To say it’s a big year for the Laconia Motorcycle Rally
is an understatement. How many other rallies out there can say that they’re preparing to celebrate their 90th anniversary? One comes to mind, and it’s the party along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Funny part is, motorcyclists have been gathering at Weirs Beach even longer than that. Its roots stretch back to 1916 and similar to Sturgis, part of the reason it was officially recognized by the Federation of American Motorcyclists was because of the hill climb races held there. In 1923, it was acknowledged as part of the Gypsy Tour, and has grown exponentially until it turned into the nine-day event it is now. And just as it did way back when, hill climb races are one of the most important events and annually has one of the biggest turnouts.
The 90th Laconia Motorcycle Week officially kicks of Saturday, June 8th and will rage all week until the last stragglers start making the treks back home Sunday, June 16th. Cynthia Makris and the crew at the Naswa Resort will help get the party started right with the 7th Annual Peter Makris Memorial Ride in honor of the Naswa’s patriarch Saturday morning. The event has reportedly raised more than $185,000 over the last six years for the Laconia Fire Department Life Saving Fund, Water Rescue Teams and the Easter Seals NH “Veterans Count” program. Any time during the week is a great time to stop at the Naswa and enjoy a frosty beverage at its lakeside bar, but the day you’ll want to be there the most is Thursday, June 13th from 3-6 p.m. for the Miss Laconia Bikini Contest sponsored by Budweiser.
Racing excitement will kick off the first weekend of the rally with the US Vintage Motorcycle Grand Prix going down at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Oil will be spilt, smoke is guaranteed to fill the air, and plenty of fun is to be had as vintage racers and sidecars take to the track in the spirit of competition. Next up is the AMA-sanctioned Shawn P. Farnsworth Memorial Pro Hill Climbs in Canaan on Wednesday, June 12th. The hill climbs went pro last year, so unfortunately there won’t be any hopped-up snowmobiles blasting up the slopes like competitions of yore. But the
The action should be hot at Laconia this year as the motorcycle rally prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary.
events will still have that down-home feel as they are held in honor of local rider Shawn P. Farnsworth, who died while competing at Devil’s Staircase Hill Climb in October of 2011. Hill climbing in New Hampshire and the Farnsworth family name are synonymous, and pro riders will put it all on the line not only for championship points and trophies but for the memory of Farnsworth and his effervescent spirit. The action then returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway Friday, June 14th, for the 90th anniversary of the Loudon Classic. Superbikes will be in the limelight as road racers in several classes will be going at it all weekend long. The classic is said to be the longest running motorcycle race in America and has been held at the site since before the Speedway was built.
Weirs Beach with its large collection of vendors, restaurants and bars, will be at the heart of the 2013 Laconia action. Take the iconic overhead shot of Weirs Beach from the tower on Lakeside Avenue, then make sure to be in the vicinity Wednesday night for the annual fireworks show. Right across the street, the Lobster Pound and the Laconia Roadhouse will also be hopping. Be sure to catch the annual biker build-off at the Lobster Pound Bud Light Platinum Build-Off Tent where six custom shops from around the New England area have one week to complete a ground-up build for a big cash prize. It’s always a treat to watch the motorcycles progress daily from rollers to riders. Visit our friends at J&P Cycles
who will be set up at the Lobster Pound and win a custom painted helmet by Sickboy Motorcycles. J&P will be giving one helmet away daily and no purchase is necessary to win, so stop and by and check out their great line of aftermarket parts while you’re there.
Fans of custom motorcycles will have plenty of chances to check out killer custom rides at one of several shows held throughout the week. The American Police Motorcycle Museum gets the bike show circuit kicked off with a competition from 12 – 3 p.m. Sunday, June 9. Later in the week, another show will take place Thursday afternoon at the Historic
Vintage motorcycles rip it up at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix held during Laconia Motorcycle Week.
Last year, they lined 'em up three-wide for the 450 Class finals at the Laconia Hill Climbs.
Train Station downtown, hosted by the Haymond Law Firm. Friday is the annual City of Laconia Bike Show, generally the biggest competition in Laconia, so there’s ample opportunity to catch at least one custom bike show during this year’s rally.
The Broken Spoke Saloon as always has a full schedule of events planned for Laconia’s 90th anniversary. Concerts it will host include Foghat, Saturday June 15, with bluesy Jon Butcher lined up for Friday, June 14, while perennial rally favorites like Jasmine Cain, Joe Santana and the Farrell Webber Band perform throughout the week. The Spoke will also be hosting other rally favorites like oil wrestling competitions, a bike build, you can buck up and ride the mechanical bull, throw some shoes at the horseshoe pits, shoot some pool on their tables, or grab some grub at its full-service restaurant.
If you’re looking to get a demo ride on one of the latest bikes out there, Laconia will provide plenty of opportunities. Victory Motorcycles
will be set up at the Gilford Airport Plaza across from the Laconia Airport while Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, BMW and Ducati will have their demo fleets at the Funspot. You can also ride the latest Harley-Davidson’s over at Laconia Harley-Davidson in nearby Meredith.
Speaking of Laconia H-D, it is hosting plenty of fun events, too, from the eye-raising sword swallowing, fire eating, bed of nails acts put on by the Hellzapoppin Sideshow Revue to big-name vendors like Kuryakyn
and Renegade Wheels. Mustang Seats
, a New England-based company who calls Laconia its home rally, will have its new rig at Laconia H-D too with the crew willing-and-able to install a comfy new motorcycle seat on the spot. The dealership is also hosting a “Community Appreciation Parade” Saturday, June 15 where they’ll attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most money raised by a motorcycle parade with proceeds benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Hampshire. All this in addition to free live musical acts daily.
Our final suggestion for this year’s Laconia Motorcycle Rally is to get out and ride. From the Lakes Region to the White Mountains, New Hampshire offers up spectacular scenery and plenty of curvy roads. Monday and Thursday are “motorcycles only” days at Mt. Washington Auto Road. Ascend 6000-feet in this eight-mile ride to the summit of the
One of our biggest suggestions for the Laconia Motorcycle Rally is to just get out and ride. The White Mountains are beautiful this time of the year and there's plenty of fantastic roads to be found.
Northeast’s highest peak where you can see five different states on a clear day. Each trip up the road is a different adventure as the mountain is a tempestuous entity full of surprises. Venture out and see how many historic wooden covered bridges you can find or discover a great swimming hole along Kancamagus Highway. Just watch out for moose because they’re out there in numbers and you’re on their home turf. Collisions between motorcyclists and moose unfortunately happen and have claimed numerous lives in the past, so ride aware.
Motorcycle USA is grabbing a Victory Cross Country in New Jersey this weekend, then will be making the ride up to Laconia to bring you rally coverage next week, so log in for reports and photos from the scene all next week. The 90th anniversary is going to be huge and we hope to see you there.