Spanish Motorcycles Featured at Sonomafest
SONOMA, Calif. (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) - This year's AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days West event at Sears Point Raceway places a spotlight on Spanish motorcycles, marking the first time the motorcycles of an entire country, rather than a single manufacturer, have been selected for this honor.
Cycle Gear Sonomafest 2002, a 10-day motorcycle extravaganza, will kick off with the vintage motorcycle event, April 26-28, and conclude with the fastest pavement road-racers in the country at the AMA Supercuts Superbike Challenge, presented by Honda of Milpitas, May 3-5. In between the two weekends, motorcycle enthusiasts will be treated to a variety of activities.
To honor the Spanish motorcycles, Vintage Motorcycle Days West will feature an exhibit of 25-30 vintage Spanish manufacturers, including Ossa, Montesa and Bultaco, hosted by the Spanish Motorcycles Owners Group (SMOG) to chronicle the history of these winning machines. The display will also feature modern Spanish bikes, including Gas Gas, Sherco and Derby.
"Spanish motorcycles have a spirit and a soul not duplicated in other bikes. Spaniards built bikes because they loved them, and it shows," said SMOG President Ken McGuire. "These bikes were built with a passion, and there's something special about riding a bike that was the very best in its day."
Spanish motorcycles played a large part in revolutionizing and reinventing observed trials and motocross in the 1960s and 70s. With bikes that were smaller and more agile than their counterparts, the machines from Ossa, Montesa and Bultaco dominated the sport and were crucial in its development.
Bultaco found success with an observed trials bike that was built from the ground up with the consultation of an experienced observed trails rider. The resulting bike was 100 pounds lighter and more responsive than any other trials bike. The Bultaco began to replace the European bikes on the circuit, and similar models from Ossa and Montesa were quickly produced.
Spanish motorcycle companies soon began exporting their bikes to the United States as American riders discovered that the qualities that made these bikes successful in the observed trials would also serve them well in motocross competition. Riders continued to find success with the Spanish-made bikes and the imported machines enjoyed their hey-day from 1965-1975.
Ossa, Montesa and Bultaco were eventually forced out of business by of a cyclical economic downturn and a communist government that would not allow them to layoff employees, and by 1980 Spanish bikes were all but gone. Recent interest in vintage motorcycles has brought the Spanish motorcycles back, however, and new bikes are now made by Gas Gas, Sherco, Derby and Montesa (which is now owned by Honda).
Vintage motorcycle fans have a unique chance for an up-close look at this historic machines, as well as visit will event Grand Marshal, Jim Pomeroy, who was the first rider to win the World Motocross Grand Prix on a Spanish motorcycle.
For more information about the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days West event, please call 800-870-RACE or visit www.searspoint.com or www.cycleworld.com.