photo courtesy of the AMA

1939 AJS wins Grand Marshal’s Choice Award at annual AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Bike Show

photo courtesy of the AMA

A number of expertly restored motorcycles and original classics were on hand for the annual American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Motorcycle Hall of Fame and Ride ‘Em Don’t Hide ‘Em Bike Shows, Saturday, July 10, as part of AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.

“Great weather, beautiful motorcycles and a diverse stable of entries made this one of our most memorable years,” said bike show organizer Katy Wood, operations manager of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. “The motorcycles were stunning, and AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Grand Marshal Malcolm Smith was extremely gracious in his support. I want to personally thank all our judges and participants for supporting the Hall of Fame at this event.”

Although several bikes won awards, participants Jim and Joan Vandergriff of Linwood, Kan., were two stars of the event, with three of their motorcycles winning individual categories and two finishing as category runners-up in the Hall of Fame Bike Show (full results below).

Among the Vandergriff’s honors was the coveted Grand Marshal’s Choice Award for their 1939 AJS. In presenting the award, Grand Marshal Smith said the bike reminded him of his early racing years, when he had a ’49 Matchless. Matchless and AJS had a common owner but were produced under their own marques for many years.

“[The Matchless] was my first motorcycle after a Lambretta scooter, and I remember the thrill of it, and I remember that primary case, the magneto and the rigid frame,” Smith said. “I actually raced something like that in the desert with that seat and a rigid frame. I didn’t know any better. I thought that’s what you did. It’s just so meticulously done. I’m no expert on what’s original or not, but it’s the one that appealed to me the most.”

Both Joan and Jim said the motorcycle symbolizes, for them, a special era in motorcycling’s history.

“Especially these ’30s and ’40s bikes, they represent the golden age of motorcycles, and we just can’t live without them,” Joan said. “We just love this event. We’ve been coming for about five years. We support the AMA. We’ve been Life Members for years, and we support the Hall of Fame.”

Jim added: “When you get on it and ride it, you feel like a good, proper gentleman. The unique thing about the AJS, you’ll notice that it has two exhaust pipes, but only one piston. It’s called a dual port, and it’s got an incredibly unique sound.”

AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is an annual three-day celebration of motorcycling’s past, present and future, with proceeds supporting the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio.

Held July 9-11 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, this year’s event featured vintage motorcycle racing in numerous disciplines, demo rides of new motorcycles, seminars by motorcycling legends, North America’s largest swap meet and Husqvarna as Marque of the Year.

More information about AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days can be found at AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.com.

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