May 12, 2021
By Mitch Boehm
You might not think a little ol’ swap meet would be such a big deal considering all the so-cool stuff happening at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days — including road and off-road racing, AMA Hall of Fame happenings, legends sightings and autograph sessions, bike shows, general vintage-bike stuff, evening BBQs and all the rest.
But at VMD the swap meet is a center-stage type of thing, one of the prime elements of the Three Ring Circus that Mid-Ohio becomes every July, and largely because of the size and depth of it all. Comprising approximately 100 of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course’s 400 acres, the VMD swap meet is a big spread, and what you’ll find there, from bikes to parts to memorabilia to advice to food and just about everything else in between, is always smorgasbord-ingly mind-blowing.
You can wander about for days at a time and literally lose yourself in the stuff presented there – and people have. “Has anyone seen Chuck? He’s been gone since Friday morning and we are all very worried…”
One year, for a story we called MOMBA because it truly was the Mid-Ohio Motorcycle Build Attempt, a dozen or so motorcycle nutcases from Wisconsin led by a couple named Wes and Leah went to VMD with a plan to buy, build and race a motorcycle sourced completely from the swap meet. The plan was to buy the bike there, fix it up and make it race-ready from stuff purchased there, and then race it. You’d think the person who’d actually agree to compete on such thing would have a screw or two loose…and you’d be right. And yes, that person would be me.
But despite the many risks inherent in such a venture, it all worked out pretty well. The original plan was to buy a GPz550, but when none were available a KZ550 LTD cruiser ended up being the focus of the MOMBA team’s attention. And after two full days of cutting and welding and rebuilding and painting and duct-taping, the thing actually ran — and began looking like an actual racebike. Well, sorta.
It was a wild and wacky scene during those 48 hours, with team members running from the pits to the swap meet at all hours in golf carts and returning with wheels and forks and pieces of exhaust pipes and shocks and the like, which would then set off another flurry of sparks and welding flashes.
I’ll leave the gory details for another time (we shall re-tell the story again in an upcoming issue, I promise), but suffice to say the bike ran, we started the race on it, and we finished 8th in Middleweight Superbike division. And all thanks to the AMA VMD swap meet!
So do not miss your chance to see what it’s all about. And remember, tickets for this year’s AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days are available only from Mid-Ohio at midohio.com.