Classic motorcycle enthusiasts from British Columbia, Alberta, and further descended on Nakusp Sept. 17 and 18 for the fifth annual Motogiro, hosted by the Rocky Mountain section of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group.
Vintage motorcycles of all makes and models could be seen, from Italian models, to English models, even a few Japanese.
The event is based on the European Motogiro, which ended some time in the 1950s, and takes place over the course of two days.
Day one is a 300 km endurance run, going from Nakusp to Nelson, Kaslo, New Denver, and then back to the village. Those whose bikes survived the run go on to compete the next day in the race up Hot Springs Road.
Many who take part in the race do so for the love of the bikes themselves.
“It’s fun to ride the bike and not have them in a museum,” said participant Steve Sloen. “I could care less about the competitive element of it, but the bike brings a smile to my face.”
One term commonly used to describe the event is “old guys riding old bikes”.
Because it’s a classic motorcycle event, there are a few rules. The bikes can be no younger than 1969, and have to be 250 CCs or lower.
Because the bikes are smaller, it actually takes more skill to maneuver them up a winding road. The style of the road, and the speed limits, are both very similar to what the motorcycles would have originally travelled on.
The day of the races on Hot Springs Road was fantastic. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and the roads were dry.
Whether competitors were racing up the road, or going back down, the rumble of their engines could easily be heard before seeing them.
The roads in and around the village are one of the reasons Motogiro comes to town.
“Nakusp has the best motorcycle roads in North America,” said Dave Marshall, creator of the Motogiro event. “This road in particular is extremely technically challenging, because it was never properly engineered as a road, and it’s perfect for our little low speed motorcycles.”
Peter Peach, another participant, agrees.
“Nakusp is a wonderful place to come to, we certainly appreciate the welcome hospitality,” he said. “The fact that we’re able to use the road, and we’ve got some good weather, and good food, and camaraderie, it’s been great.”
After the races were completed, many who took part went to the Leland for supper and the handing out of prizes.
First place and fastest overall went to Jim Wiley. Peter Peach won first in his class and second overall. Bill Christian took third place. Awards were also given for most distressed, which went to Art Vosburgh, and most improved, taken home by Fred Vosburgh.
Though Motogiro has just ended, many who took part this year are already making plans to come back next year.