Event Recap – VJMC Spring National Meet

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Editor’s Note: David N attended last weekend’s VJMC Spring National in Eustis, Florida. Just like with the AMCA National in New Smyrna, he was kind enough to share his thoughts for those of you that couldn’t make it out!

The VJMC Spring National meet was held at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Eustis, Florida again this year. Billed as Destination Eustis, the show was slated to run Thursday March 9 through Sunday March 12, which again was the same weekend as the AMCA Sunshine Chapter National Meet in New Smyrna, about 1 hour or so apart. The AMCA show ends Saturday. So, I split my time between both shows. On Friday, I attended both shows and went to Eustis on Saturday.

Friday I walked right in. There were no admission or parking charges and no one standing at the gate, but on Saturday, I was asked for a parking donation. I’m OK with admission or a donation but I wasn’t too sure the attendant was really a volunteer for the VJMC. He might have been. I just couldn’t tell.

On my full day in Eustis, a good omen greeted me, an authentic Captain America styled HD Panhead chopper complete with no front brakes and a chrome frame. Given the locale, I thought this Captain America might be the same one I saw in Oviedo Florida during Biketoberfest two years ago. A Florida based Captain America was featured on Bike-urious in October 2014. That one sold on Ebay for 25K. Sure wish it were mine. Was it the same one? It might have been!

Normally I search the flea area first but my friend wanted to preview the show bikes. So, we did that. There seemed to be fewer show bikes this year over last. It was a good turnout but it was better in the swap area.

There was a variety of bikes in the show area and to my surprise, a number of quality British and American bikes were in the show as well.

I had more success finding moderately priced vintage parts at the VJMC meet over the AMCA meet. I picked up a Triumph Trailblazer frame for my friend and some early XLCH performance parts for one of my own projects. I missed a Champion flat track frame and a 20” Triumph wheel at the VJMC. They went cheap!

I scored this Trock steel transmission door and some P+ cams for an Ironhead XLCH project at the VJMC meet. Go figure, I would have thunk they might be with the AMCA!

This nearly complete NOS HRC sport kit was one of the hidden treasures in a VJMC vendor’s stand. Originally offered by Honda, these came in four flavors, Rally, Roadster, Student and Boss to dress up your Honda Cub! This one is missing only its gas cap.

I walked right past this “58 Duoglide” until my friend pointed out it was a fake Duoglide. It was a full size hollow plastic display with an old Harley seat thrown on for looks. It looked so real!

We got ourselves a real widow-maker here! Literally!

Last week’s “Guess that bike – VJMC edition” revealed and it could be yours for $7,500. It’s a 1956 Showa SC Cruiser. Kudos again to yrrah. What I don’t know is any connection to the fork and suspension company of present day and I don’t know the relation to Rikuo. You can advise me!

OK, a homemade motard girder set up? Is the inventor alive and uninjured?

Even the Russians showed up with Dnepr and Ural conversions with modern BMW power-plants on these /6 sidecar rigs. Most folks walked by not recognizing these bikes as anything special. The black one is a “hacked” Dnepr conversion using a BMW power-plant on a 2WD Dnepr complete with the Soviet reverse gear. A custom adapter is used to mate the motor to the Soviet transmission. These were Canadian imports. Dneprs are more common in Canada (as opposed to the US) and were imported more regularly there due to US sanctions at the time against the USSR for their invasion of Afghanistan. Throw away the Soviet motor and go with the West German power-plant for the best of both worlds. The owner builds these for sale but also buys BMW motors for transplant.

This is a Dnepr/BMW 2 wheel drive “hack”, aptly named for a number of reasons I guess. The white one (below) is a later Ural which has a completely different rear differential. The Ural is more plentiful in the US after being imported officially starting again in 1995, but then again, much different than the Ural models available today. Good to know someone has figured how to keep both alive! The Dnepr was of Ukrainian origin while the Urals were decidedly Russian. Both trace their roots to Soviet copies of the German BMW R71.

The Soviet Ural was a civilian model only then available in 1 wheel drive. This one was a newer 2WD Ural converted with a Beemer motor.

This Gilera 250 was recently purchased at an estate auction in Georgia. True Gileras are not often seen in the US – this was authentic and not a Sears or Argentinian model. It could have been yours for $3,000. That’s a fraction of the price for similar period Ducati but with more heritage methinks!

Both shows (VJMC and AMCA) directly compete against each other on the same weekend for eyeballs and wallets. The AMCA event used to be held in Eustis but was moved to New Smyrna when the meet became a National Meet. Some hold-outs remained steadfast in Eustis. The Eustis show was then adopted by the VJMC, but there are vendors in both shows hawking desirable wares for both markets.

I attend both shows, but that’s hard to do, driving from one to the other, coordinating dates and time. If the organizations joined shows, the resulting meet could be the best in the country, one that would even rival the Barber Festival but that would still divide one’s wallet and attendance between the two camps.

While I’d prefer one show at a common location rather than two shows over the same weekend, I wish they would they divide their Bike Week shows over two weekends, one the first weekend and the other the next. That would greatly improve our ability to attend and participate in both shows (and our ability to make withdrawals at the bank). I think that would also improve the bottom line of both groups.

As it stands now, it’s hard not to blow one’s money at one show without thinking of the other show. Both groups suffer, and the “vintage” part of Bike Week could last more just one weekend, which would make all of Bike Week so much better. In the meantime, one must plan to attend both shows, for better or worse.