On 1st May 2008 and without a moments hesitation we decided to head across the Atlantic to participate in a superb event that we had discovered via the internet the previous year. Back then information on events like this was not as widely available as it is now, so we didn't know exactly what to expect.
The 'Legend of the Motorcycle' was the most prestigious Concours d'Elegance show, unique in that it was dedicated to motorcycles of all types. Jared Zaugg and Brooke Roner conceived the idea several years previously.. In its third year, the event was staged at the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay on the edge of the Pacific. For surfers this location situated in Northern California harbours the mythical and terrific Mavericks wave found in the Northern part of the bay.U
After a 24hr non-stop journey, we finally took possession of our hire van at San Francisco airport and headed off up the coast to catch the beginning of the show the next day. The weather was surprisingly cold and overcast, but the drive up Highway one and the views along the corniche more than compensated!
Eventually we arrived at the Ritz where we immediately sensed a bizarre atmosphere, this luxurious location normally reserved for a chic clientele, was completely overtaken by motorcycles and motorcyclists! All along the fairway huge trailers were unloading tens of motorcycles at a time, all of them absolutely amazing. Some celebrities were already there busy making preparations for the start of the show. In Europe we are not used to seeing such a quantity of classic machines all assembled in the same venue, included among them 200 motorcycles destined for the events auction. This first day ended with participants enjoying a drink together...
The following day was bitterly cold and covered by thick fog, but nothing could dampen our enthusiasm! 2008 was dedicated to MV Augusta and Norton. Former legend riders and mechanics of these two marques were also presents. There were just the right amount of spectators ensuring the event remained relaxed and enjoyable. The days programme unfolded and the judges judged before delivering their final decision mid afternoon.
I remember Vince Martinico's Indian taking most of the judges votes, and of course two young guys called Ian and Amaryllis, better known as Falcon and their custom machine of a different sort baptised 'The Bullet'. Since then Falcon has gone from strength to strength.
I covered several miles during the course of the day determined not to miss a single spectacle, then to the auction where the shear value of those motorcycles being sold was jaw dropping!
To finish the day an immense dinner was organised, we were all like kids around the table at Christmas struggling to hide our excitement. The day after our flight was waiting to carry us back to Europe, it had all passed too quickly and felt almost dreamlike...
Sadly this event is no longer held and I have never discovered the same ambience elsewhere. It will however remain a massive influence...
thanks to Brooke and Jared.
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