Seven-time champ ruled the woods on Triumph twins
PICKERINGTON, Ohio-The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) announced that seven-time AMA Grand National Enduro Champion Bill Baird will be co-grand marshal at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 25-27, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in central Ohio.
Baird, one of the most decorated woods racers of all time, will be sharing co-grand marshal duties with 1970 Grand National Champion Gene Romero at the Triumph-themed event. Now in its 16th year, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is expected to attract 60,000-plus motorcycling fans from throughout the Midwest and points beyond to ogle classic motorcycles, haggle for deals and rub shoulders with fellow riders.
"In the 1960s, Bill Baird won the AMA Grand National Enduro Championship seven straight years on 500cc Triumph T100 twins before retiring from active competition in 1968," said AMA Director of Special Events Will Stoner. "He went on to serve on the AMA Board of Directors and has been inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, and we couldn't be more pleased to have him join us as a co-grand marshal."
"I belonged to a local club in my area, the Rock River Riders, since 1949 when I joined the AMA," said the unassuming Baird, who served on the Association's board for 21 years. "I took a little out, and I'm willing to give back. It will be quite an honor to serve as co-grand marshal. Plus, it supports the museum, and we need all the help we can get."
All proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the non-profit Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in nearby Pickerington, Ohio.
Baird started riding Triumphs in 1948 and was a pioneer at a time when many people considered motorcyclists in less than flattering terms.
"You meet a lot of nice people on a motorcycle," said Baird. "My wife, Millie, and I made a lot of friends, and a lot of them are still our friends. There were an awful lot of guys riding back in those days, and you got to know a lot of them. When we got done riding, we usually came in and had a good time."
When it came to racing, few could match Baird's competitive drive. Yet to hear him tell it, he could have been out on a weekend trail ride.
"The first Triumph I rode just fit me and I kept it for quite awhile. Later, I bought a new TR-6 and rode it in the Jack Pine five times without a problem. That motorcycle was very reliable, I rode it everywhere--on the road, off the road, everywhere. After that, I got the 500cc T100. It was a twin, probably the only good twin at the time. It seemed to have about everything you needed, with a wide-ratio transmission that you didn't have to shift much in the timber. That was a real reliable motorcycle, too. I only had to walk once. Over all those years, having to walk just once, that's pretty good."
Baird's success on a Triumph helped earn the British marque near-mythical status in the 1960s and '70s, making it only fitting for the AMA to select Triumph as VMD Marque of the Year. Throughout the three-day event, Triumph motorcycles from past and present will be featured at the Marque of the Year display. Plus, there will be a Triumph-only bike show and the Vintage Triumph Roadshow will feature Triumph expert and Baxter Cycle owner, Randy Baxter, appraising classic Triumphs and Triumph memorabilia.
"There's much more on tap for motorcycle enthusiasts of all brands," said Stoner. "We have shows featuring American, British, European and Japanese bikes, a café racer display and our ever-popular Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em show."
The biggest draw of AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is arguably Swapmeet™, sponsored by Motorcyclist Retro magazine. Billed as the world's largest motorcycle swap meet, collectors from throughout North America gather at Mid-Ohio and spread out over its 35 acres.
Other AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days activities include:
Motorcycle demo rides provided by Triumph, BMW, Buell, Can-Am Spyder, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, KTM, Kymco, Moto Guzzi and Vectrix.
The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Auction
Motorcycling seminars sponsored by Kymco, featuring noted world travelers, authors, writers, builders and experts such as Zack Coffman, John Healy, Don Hutchinson, Clement Salvadori, Mike Seate, Alice Sexton, Ted Simon, Bob Vail, Craig Vetter and Mark Wilsmore.
A special display by the North American Laverda Owners Club, featuring Laverda founder Piero Laverda.
American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association road racing, motocross, cross-country, trials and dirt track.
2002 World Champion Triumph stunt rider Kevin Carmichael, Team FMX Freestyle, Team Extreme Motosphere and Ryan Young's Trials Stars Show.
Guided rides of the rolling countryside around Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Advance tickets to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days can be purchased at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - Lexington, Ohio. Racing and Driving School.
or by calling (800) MID-OHIO.