The most hotly anticipated vintage motorcycle event on the West Coast used to be held in conjunction with the Del Mar Mile, in Del Mar, California-that is until its demise a couple of years ago. Now, the one chance to see true vintage machines racing at breakneck speed in California is the Garage Company's Corsa Moto Classica held annually in April at the famed racecourse Willow Springs in beautiful Rosamond, California.
For the pure motorcyclist, it's a smorgasbord of the international flavors of motorcycling. Vintage races are like a museum of notable race bikes, only in this museum, they not only run, they battle it out on the track for trophies and bragging rights.
Aside from the American machinery (why else would we be there?), there was a slew of British, Italian and Japanese bikes. Mounted on one such British machine was legendary dirt tracker Jay Springsteen contesting the Triumph Thruxton Cup series. He decimated his competition, winning over Second Place by most of a lap.
Seeing these antiques running flat out on Willow Springs' 2.5-mile road course is a lesson in suspending your disbelief. Skinny 21-inch tires and frequently no suspension (except frame flex) are the only things between priceless collectibles and a quick burial in the desert.
Along with the old stuff, AHRMA has a number of classes for oddball modern machinery that is not purpose built for racing. Buells, Triumphs, and Ducatis can all find a class to contest that is not filled with the latest Japanese inline-fours. It made us want to sweep the mothballs off of my '96 S1 Lightning.
This year's running also had the added bonus features of a vintage (custom and otherwise) bike show Saturday, a taping of Biker Build-Off Sunday (see HRBW September 2006), and a swap meet. On a mixed note, the 2006 Moto Classica coincided with both the Laughlin River Run and the AMA Superbike event at Fontana. This resulted in both the biker crowd and sportbike crowd being at a minimum, leaving just local Antelope Valley, California, residents and hard-core vintage enthusiasts. The weather in April is not yet the blazing heat of the high desert summer, but it does wear on you. Drink lots of water and keep applying sunscreen. We'll see you next year.