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2019 - AMCA Raalte, NL

2019 - AMCA Raalte, NL

The last time we went to Raalte, our favourite cylinder count (2, for those who are new here) was king. But the AMCA this time just went on counting. When they reached the magic number 4, they stopped, and sent out the invitations. Knowing that AMCA stands for Antique Motorcycle Club of America it was kinda clear that there weren't going to be a lot of customized Jap 70s four-bangers in the parking lot. "Four Cylinders" was the word, and under blue skies not less than 50 (that's right folks, FIFTY) US-American four cylindered bikes found themselves parked in front of the American Motorcycle Museum in Raalte, The Netherlands. They were all there, Henderson, Excelsior, Ace, Indian, Cleveland, Pierce …

The ACE alone had rounded up 14 machines, which left Keith Kizer and Don Dzurick, the AMCA's executive director and chief judge respectively, deeply impressed. "We ain’t seeing that back in the States." they commented. Bravo, European Chapter. Another bravo went to the countless rare finds to be found in the traditional Swap Meet. This is not your garden variety car boot sale, this is the place to find those elusive US parts of legend, and quite a few happy faces were seen leaving the place with ear-to-ear grins, their treasures under their arms.

Many smiles too when the Buuz’nrieders Brommersclub (not to be confused with the Boozefighters MC) rode up on around 50 mopeds. This club is totally focused on 50 cc machines, among them many junior riders' vehicles who had a chance here to look round for some bigger future projects. Very smart of the club's senior management.

Yet another bravo goes out to the restaurant-hotel that's part of the museum. They did their level best to keep the supply of food and drink flowing in order to keep the in some places rather antique body mass of bike owners topped up with lubricants and fuel stuffs.

Saturday was, as usual, Judgment Time: 20 classics were subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny by a team of brand experts, judging restaurations for their closeness to original specs. A high rating can mean the value of the bike going up considerably, if everything is just so. A non-correct washer can mean a few tenth of a point subtracted from the score, meaning the weekend is ruined.

The evening saw good vibes only though, provided by a few good bands and the humongous XXL barbecue. Next year's motto was making the rounds too: "The Teens", meaning the stuff from the 1910s. Let's see what they roll out of their barns and garages come 2020.

All photos courtesy of Onno Wieringa