Thursday, June 12, 2014

AHRMA / Rockerbox Road America 2014

It was quite a weekend.

Weather great, maybe more than just great.....a light shower Saturday after SOME of us were in bed.
The ride on Thursday, casual and comfortable.
Weekend's racing as excellent and competitive as always.
Last but not least, time with friends old and new the very best.

I took a very unscientific survey of my fellow campers now that the weekend has passed and we're pretty much in agreement that the addition of Rockerbox this year was overall positive though much room has been left for improvement.  Jim mentioned that it brought more young fans than we're used to during the Antique and Historic Roadracing Motorcycle Association racing and I would agree.  Not only were there lots of new people, young and old that wouldn't have been there otherwise, but they brought motorcycles that haven't have been present in years past.  Overall, I'd give the event an A for planned effort and a C for execution.  We're all hoping for an improved grade next year though it may just be that a street event with some pretty decent urban history would be best remaining so.

As mentioned in my post last week, Wed. evening I made the 5 hour drive to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to spend my first of two nights in a motel.  It was late and I was tired after a very long day, so the bikes stayed on the trailer, obediently waiting for Thursday morning.

Road Closed on Creekview.  I should have turned around but of course chose not to.

I heard reports of various recent heavy rainfall amounts.  All I know is that there was water standing in many places it didn't belong.  This road only recently mostly repaired, the shadow ahead is where a big new shiny culvert will be placed......someday.  It wasn't there last Thursday and the plastic fairing beneath the Hyo should have been a skidplate.  Walking it through didn't seem like the answer.  Riding through really shouldn't have been the answer either.  I did come out the other side though.

I've been here before, a small city park and lovely Lake Michigan access at Amsterdam Road.  Free access, something not available just any old place along the lake.  Wisconsin cheese and Loehrs Meat sticks from nearby Campbellsport made my 3 hour sit/lunch/wave-pelican watching noonish break more than pleasant.  The Wisconsin beer came much later in the day but it would have been very, very good here.

Up to Sheboygan Falls and a stop at a park that we used to visit almost 35 years ago during those very first racing weekends when we trekked over.  I toyed with visiting the Kohler Museum, a place I've never visited but just wasn't in the mood.......this trip.  Maybe next time.

West and away from Lake Michigan to the edge of Fond du Lac and some more big water, only not quite as big as the Great Michigan.  Lake Winnebago here, expansive enough that the opposite shores are out of sight.  There were pelicans here as well and lucky for me, they were never content to sit very long in one place.  Take-offs and landings were abundant.

Back to the motel, off with the little red Honda (the green one was able to stay in place, only leaned a bit to make room.  The Hyo back in the center, the CT90 back on and fastened beside and ready for an early trip to the track early Friday morning.

Road America is roughly 30 miles from where I stay in Fond du Lac and I wanted to be at the track's gate by 6:30 Friday morning.  Last year I was there at 7:00, the official opening time and by then there were already 5 or 6 units setting up in the Carousel's camping area.  Not knowing what to expect with this year's expected larger crowds due to Rockerbox, I was confident that being at the gate, even if I had to wait for them to open would get me at least a spot and even better, site 116, our usual.

Here it is, number 116 down in the corner, a pie shaped, cul de sac sort of spot in the southeast corner. Oh, I was the first one to set up, climbing out of the van at 6:20.

Two people make the Wenzel setup easier, but I get it up easily enough alone........

I was very surprised when not long after, Steve came rolling in.  He'd spent the night before in the local Wal parking lot.  Here the Big Ruckus was already off his trailer and our new friend Jimmy from extreme Ohio-almost-PA was over to introduce himself.

Shocked when only a few minutes later, Don and Cathy came up from central Iowa and setup in the adjacent site.  Don brought a couple of his bikes as well.

Steve jumped on the Big Ruck and I fired up the little green bike and off we went to circle the entire course once and then ease our way through the pits.  Lots of creative beauty, friendly advice and sharing of knowledge follows.......

From western Canada.....

This one's warming up and making music......

Ron's very pretty BSA.....

Ron's son Chris (sunglasses) makes 2 stroke Yamaha's go very, very fast.

Pete was there again, RA his first race of the new season.  Admitting that he was a bit rusty, he told us with a huge smile on his race.......back in the game.

Over a couple of spots, I spotted this logo....Team Orthopedics.  For more than 20 years, I've worked for ortho companies and currently work on spine implants.  I asked the guy snuggling into his leathers how this troop of Triumphs was connected to the world of orthopedics.

"I'm a spine surgeon in Mobile, Alabama"

I've heard, "Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up" before but Doc threw in  "...and your spine straight" at the end.   That was a new twist on the old advice to me.

Two hand shift Indian's.......

This one's for Deb......

A couple of antiques that weren't there to go fast.....

Steve and I happened to be in Canada Corner (turn 12) when this Ducati went down hard.  The bike slid, the rider kart-wheeled and tumbled during Friday's practice.  This was our first viewing of a rider being hauled away in an ambulance.

Jim hauled his TU250 over, we 3 at the brand new Corvette Bridge.

