It was a hometown car and motorcycle show on Saturday afternoon – a half-mile from my house and benefiting the Harwinton (CT) Lions Club – so naturally I brought a bike, paid the $10 registration fee and parked it for spectators to admire. I also nudged some friends to bring their motorcycles to display and to support a good cause.
By the time the “Cars for Sight” show involving cars, trucks and motorcycles ended, though, I was reminded that beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder when it comes to motorcycles, and that even non-riders can appreciate two wheels. The only problem was that the judges had a difficult time picking a winner.
I had been asked to judge the motorcycle entries, but felt that would be unfair seeing as how I knew the owners of eight of the nine bikes entered in the first-ever event, which turned out to be very car-heavy. I recused myself, so the Harwinton Lions Club came up with two alternate judges – non-riders Julia DiGiuseppe (left in picture) and Leah Taylor. They attend Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington, CT and they were charged with selecting the recipient of the Best in Show trophy.
My role became that of adviser, providing that with as much info about each entry as possible and introducing them to the owners to get additional info. However, my first executive decision was to tell them not to judge the orange 1974 Honda CB750 in the middle of the bike line as it belonged to me.
While they assigned points to the bikes, their criteria wasn’t based on how original or imaginative a bike was, rather on their gut reactions – was there something about the bike that simply pleased them?
Perhaps predictably, they found something to like about pretty much every bike. A 2013 Triumph Thruxton brought by Dean Mojon of New Hartford got approval for its retro good looks and sparkling green color. A 1987 Yamaha Venture Royale owned by Jason Morris of Harwinton pleased them because of its long-range capability. The fact that a 2006 Triumph Speedmaster owned by Jeff Lawton of Harwinton had several vintage add-on features caught the judges’ attention, too.
The bike that unquestionably stood out from the pack, simply because of its age and the name on the gas tank, was a 1929 Indian 101 Scout (pictured above) ridden in by Tim Raindle, who currently calls Torrington his home. It got the bulk of the attention from spectators. The judges admired it, but I advised them that it was actually owned by Adrian Cave, an Englishman now living in New Zealand, and that Raindle was exercising it for his friend.
After much discussion, DiGiuseppe and Taylor picked a 1965 BMW R69S owned and ridden by Wayne Bidwell of nearby Farmington (pictured at left and at the far left in the picture atop the Home page) as the best bike in the show. What did they like about it? Well, they said, it looked like it could be ridden by Batman, probably because of the fairing up front. If that wasn’t a good enough reason to choose it, I don’t know what would have been.
The “Cars for Sight” show attracted many more cars – old ones such as a Ford Pinto and AMC Gremlin as well as new ones – than it did motorcycles. I can’t help but think that there’s not much crossover between car enthusiasts and motorcycle lovers and can’t help but wonder if the Harwinton Lions Club might be better served if it stuck with only cars next year. Still, the event was enjoyable for the bike owners who did show up.