Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Evel Knievel Story and Dirt Track Heroes

National Motorcycle Museum, Anamosa, Iowa

Evel Knievel Story and Dirt Track Heroes
Featured at Vintage Rally 2013

Featured at Vintage Rally 2013 was the largest ever Evel Knievel memorabilia display. Leathers, jump bikes, rare posters and photos, even Evel's money bag and a couple of his canes with secret storage were featured. Photo by Don Miller, Metro Racing.

Painted by Artist George Sedlak, many of Evel Knievel's 
actual jump helmets were on display at Vintage Rally 2013.

Robert Westercamp, creator of a fine Honda CB500 Cafe Racer accepts his Best of Show award from John Parham, National Motorcycle Museum President and Founder of J&P Cycles.

Invitations to enter the Bike Show went to riders up to 1000 miles away, and many responded

with their street and race bikes from every corner of the globe.

Vintage Rally is the annual event which spotlights famous motorcycle racers, features special exhibits and showcases the National Motorcycle Museum.

Long before the term "sport bike" described light, high performance street bikes, this 250cc Bultaco Metralla, made in Spain in the mid-1960's, howled down twisty roads. John Worden, owner, took home the trophy for the European Sport Class.

Bike Show entries included a sweet Honda SL175, a first year Kawasaki Ninja and, far right, a finely detailed Honda CB500 Cafe Racer which judges awarded Best in Show.

The Swap Meet offered up artwork for your walls, helmets, lubricants, luggage, even some well preserved 60's Japanese bikes.

This Sportster custom was close to being finished, but ready to find a new home.

Swap meets are "manned" by a wide range of specialists. In addition to seeing old friends and picking up some parts for a project, you can listen and learn a lot from vendors.

Vintage Rally is truly an "all brand" meet, 
and over its three years has offered items for sale up to 100 years old.

Famous dirt track racers sign autographs and chat with fans.  
The Museum's new exhibit, Allstate Motorcycle Dirt Track Heroes presented by J&P Cycles features motorcycles raced by these riders and more; Jay Springsteen, Rich King, Bubba Shobert and Chris Carr. Photo by Don Miller, Metro Racing.

Painter of Evel Knievel's bikes and helmets, George Sedlak joins Hall of Fame dirt track racers Dick Klamfoth, Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman as they take a break from autograph signing during Vintage Rally 2013. Photo by Don Miller, Metro Racing.

World traveler and author Jerry Smith was on hand to talk with adventure touring fans and encourage new riders like this young man. Photo by Don Miller, Metro Racing.

Fantastic American antique bikes and European cafe racers in the outdoor bike show and swap meet, the biggest ever Evel Knievel exhibit inside the Museum, plus nearly a dozen famous racers and tuners for the opening of the Allstate Motorcycle Dirt Track Heroes exhibit. A lot to experience in one weekend, it was all part of the third annual Vintage Rally at the National Motorcycle Museum, Anamosa, Iowa.

Vintage Rally showcases the National Motorcycle Museum each year. It's an opportunity to  bring in notable members of the motorcycle community, offer up a few special and fun things for visitors to enjoy, and 2013 was the best Vintage Rally yet.

Topping the bill for the event was a traveling Evel Knievel exhibit. Lathan McKay, an Evel Knievel aficionado  based in Texas has been digging up leathers, bikes, posters, shirts, jackets, photos and more out of garages and attics on the north American continent. The Rally featured his biggest memorabilia show yet, with two jump bikes, a dozen sets of leathers and five original George Sedlak painted Knievel helmets, plus a replica X2 jump rocket bike. The Wembley Stadium helmet was part of the grouping, showing chips, scrapes and a little yellowing from this historic jump and crash by America's favorite dare devil.

Next up visitors were treated to two new features in the changing exhibition areas of the National Motorcycle Museum. The new Scooters! exhibit features about 15 European, Japanese and American scooters, scooter art, even a scooter video to put these special compact two wheelers into historical perspective. Primarily a phenomenon of post-War economies in Europe and America, the exhibit is a great setting to compare and contrast designs from several decades.

But Vintage Rally 2013 also included the opening of a new special exhibition, the Allstate Motorcycle Dirt Track Heroes presented by J&P Cycles exhibit. During the Vintage Rally dirt track greats like Chris Carr, Jay Springsteen, Bubba Shobert and Rich King talked with the crowd and signed autographs as did tuners, John Kite and Bill Werner. But racers from an earlier era were on hand as well. Iowa racer John Tibben plus Bill Tuman, Bobby Hill and Dick Klamfoth, even enduro champ Bill Baird chatted and signed autographs for their fans, enjoyed telling a few stories. Dirt track authors/historians Greg Pearson, Gerald Foster and Bob Herrick were also part of the activity.

One panel discussion seated six established motorcycle collectors. Fielding questions, these experts shared decades of experience and helped visitors learn trends in motorcycle collecting. A second panel discussion featured six dirt track racers and two tuners; the audience received some very personal insight into the careers of men involved in dirt track racing who gave everything to become #1.

The new dirt track and scooter exhibits will be in place through April 2014, but the days when famous racers visited and told their stories is past, along with a great Vintage Rally 2013. We hope you join us next year when we create Vintage Rally 2014 and bring you more stories from American motorcycling history.

There are also over 400 motorcycles and several thousand pieces of artwork, photos and memorabilia on display at the National Motorcycle Museum. Everything from the history of board track racing to how gasoline stations played a role in transportation are featured. Bikes from Von Dutch, Steve McQueen, the Easy Riders Captain America chopper plus a brace of Broughs and Vincents are featured. The Museum is open every day 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, year around. The website will help you plan a trip; www.nationalmcmuseum.org. Or call for more information, 319 462 3925.

Besides a good number of Harley-Davidsons, Yamaha, Indian, Bultaco, Rotax, 
Honda, Triumph, BSA and Matchless motorcycles are represented, 
and most are motorcycles with provenance, racers with a story.

Jay Springsteen was on hand at the opening and told many stories of his racing career and some hunting tales. Photo by Don Miller, Metro Racing.

Racers  Jay Springsteen, Rich King, Bubba Shobert, Chris Carr, Bill Tuman, Bobby Hill, Bill Baird and Dick Klamfoth signed autographs. Photo by Don Miller, Metro Racing.

Rare artifacts from the 1970's era of dirt track racing included a set of Moly-designed Kenny Roberts leathers, a Don Castro Triumph outlawed by the AMA for its streamlining all loaned by Don Miller, Metro Racing.  For the exhibit, right, John Fitch loaned the last Triumph Gary Nixon raced.

National Motorcycle Museum Founded in 1989
 National Motorcycle Museum Information:

The National Motorcycle Museum is open seven days a week, year around. Museum members are admitted free. Becoming a member is quick and easy. Admission is only $8.00 except during special events. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.  

The National Motorcycle Museum is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation. 
For more information, email the Museum at museum@nationalmcmuseum.org or 
call 319 462 3925. 

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