In the pits, I just had to go over so that I could feel good about the price Peg and I have been paying for gas......2.3 gallons, almost $22.  I should have grabbed the receipt.

Friday evening and most of us had arrived, Rick up from Iowa, Mike and Rod wouldn't make it over from the Twin Cities until just after 10pm.

Saturday morning breakfast in Plymouth, Diane took care of us last year, she did the same this year.  Rod's XS650, Mike's Condor Army bike, the TU250 and Rick's Big Strom at the end.

All you need to know.....

Bikes (and people) representing Rockerbox were on display.

Fancy metalwork and legal women.......

A Free Spirit that I don't recall seeing at previous AHRMA events.

Yes, the propeller works but more importantly, the cooler is piloting the plane.

Steve admiring this lovely old 4 Henderson.......

Sidecar pilot (passenger) evolution.........

The Gang and the Encampment........

The SL100 on the hill.....

......under the billboard.

Saturday evening, back into Plymouth for dinner (they make me lead, the only reason I'm in front).

Sunday morning, Mike's Condor Army bike ready for more race watching.

I've mentioned the Dead Cat Rock Pile in the past.....we discovered this year that the poor kitty has been honored with a memorial.  Brian's cat will forever be remembered.

Rod and Mike parked across the street from us.....our group took up a lot of space in the Carousel.

I remember watching 3 electric bikes racing, their tire and wind noise the only sound as they pounded past on the pavement.  This pit worker is cleaning the grit from the rear tire.

Their own organization.....

Dave Roper, heading out for a round of practice

The experienced New York couple that I photograph every year....

I'm getting the Stink Eye here.....

I never found out her name but the woman that makes this Honda Ascot go is fast!

Mike and Rod packing up, Sunday afternoon.

I mentioned 2 accidents over the weekend in corner #12; we witnessed them both and both of them required an ambulance.  I've got video of this event actually happening but will keep that to myself.

This racer was up and walking, the other participant wasn't as mobile.

Chris making his RD400 go through the constant radius Carousel.

4:30 Sunday afternoon, I'm ready to get the rest of my packing done, the shelter down and the bikes loaded.

Another great race weekend, fun and good times all around.  A few drops of rain Saturday after I was in the tent, otherwise just wonderful conditions to be outside with friends.

A video taken riding around the perimeter of the track.  Some places outside, some inside but this gives an idea of the size of the 4 mile track and grounds.

Late Sunday a ride through the pits, many racers and visitors already packed up and gone.


  1. WOW, so much good stuff in one post. It looks like you had a lot of fun. It is nice that so many of you that know each other gather there to hang out. Thanks for sharing.

    The second video played fine for me but the first one says private.

    1. Brandy, it was 4 fun filled days and such a wonderful time. I've come to expect a lot from the AHRMA weekend and this year met expectations. I think the video is fixed....our uploads go so slow that somehow the Publish button didn't take. Thank you for the heads up.

  2. I second what Brandy said. Great collections of beautiful bikes, some of them with very interesting stickers by the way.
    However, the photo with the green Honda scrambler on the hill strikes me most. It's like that little bike seems to be whispering 'I want to play with the big bikes. Can I? Pleeeze?'.

    1. That green Honda up on the mound was something special to me as well. The race track itself drops a lot as it runs down that hill. The Honda is up high on a mound, not the highest elevation on the grounds but compared to anything nearby, it's up pretty high.

      It was so good to give both of the small bikes some real exercise this weekend.

  3. Nice pics! I haven't to RA since 1992.Gotta get up there again someday

  4. Thanks Scott! We'll have lots of room next year for another Iowa guy. Speaking of your fine state, don't forget about Elkader the weekend after the 4th. Thurs - Sun, let me know if we should watch for you.

    1. I have that penciled in Doug.If I show up it's probably going to be early.Like I have said.My schedule this year leaves me working 48 hours in whatever time frame.I will let you know the closer that gets.As an aside,the Tenderloin Ride is going to be a pretty fluid date this year.My sched is looking pretty effin effed up.
      Tenderloins will be when they be.

  5. Great time... good friends. The weather god parted a huge green blob on the radar just as it approached the track. "
    Bikes had no issues... )

    1. We really lucked out last weekend in most every way. Everyone was able to make the trip that planned to, no incidents and as mentioned green blobs that were approaching fell apart over Lake Winnebago. We'll be buying next year's tickets as soon as they go on sale.

  6. Once again you're having TOO MUCH fun! :=)

    Naw...loved that Big Ruck and the little red one...whatcha call it?

    Glad you had a chance to hang out with kindred souls!

    1. Deb,
      For whatever reason some very good people have allowed me to get close; I treasure my time with them.

      The little red Honda is a 1969 CT90, Honda's classic trail bike. A dual range 4 speed transmission that you have shift though the clutch is 'automatic'. They are Postie's in Australia and used to deliver mail or at least were for years.

  7. Great photos. It's been wayyyyy too long since I've been to a vintage track meet. They're always so much fun.

    1. Thanks Canajun, very kind of you to say. We'll save you a spot next June ?!