Motorcycle Cannonball Sponsor Spotlight
Written by Jason Sims
April 23, 2018

The Antique Motorcycle Club of America was founded in 1954 by a group of antique-bike fans in the New England area (pictured from left are T.A. Hodgdon, Emmett Moore, Henry Wing Sr., and Henry Wing Jr.). 

AMCA Founders

In the decades since, the AMCA has grown to become one of the largest organizations of antique-motorcycle enthusiasts in the world, with 11,000 members in the United States and more than a dozen other countries.

From the beginning, the purpose of the club has been the “preservation, restoration and operation of old-time motorcycles.” Members of the AMCA own, restore, preserve, study or just admire motorcycles that fall into the antique category, meaning they are at least 35 years old. Although the Club is based in the United States, fans of motorcycles from all countries are welcome, and ownership of an antique motorcycle is not required to become a member.

Through its network of 75 affiliated chapters in the U.S. and abroad, the AMCA provides a way for antique-bike fans to share their interest with others in their local area. Chapters typically host regular meetings, plus activities like bike shows, swap meets and antique-bike road runs.

At the national and international level, the AMCA maintains a calendar of National Meets and Road Runs that include some of the premier antique-motorcycle gatherings in the world. National Meets typically include a large vendor area, where members can sell everything from antique-bike parts to entire motorcycles that are at least 35 years old. In addition, National Meets offer a full schedule of other activities, ranging from seminars and bike shows to motorcycle field games and antique-bike racing. 

All National Meets also feature the AMCA’s National Judging Program, in which members’  motorcycles can win awards in three categories: Restored, Original Condition or Period Modified. Instead of competing against each other, bikes entered in the AMCA Judging Program are evaluated on a 100-point scale against the standard of the same motorcycle as it would have appeared when it originally left the factory. 

National Road Runs provide an opportunity to use these classic machines for their intended purpose—riding on back roads in some of the most scenic parts of the country.

In addition to those events, AMCA members also get access to a number of benefits, including a high quality magazine six times a yand online forums where they can seek advice from experts, and the AMCA Virtual Motorcycle Library, featuring downloadable copies of hundreds of old and rare sales brochures, parts lists and repair manuals. Plus, AMCA members receive discounts on admission to some of the country’s premier motorcycle museums.

Mostly, though, people join the AMCA to meet up with others who share their interest in machines from the classic era of motorcycling. For some, that means the satisfaction that comes from investing thousands of hours in bringing a rusted hulk back to it original perfection. To others, it means preserving artifacts of the past so that they can be appreciated by future generations, or the simple pleasure of enjoying a two-lane road at an unhurried pace—just like motorcyclists generations ago.

Does that sound like you? Why not join with thousands of other like-minded antique-bike fans by becoming a member of the AMCA?



Cannonball Characters #22 Jeff Lauritsen
Written by Felicia Morgan
April 10, 2018

Cannonballer #22 is a two-time rider who is signed up to make it a triad for 2018. The 66-year-old Lauritsen chuckles when asked where he’s from. He announces that he’s a South Dakota resident who lives in Nebraska, an arrangement made for business purposes. For 45 years Jeff transported bees across the country, primarily between California, Texas, North and South Dakota, but says he’s retired to the life of a farmer now. “I’m a hobbyist farmer,” he grins. “It’s what I do for relaxation, really.”

The story of how he became smitten with the run comes from stumbling across the riders as they made their way across the Midwest back in 2012. He and his wife Linda were out for a pleasure ride one sunny afternoon and started seeing all these old bikes sputtering along the countryside. After discovering what they were all about Jeff decided he needed to be a part of the adventure and called Lonnie Isam to see if he could sign up. Unfortunately the roster was already set for the 2014 run so his name went on a waiting list. Jeff laughs when he tells about calling Lonnie incessantly and his surprise that, after being such a pest, Isam even bothered to answer the phone. Eventually someone dropped out and Jeff moved into their position in the lineup. It was on the sands of the Daytona Beach that he finally met the patient and smiling promoter face-to-face. “Lonnie was such a great guy,” Jeff shared.

Both Lauritsen’s Cannonball adventures have been wrought with drama as he’s struggled to get his motorcycle across the country with teammates. Winning is not important to Jeff; the adventure itself is what excites him. The ride got serious just a day away from crossing the finish line during the 2016 run when Lauritsen was involved in a traffic scrape that took his bike out of contention and required a trip to the hospital for him. He waves off any concerns when asked how badly he was hurt, but tells about friends helping him push his wounded 1916 Excelsior across the finish line on a dolly, since it wasn’t capable of rolling on its own.

For this year’s run Lauritsen has a different machine undergoing an overhaul and the bike’s completion is his only real concern. Cannonball alumni, racing and building veteran Fass Mikey Vils is currently wrenching on his 1914 Excelsior and Jeff’s a little concerned. Parts availability has been a serious issue since suppliers, machinists and craftsmen are all very busy working with other Cannonballers who are also frantically preparing for the fall adventure, but Jeff says he’s certain Vils will have it in tip-top shape in time to toe the line in Portland, Maine, come September. Vils is also signed up to tackle the run and is prepping his own machine as well.

“The Motorcycle Cannonball is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” Jeff beams as he shares that his wife and youngest of his three daughters will accompany him just as they have in the prior runs. “And they’re just as excited as I am.”

Original story apperaed at:

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