Nakusp gets a taste of vintage motorcycles

The annual two-day event, MotoGiro, came to Nakusp, and with it, many vintage motorcycles.

Fans and owners of vintage motorbikes visited Nakusp this weekend in celebration of MotoGiro.

The two-day event, promoted by the Rocky Mountain Section of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group, featured a four leg, 300 km endurance run n Saturday through Nakusp, New Denver, and Nelson, and a closed-road event on Sunday, where contestants raced up the hill leading to the Nakusp Hot Springs.

“It’s really attracting people every year,” said Jim Wylie.

“It started off with three or four people, and now we’re up to about thirty. Thirty bikes with probably another ten or twenty volunteers. It’s becoming quite popular.”

The original MotoGiro was an endurance race that took place in Italy, called Giro Motociclistico d’Italia.

There are some rules to follow in order to take part. The bike can’t be newer than 1974. Engines are to be correct as to year and model of bike. Also, a safety inspection is to be done on a point-by-point  basis upon registration. Anything found like overly worn tires, leaking fuel, etc., will have to be fixed to ensure the bike is made safe before the rider can participate.

Points are awarded for timing, the age of the motorcycle, and its origins. Italian bikes get the most points, American bikes get none.

The event brought out many different styles of bikes, from a 1949 Triumph, to a classic Vespa, to a 1959 Ducatti 200 Elite, a collector racing bike, which, at the time of its release, would have been the fastest racing bike in the world.

“These are small. but they actually require a lot of skill to ride,” said Dave Marshall, organizer of the event.

“If you make any kind of mistake, like pick a wrong gear, or enter or exit a corner improperly, you slow down so much and because they’re not really powerful, it takes a long time to catch up.”

Even though they look and sound like they go at top speeds, most of these bikes can barely break the speed limit.

“That the beauty of this. We’re all riding on very small bikes, and even though they sound crazy, we’re only doing maybe 80 mph,” said participant Art Vausburgh.

“We kind of resurrect these old bikes and make them go fast again, and our actual top speed is isn’t all that high, so it feels like you’re doing lots of stuff, but you’re still actually fairly safe.”

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