Page title ESSEX-KENT




We had a full house last Thursday. As well, Kevin F. made his return and we had a new attendee (Wayne R.) who showed up with a magnificent 1975 Suzuki GT 550. Dale organized a very different meeting for us. He began by announcing that he had spoken to George J. about the possibility of his assuming the Vice- Presidency and the latter agreed on condition that Dale stay on for at least a year if not longer to help George get his feet wet while working with Dale and, if or when Dale decides the time has come to hand over the Presidency, George is willing to be considered as one of the possible candidates for that position. But, in the meantime, he is content to just assume the position of Vice-President. There was unanimous agreement on this and, afterwards, applause for Dale who has done, and will continue to do, an outstanding job as president and fully deserves all the accolades bestowed on him. Hopefully, when the time comes, Dale will also hand over his gavel to his successor so that he too can keep the noisy multitudes at bay.

Next, Dale proposed a new position, that of Event Promoter and Coordinator, and suggested Carl K. since he has already been intimately involved with the Plunkett’s event and he and Debra recently organized a highly successful barbeque. Carl also has specific ideas about how our section should present its bikes at upcoming events. He wants to make the choice of bikes “event-specific”: if a show organiser requests that we only display “vintage” bikes, or for that matter British bikes, we will comply with those requests; however, whenever we are asked to simply asked to come and display, we will bring a “broad array” of bikes. Rob D. and Kevin R. were re-confirmed as the Section’s Ride Committee and, subsequently, they provided a short overview of this August’s trip to the VRRA meeting at Mosport and the follow-up trip to Sharbot Lake Provincial Park and environs. The group saw some great races but Saturday was a wash-out. They arrived Sunday evening at the park where yours truly and spouse were already safely ensconced. The next day they headed out for McDonald’s Corners where they had breakfast at Wheelers Pancake House and visited a chainsaw museum!! Tuesday was another wash-out but on Wednesday they ventured out again and stopped at Calabogie raceway but they couldn’t do any track time. On the way home Rob D.’s motorhome suffered a flat but it was quickly fixed and now they can start planning again for 2017!!

Before we get into the lengthy discussions about various others matters, let’s deal with some traditional and newsy items. Rob N. showed up with the cylinder head of his ’72 Norton Commando. It featured a broken plug and a stuck exhaust collar, both solidly rusted in place. Immediately some members proffered help and Kevin later removed both by applying copious heat. Yours truly proffered the bolt and dowel that hold the ignition plate in place on his ’76 Honda 400F Supersport which he had managed to shear off. Kevin successfully extracted the offending items and Len B. made a new dowel and helped reduce the new bolt to its proper 55 mm. length. As well, Charles F. announced that the Motorcycle Cannon Ball rally for pre-1917 bikes will start in New York on Sept.10 and pass through Mason, Ohio, on Tuesday Sept.13. He has invited everyone to come along and see these “Veteran” and “Vintage” bikes pass through!! Additionally, on Sunday Sept. 4 about twenty of us enjoyed a lovely barbeque at Jim and Jan M.’s place. Steve B. looked after the burgers and hot dogs and the guests provided the salads and desserts. Numerous of wasps swarmed over our drinks but the ambiance was great and the food excellent. The  Sept. 10-11 weekend will be busy. On Saturday “ The Wheels on Wyandotte East” event takes place. Please show up at 10:00 am in front of the Shoppers at St. Louis and Reedmere. Afterwards Kevin is having a barbecue at his house. On Sept. 11 “The Battle of the Brits” is at Camp Dearborn, Milford, MI and the Walneck Swap Meet is on at Monroe, MI. On Sunday Sept. 25 we will all congregate at the “Get to the Point Again,” at the Stoney Point Sportsmen’s Club from 10:30 am -2:30 pm. Hopefully, members from the Sarnia and London section will once again join us. And, as per usual, we will be meeting at Tim’s near the Essex bypass every Wednesday at 11:00 am and Sunday breakfasts will occur after the 8:30 am meetings at the same Tim’s from whence we will proceed to a restaurant of our choice. Finally, Peter F. won the 50/50 draw and generously returned the $ 25 winnings to the section’s coffers. For all the other upcoming events, please consult our website where Dale has already posted them!!

New Business: Firstly, Dennis H. has a collection of older motorcycle mags that everyone is welcome to have otherwise he will dispose of them. In this context, Jim M. opined that we should start a library collection so that valuable research material is not lost and I concur wholeheartedly!!

Most of the evening was consumed by two discussions: one dealt with the various classifications of “vintage” bikes and how our section should handle its contribution to shows. Dale kindly supplied me with the following classifications which I am reproducing below because other sections may find these of interest as well:

Veteran Pre-1915

Vintage 1915-1930

Post Vintage 1931-1945

Classic 1946-1960

Post Classic 1961-1975

Modern Classic 1976-1990

Late Classic 1991-2005

Other possibilities: European, Asian, North American, British, Competition, Custom.

As was pointed out, different events use different criteria for their shows. At Amherstburg the age limit was 30 years old and Plunkett’s specified 25! Therefore, our section will abide by the event’s criteria whenever we are requested to participate. By the way, in the Sept/Oct issue of Cycle Canada, Steve Thornton has an excellent editorial about old bikes and cars and why people collect them. It seems it has much to do with the bikes one grows up with because they continue to resonated with us. In Thornton’s case he’ll “be looking [to restore] a ’57 Panhead.” I started riding a BMW as a mere youngster and my first bike in Canada was a Ducati so those are my preferred ones!!  

I’ve polled some members on how they define ”vintage” bikes  and the most common response was that whatever strikes a person’s fancy ought to be the main criterion. Therefore, some of us go for Nortons, others prefer BSAs or Ducatis, if not Hondas or BMWs. Yet, although many people totally lack all interest in motorcycles, once you are bitten by the bug, you realize that you are ensconced in an ever expanding universe! To give an example, the June 2016 issue of Bike contains an insert featuring “100 Great [Recent] Bikes!” And, of course, if you read Classic Bikes or Motorcycle Classics, you’re well aware that the variety of “older” bikes is just about endless and the minutia of detailed information that cognoscenti possess can actually be discombobulating or as  I might say: “Well, I’ll be a Dutchman!” … which of course is true.  Of course, those master craftsmen who have meticulously restored their pre-war Nimbus or Norton or, for that matter, a handful of postwar Matchless singles deserve heartfelt praise for their skillful work. Kudos to them; if only I could match their skills!

Secondly, the matter of group rides was brought up. Obviously, you can’t be “a leader of the pack” if your “Post Vintage” or “Classic” bike limits you to 50 or 60 km/h.; ditto for those who “prefer” to putter along (say no more!!). Therefore we might wish to take up the following suggestion: to wit, we divide ourselves in “slow,” “medium” and “fast” groups and give the first and second group head starts!! Then again, the three groups could ride off in different directions but agree to arrive at a specific time and a common meeting place. Either approach might be worth trying….

Puttering off into the distance,

Your garrulous scribe,

Adrian van den Hoven




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