National meet to draw motorcyclists to Franklin County Fairgrounds

  • Motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country will convene at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield this month as part of a national meet organized by the Yankee Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. A previous meet is pictured. Contributed Photo

For the Recorder
Published: 7/19/2022 3:48:01 PM
Modified: 7/19/2022 3:47:36 PM

GREENFIELD — Motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country will convene at the Franklin County Fairgrounds this month as part of a national meet organized by the Yankee Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America.

The event will open to the public on Saturday, July 30, at 8 a.m. and will continue on Sunday, July 31, closing at 5 p.m. There will be motorcycle displays and judging, more than 150 vendors, a banquet and a meeting for club members. Admission is $5.

The Yankee Chapter is one of the largest chapters of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. Founded in 1973, the chapter covers all of New England and has 380 members. The Yankee Chapter has held meets sporadically since 1974, usually in Connecticut.

This month’s meet at the Franklin County Fairgrounds is one of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America’s nine national meets, representing a gathering of members from as far away as Ohio and Florida. In addition, the association holds national “road runs,” which 13-year club member Chris Luck describes as ride-based, three-day events.

Membership Chair Ken Herschfield, who is in his fifth year helping to organize the Yankee Chapter meet, said he is happy to bring the event to “a new community that hasn’t seen anything like it before.” Praising Greenfield’s proximity to Vermont and the Berkshires, Herschfield noted that previous meets have attracted between 2,000 and 3,000 visitors over the weekend. He hopes for even more this year.

Luck said the organizers don’t know who’s coming ahead of time, since registration is done online through the national organization’s site.

Most of the display bikes will be at the entrance to the Franklin County Fairgrounds, with more than 150 vendors set up like a swap meet. The vendors will sell both motorcycle parts and full bikes, with several reproductions. There will also be a “fun run,” a two-hour ride on Saturday for anyone with a motorcycle 35 years old or older.

Also on Saturday will be a roundtable meeting, where the president of the national Antique Motorcycle Club of America will meet with the head judge of the Yankee Chapter. Unlike most of the events, it is geared more toward club members than the general public.

The day will end with a dinner banquet at 6 p.m. This year, the barbecue-style menu includes pulled pork and chicken, which Luck said always sells out.

On Sunday, July 31, the motorcycles will be put on display for judging. Any bike produced before 1987 is allowed to be displayed, with some of the older ones dating back to the 19th century.

According to Peter MacMurray, a club member since 2006 who organizes the field judging, the Antique Motorcycle Club of America has a very comprehensive judging program that doesn’t compare bikes amongst themselves. The standard for determining a score for the bike is authenticity to the way it appeared when it left the factory. Each motorcycle is assumed to have 100 points when it comes on the field, with deductions made for inauthenticities. Consequently, there are only two judging categories: unrestored and restored. Sunday morning’s judging will be followed by field games.

Members of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America spoke to how their shared love of classic motorcycles has united them.

Herschfield is no stranger to the world of classic motorcycles. A motorcyclist since 1984, he joined the Antique Motorcycle Club of America in 2001, and has been with the Yankee Chapter since 2003. Hershfield said he first joined the association when he came across a bike for sale, and it looked like nothing he’d ever seen before. After buying it, he found someone with an even older bike, who told him that he needed to join the Antique Motorcycle Club of America.

Ted Smith, a club member since 2014 who recently stepped down from a five-year stint as Yankee Chapter president, describes antique motorcycles as “an addiction.” The Antique Motorcycle Club of America, he added, is like a family of choice.

“It’s meeting new people, meeting people of like interests,” Smith said. “For me, it’s a family.”


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