ask for the "biker discount" at the Ritz.