Husqvarna, the legendary make that ruled AMA Racing off-road competition throughout the 1970s and 1980s, has recently made a full-throttle return to national championship contention. This July 9-11, the iconic brand will celebrate its heritage and build toward its future as the Marque of the Year at the 19th annual AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.
Recognized as the world’s largest gathering of vintage motorcycle enthusiasts, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days attracts tens of thousands of fans of all ages, eras and brands. The event takes place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Ticket information is available at MidOhio.com.
“Arguably the most dominant off-road racing brand in the United States for a generation of racers, Husqvarna has recently returned full force to AMA Racing national competition,” said Tigra Tsujikawa, AMA special events and marketing manager. “We’re pleased to showcase both Husqvarna’s history and the company’s renewed investment in motorcycling’s present and future at this year’s AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.”
“Husqvarna Motorcycles is delighted to be the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Marque of the Year for 2010,” said Husqvarna Motorcycles North America President Mark Brady. “Launching the new decade with this prestigious recognition is indeed an honor. Everyone at Husqvarna Motorcycles is very much aware of the great history of the brand, and we are determined to bring back the glory days.
“We believe that developing a closer relationship with the AMA is an important part of growing and protecting the rights of every rider in America,” Brady added.
As part of Husqvarna’s participation in AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, fans will be able to get up close and personal with the Husqvarna’s moto-history, from its genesis in Sweden in the early 1900s to the high-tech off-road, motocross and dual-sport bikes the company sells and races today.
In addition, every year an individual with ties to the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Marque of the Year is selected as Grand Marshal for the event. The 2010 Grand Marshal will be announced shortly.
Although many U.S. riders first became familiar with Husqvarna in the early 1960s, the company had been selling motorcycles since 1903 when it fitted Husqvarna frames with engines from makers such as FN and Moto-Reve. In 1920 Husqvarna began building its own engine, a 550cc four-stroke 50-degree side-valve V-twin. Another early milestone was the legendary “Svartkvarna,” built in 1946. It was a lightweight, reliable two-stroke that could endure hard use with minimal maintenance. The machine established a reputation that would define the Husqvarna marque for decades to follow.
By the early 1960s the two-stroke revolution had yet to reach the United States. U.S. riders were still tackling the woods and deserts on converted Harley-Davidsons, Triumphs and BSAs. It was about this time that a man named Edison Dye, now a member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, took a motorcycle tour of Europe during which he became instantly enthralled with the European sport of motocross, and a new breed of lightweight two-stroke bikes favored by its competitors.
A few years later, Dye put a Husqvarna motocross bike in the hands of a young American rider named Malcolm Smith for evaluation. Smith, also an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer, gave the bike a thumbs up. This persuaded Dye to become the U.S., Husqvarna importer in 1966. As part of a marketing campaign Dye organized visits to the U.S., by the reigning Swedish world motocross champion Torsten Hallman, who also has since taken a seat in the Hall of Fame. Not only did Dye sell Husqvarna motorcycles but he also introduced a new style of motorcycle racing to America.
While educational displays and seminars at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days will focus on Husqvarna’s rich history, the machines also will be among the many brands that amateur racers will test on the racetrack in the multiple racing disciplines that are part of the weekend’s competition schedule.
In addition to vintage and post-vintage competition in motocross, trials, hare scrambles, roadracing and dirt track, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days features North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet. Also on tap: bike shows, demo rides of current production bikes, motorcycling seminars, stunt shows, the new product Manufacturers’ Midway, and club corrals featuring marque and regional clubs.
Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. The goal of the AMA Hall of Fame, located on the campus of the American Motorcyclist Association 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 Museum’s website at MotorcycleMuseum.org.
For more information about AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2009, visit AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.com.