Meet a motorcycle ace at “The Ace.”
Author/journalist/biker Mark Gardiner, whose exploits at the International Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) road race are the subject of his book Riding Man, is coming to LeMay – America’s Car Museum (ACM). Gardiner will be a featured guest and judge at the “Meet at the Ace – A Summer Shakedown 2012” Vintage Motorcycle & Scooter Festival, August 24-26 on ACM’s Haub Family Field.
The show, co-promoted by the museum and Ace Cafe London, is one of the signature events for the newly-opened, four-level, 165,000-square-foot Tacoma museum, and will feature an array of vintage motorcycles and scooters, including Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Indian, Lambretta, Moto Guzzi, Norton, Triumph, Vespa and Royal Enfield.
In addition to judged classes, the event will include a concours, motorcycle-related movies, live music and a Sunday “Ride to Rainier” in conjunction with the Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts Club. Attendees can also enjoy panel discussions centered on the film “On Any Sunday” and a slideshow retrospective presented by Ace Cafe London Managing Director Mark Wilsmore.
“Back when I was club-racing in Calgary (Canada) in the early ’90s, I always loved getting a spring tune-up race in Seattle,” said Gardiner, who’s written three books about motorcycles, including his memoir Riding Man. “If anything, the motorcycle culture in Seattle’s even more vibrant these days. I know Seattle’s avid cafe racers will come out to ‘Meet at the Ace,’ and I can’t wait to hang out with them again.”
Ten years ago, Gardiner quit his job, sold everything he owned and moved to the Isle of Man to study the TT course and train there. His goal was to see if an ordinary motorcyclist could qualify for, and finish, the notoriously dangerous TT, which he did. The TT – which began in 1907 – is the oldest motorcycle racing circuit still in use. It’s famous for high-speed racing along very narrow, twisting streets, roads and lanes flanked by stone walls and buildings, as well as “Mad Sunday,” when any member of the public can ride the mountain section of the course.
Gardiner, who was a staff writer at Motorcyclist and test rider for Road Racer X magazine, currently writes the monthly Transatlantic Notes column for the UK magazine Classic Bike and posts his monthly Backmarker column on MotorcycleUSA.com. He’s also the author of the popular blog bikewriter.com.
The first edition of Riding Man sold out, but Gardiner will be releasing the second edition at ACM’s Meet at the Ace event.
“This show will exemplify America’s love affair with the motorcycle just as ACM puts a spotlight on America’s love affair with the automobile,” said David Madeira, ACM president and CEO. “I’ve been a vintage motorcycle aficionado since the ‘70s, so my focus is to create an unrivaled vintage bike show in the Pacific Northwest.”
“The Pacific Northwest has a strong motorcycle and scooter community, which puts this event in position to become a staple of ACM for years to come,” said Burt Richmond, vintage motorcycle and scooter promoter and member of the ACM board of directors. “Our Concours, open to all makes manufactured prior to 1980, is a judged vintage motorcycle and scooter exhibition that will present awards for various classes.”
The Summer Shakedown is co-sponsored by Ace Cafe, a London-based cafe with a prominent motorcycle following, which re-opened in 1997 after originally operating from 1938 until 1969. The event will mark the first time Ace Cafe London has produced a vintage motorcycle event in America.
For more information, visit www.lemaymuseum.org.
About America’s Car Museum (www.lemaymuseum.org)
State Farm Presents LeMay – America’s Car Museum, which opened June 2, 2012 in downtown Tacoma, Wash., explores how the automobile has fulfilled a distinctive role at the core of the American experience and shaped our society. The spacious Museum with rotating exhibits is designed to be the centerpiece for automotive history as well as an educational center and library. The campus, located adjacent to the Tacoma Dome, also contains a 3.5-acre show field, theatre, café, banquet hall and meeting facilities. To get information on museum hours, becoming an ACM member, volunteer opportunities or to make a donation, visit www.lemaymuseum.org.
ABOUT Mark Wilsmore & Ace Cafe London (www.ace-cafe-london.com)
Injected at a young age, petrol and motorcycles flow through Mark Wilsmore’s veins in equal measure. Early influences of revving bikes and rock n’ roll music began a lifelong love affair with the culture, clothes, music and the myths that surround them, making his knowledge and attention to detail legendary.
Time passed, as did the glory days of the British Motorcycle Industry and the rock n’ roll scene, but the dream lived on and in 1994, driven by his passion, he staged an event to mark the Ace Cafe’s closure in 1969. 12,000 people attended this first Ace Cafe Reunion, which has since been held every year, attracting over 150,000 visitors.
It was Mark’s vision that brought the iconic cafe, back from dereliction, to the point where today it is the world’s most famous and charismatic destination and pitstop for the global “petrolhead” community. Visit www.ace-cafe-london.com.