What better way to test your luck than dropping a few quarters on a raffle ticket that could bring you a free motorcycle? Make that a nickel-plated Triumph classic given the full custom treatment. That was made possible thanks to the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club (a.k.a. VVMC) as part of the festivities celebrating their 10
th Annual Rally and Bike Show on September 13, 2017 Venice, California, just west of Los Angeles.
Back in 2007, when they couldn’t find a decent bike party in their hometown area, four Venice vintage bike enthusiasts put together the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club: Shannon Sweeney, Jeff Verges, Hunter Knight and Patrick Dunn-Baker.
Says Shannon, “Here in the Venice area we had a bunch of bike shops but no local activity, so we brought this event together so everyone could network. It’s a chance to meet other creative-minded people, ride bikes and have some interesting bike and art community conversation. And we did it so that it encompasses all motorcycles; everybody is welcome.”
Over the past decade the rally has continued to grow in popularity, attendence and the quality and diversity of its showcased motorcycles…vintage, classic, custom, café racer, radical, you name it. And for the past several rallies, a one-off custom bike has been raffled off to some lucky guy or gal.
Scroll down to check out photos from the Rally, including the Best Bike and Best In Show winners, plus the beautiful Golden Raffle nickel-plated Triumph.
British iron was in particular abundance, including this well-kitted 1938 M20 BSA.
Riding in for the VVMC party all the way from Phoenix, was JP Harris on his Kawasaki W650 and his two buddies on Triumphs.
With the Pacific Ocean a couple blocks away, beachcomber bicyclists joined the motorized fans. In fact, the guy that won the Raffle Bike rode in on a bicycle to buy his ticket.
Best Euro Award went to Jim Murphy’s 1966 BMW R60/2 with Steib sidecar.
This Italian-brewed Rumi scooter was given the Midas touch. During WWII Rumi was busy building submarines and torpedoes, so maybe there was a design connection? This model appears to be a 125cc 2-stroke Formichino, or “Little Ant,” that thanks to its relatively spirited powerplant could smoke the 250s of its day.
Kawasaki is legendary for its two-stroke screamers, while offering several small displacement, lightweight machines with plenty of fun per cc.
Another lady arrives on one of the new 750cc V-twin Harley Street Twins. And yes, it’s water-cooled and that 17-inch front wheel does look smallish…but we have to admit they have a clean and trim look.
This rider came in on a new Triumph Scrambler wearing a vintage bubble shield…but he still can’t resist the siren call of his thoroughly modern cell phone.
The most-photographed dog at the event was an Airedale named “Harpo” who has clocked 13 years in a sidecar with his friend Dydia. At the moment he’s sharing the photo op with a crusty trophy given out to the “Ugliest Motorcycle,” in this case Dydia’s 1957 Czech-made scooter called the Cezeta…which translates good-naturedly to “pig” because of its snout-like front end.
L.A. mover and shaker Lorenzo Dalla Vedova talks to a guy trying out one of the cloned Crockers being assembled by Michael Schacht. Schacht has been reviving the famous brand using the original factory blueprints and sandcasting the parts. As only some 54 original Crockers still exist, bringing the breed back to life is an historic undertaking. Lorenzo is involved with the effort and also leading the way to establish a world-class motorcycle museum in Los Angeles.
Hand-crafted by L.A.-based Iron Werx, this trophy was destined for the Best Bike winner.
And that trophy went to Eugene Garcin for his 1934 Cotton 25J, the British bike company that was the first to feature a triangulated frame. In this case the bike is powered by the famous JAP engine, as in J.A. Prestwich.
Among the numerous vendors displaying their wares was British Customs, who rolled out several variations on the new Triumph theme, in this case a dynamic duo of flat track racers.
The bikes were prepped to compete in Super Hooligan flat track racing, recently established as a national racing series.
Fashioned from an assortment of real bike parts like cranks, brake rotors and gears, Encinitas, California-based Moto Redux craftsman Mathew Clough offered unique furniture for home and garage, including a variety of tables, bar stools and unique lighting fixtures. This one was fitted with LED bulbs equipped with a dimmer, all sprouting out of a sport bike’s 4-banger cylinder head.
Someone has melded the tank and arched neck frame chopper influence with the café racer style…and it’s for sale.
Zipping around the event was this electric trike, maybe too fast for the kids but something for Boomers to consider.
The 1934 Böhmerland, the world’s longest wheel-based production motorcycle, took the show by storm, winning Best In Show. Owner/rider Paul Greenstein, a veteran Indian collector and restorer, was joined by his longtime riding buddy Dydia DeLyser. The various models of the Böhmerland were built from 1934 until 1939 in what was once Czechoslovakia, until Nazi Germany stomped on it. So where did it get its styling cues? Literally out of thin Czech air. Seems the builder, one Albin Leibisch, had not built a motorcycle previously so he started with a clean sheet, maybe even a real one to draw up his vision of the ultimate road bike, one that could carry up to four passengers. So how does it ride? Says the owner, “Like a log. But actually very smooth.” I guess that makes it a smooth log.
VVMC members, including current club officers Jeff Verges, Dayne Ashbaugh, Eddie Nicholas and Mel Clemens, gather for the El Dorado Triumph Raffle Drawing. The 1950 650cc Triumph was given the name “El Dorado” after the fabled city of gold the Conquistadors searched for back before California was on the map.
In addition to its golden paint, all those glimmering surfaces are not chromed, in fact there’s not a drop of that stuff to be found. Instead there’s a widespread treatment in warm, lustrous nickel plating, something bike builders a hundred years ago were fond of using. The team that built El Dorado consists of VVMC members Farin Hoover and his friend Matt Rowe.
Tom Woods and his 11-year-old son Will both enjoy dirt bike riding and when they heard about the VVMC event they hopped onto their bicycles and rode over. They ambled around the bikes on displays and in the process Tom decided to buy a raffle ticket to support the event’s charity. After learning of their luck, they decided to “pass it along,” putting the bike up for sale or auction where all the money raised would go to the VVMC’s charity, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.