Venice Vintage Motorcycle Rally 2014

September 16, 2014
Bryan Harley
By Bryan Harley
Cruiser Editor |Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it’s chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to ‘Merican, he rides ‘em all.

It was a bouffant and beehive friendly affair, a retro-spectacle of bobbing and chopping at the street party known as the seventh annual Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club Rally. It started with a posse said to be over 100 strong who met outside of The Stronghold on Abbott Kinney Blvd. then rumbled up the PCH to the Venice Farmers Market. At the park, the celebration magnified with a full-blown bike show in a carnival-like atmosphere, music and laughter filling the air. The collection of slick custom motorcycles extended around the block, many of the bikes in the parking lot show-worthy in their own right.

One bike that stood out above the rest was a wonderful 1976 BMW R90 reinvented by Brian Sloma of Spirit Lake Cycles. The downtown LA-based shop captured top honors in the bike show for their work.

Local girl Lucianna Luci Josephine strikes the pose that helped her win the title of VVMC Pin-Up Girl 2014.
Local girl Lucianna ‘Luci’ Josephine strikes the pose that helped her win the title of VVMC Pin-Up Girl 2014.
This tidy BSA rolled away with the award for best British bike.
This tidy BSA rolled away with the award for best British bike.
Brian Sloma of Spirit Lake Cycles was a happy man after his 1976 BMW R90 was awarded the title of Best of Show at the 2014 VVMC Rally.
Brian Sloma of Spirit Lake Cycles was a happy man after his 1976 BMW R90 was awarded the title of ‘Best of Show’ at the 2014 VVMC Rally.

“Started with a ’76 R90. It’s got a CB350 fuel tank on it. The rear seat is all custom metal, hand-formed, the fenders are hand-formed. All the struts for the fenders, the exhaust is all handmade. It’s got a ’70s fog light off a Ford truck for a headlight. Inverted levers were handmade in Pasadena. Hand pinstriping by Harpoon, he’s an old school hot rod builder out of Orange County. R90 motor is pretty much stock except for re-jetting and pipe. I relocated all of the ignition under the tank, made all the cables, made the bars for it. Re-laced the wheels and polished everything. And everything’s nickel, there’s no chrome on the bike. It gives it like, that orangey tint, you know? And then our badges are all water-jetted so pretty much everything is done by hand. We don’t do machines, everything I do is with a die-grinder and a MIG welder,” said Sloma.

Between the rows of bikes in the show were local craftsman like Deus Ex Machina, Gasser Customs, and British Customs. James and Jason Panther have a lot of good stuff in the works and brought a handful of their customized Triumph Motorcycles to the show, including the Tribute Tracker and the Vintage Vendetta. One of the highlights of the day was getting a chance to rumble around Venice Beach on the Vintage Vendetta, the reimagined 2012 Speedmaster reborn as the consummate beach cruiser. Raspy, raw, with a devilish sounding pipe and a stretched-out rider’s triangle, it’s the perfect motorcycle for rumbling around SoCal’s beachside hubs.

Michael Schacht of the Crocker Motorcycle Co. out of Los Angeles was also one of the guest presenters. Schacht has built a wonderful modern interpretation of the vaunted Big and Small Tank Crockers. Schacht is offering a limited production run of the new Crockers built in the vein of the old. Though the new version has been updated with an 80 cubic-inch V-Twin, the girder fork, shiny raw aluminum tank, and approximately 100 sand-cast parts give Schacht’s Crockers the feel of the original.

The story of the day though came from the 1973 Honda CB350 G Street Tracker raffle bike. The splendid little Honda, outfitted with Hagon Shocks and Steel Dragon Velocity Stacks, was built by Scott DiLalla of “Harbortown Bobber” fame. The beneficiary of this year’s raffle was the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation and tickets were selling like hotcakes at the show. Here’s where the story gets good. According to the VVMC Facebook page, Jason Lewis told his friend before the drawing that “If I win, I’m giving the bike to you.” Guess what? Lewis won, and promptly followed up his promise to his friend Sheenen by handing the keys to the cool little Honda Street Tracker over to his buddy.

The day culminated with a spirited competition for the retro 2014 Miss Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club Pin-Up Girl contest, with $350 cash going to the winner and $150 for second place. With Lady Falco of Trim Hair Salon emceeing the event, Lucianna ‘Luci’ Josephine won over the crowd and judges in her patriotic attire to earn top honors. Another contestant named Quinn also garnered big shouts when she showed off her Midwestern roots by belting out one of the most authentic pig calls around, endearing herself to the crowd with her bellowing call.

Even with temperatures hovering around 100-degrees, the cool vibe and friendly atmosphere of the show attracted a huge crowd, proving the garage-building scene is alive and well in Venice Beach.