Bridgestone has been selected as the Classic Club for the 2010 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 9-11, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
The selection of the Classic Club complements the announcement of Marque of the Year for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, which for 2010 is Husqvarna. By honoring a Classic Club, the AMA continues a long-standing tradition of recognizing the many brands that are represented at America's grandest celebration of motorcycle heritage.
As the Classic Club, the Bridgestone Motorcycle Club will be featured in a special tent on the grounds of Mid-Ohio, and visitors will have a chance to see bikes, memorabilia, vintage dealer signs and much more relating to the rare Japanese brand.
"Though most people know Bridgestone today for tires, the company produced a line of well-regarded motorcycles in the 1960s that gained a strong following among many enthusiasts for their light weight, good power and the company's emphasis on technological advancement," said Tigra Tsujikawa, AMA special events manager. "The Bridgestone Motorcycle Club has done amazing work preserving many of these fine bikes, and I'm sure many enthusiasts have never seen more than one or two machines together before. That will change this year at the Classic Club tent."
Club organizer Randy Gibbon, who is working with fellow enthusiasts Larry Young and Larry Vancil, said the group is excited to spread the gospel of Bridgestone to the thousands of people at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.
"We're just a group of people, from enthusiasts to former dealers of the brand, who really fell in love with Bridgestones back in the day," Gibbons said. "Most people don't realize it, but they really were amazing machines -- beautiful, dependable and powerful. I can remember back when I was in school, my Bridgestone 350 could win against almost anything stoplight-to-stoplight."
Gibbons is aiming to amass perhaps the most impressive gathering of vintage Bridgestones from the East Coast and Midwest, with the goal of having at least one of every significant model the company produced, all on display in one place. "We've identified a lot of the best restorations out there, and I know people will just love seeing them," he said.
Bridgestone first entered the U.S. market circa 1960 with the Bridgestone 7, a 50cc, fan-cooled, single-cylinder two-stroke. The company grew through the 1960s with an expanding line of technologically advanced motorcycles up to 350cc, but never got its marketing into gear to compete with other Japanese brands. Though its larger machines compared favorably to competitors' machines, the company moved away from making motorcycles by 1971 to concentrate on other products, notably tires, which are sold the world-over today.
Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. The goal of the Hall of Fame, located on the campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio, is to honor the distinguished men and women whose competitive spirit, passion, vision and entrepreneurship have played a vital role in shaping the sport, lifestyle and business of motorcycling. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame's website at MotorcycleMuseum.org.
Tickets to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days are available at MidOhio.com.