In September, the Del Mar Fairgrounds near San Diego, California, hosted the 2013 Celebration of the Motorcycle, a three-day event that included a charity ride, motorcycle auction and concours d’elegance. The weekend kicked off with an antique and vintage motorcycle auction, organized by Mid-America Auctions, that began Friday night and continued through Saturday. Rare or well-restored 100-pointers held their values, of course, but there were also affordable bikes for the average rider’s garage, such as the Norton 850 Commando Interstate I had my eye on that sold for $7,000.
Saturday kicked off with the Broc Glover 2013 Breathe Easy Ride-In Against Cystic Fibrosis. Glover, a six-time AMA motocross champion, along with world GP champion Eddie Lawson, motocross and Supercross champion Ricky Johnson and former pro motorcross racer (and Glover teammate) Scott Burnworth served as road captains, each leading groups from various locations in Southern California to the fairgrounds. Glover, on a new Indian, led a group of us on a coastal route north from San Diego to the oceanfront Del Mar Fairgrounds. Proceeds from the event supported the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Autograph hunters fared well over the weekend, with nearly two dozen motorcycling legends present and ready to sign event posters, including Jody Nicholas, Bruce Penhall, Sammy Tanner, Kel Carruthers, Skip Van Leeuwen, Marty Tripes and others.
Sunday’s concours d’elegance was well-attended, with 23 classes scrutinized by a qualified cadre of judges headed by Honorary Chief Judge Ed Gilbertson and Vincent expert Somer Hooker. The oldest machine to win an award was Larry Feece’s unrestored 1899 De-Dion Bouton Peugeot trike, which took home the First Award in European Production, 1900-1940. Feece also earned the First Place Chairman’s Award for his Royal Enfield Rickman Interceptor.
Jim Lattin won four awards for his multiple entrants in the Pre-1930 classes. Two custom bikes from Arlen Ness drew some attention away from the largely “stock or restored” bike crowd, while Tom White’s collection of Montessa Cota trials bikes in varying sizes drew long stares from the children in attendance (“It’s just my size!”).
Perhaps the oddest machine was the French-built 1929 Majestic owned by Alex Pilibos, which took the Second Award in European Production, 1900-1940. The Art Deco-styled Majestic was ahead of its time and perhaps a bit too odd to be successful. It featured hub-center steering—a concept first attempted on the Carl Neracher-designed 1921 Ner-a-Car—and utilized a pressed-steel frame under matching left-right monocoque panels, with the fuel tank inside the front fender. Some versions had a hand-applied crackle-finish as was replicated on this machine.
The paddock area at the Del Mar is as visually stunning as any venue. Palm trees, soft ocean breezes and mild weather represent Southern California at its best, and the local area is known for stellar local accommodations, fine dining and shopping.
For more information, visit celebrationofthemotorcycle.com