(Photo’s by Steve Cote)
After a three-year hiatus, New England-area Italianophiles finally made their way back to the Hamilton Rod & Gun Club in Sturbridge, Massachusetts for the 37th Annual Italian Motorcycle Owners Club (IMOC) Rally. And what was appreciated most was the sincere appreciation voiced by so many participants concerning the Rally’s return!
Since we sign a Contract with the Gun Club a year in advance, the two-year COVID interruption turned into three for IMOC…because way back when, there was still no assurance that the food service would be up and running and the bathrooms fully open in time for us. But that was then. This is now.
To say that pent up demand had revved up would be an understatement. Though now…at last…all we had to contend with was gloomy gray clouds and on again/off again waves of light sprinkles. Despite that, some 300+ participants rode through the Gate and contributed their $10 to the cause…which included a traditional, Commemorative IMOC Rally Pin.
As usual, the Field was bracketed with Ducati on one end and Moto Guzzi on the other. In between were all the rarer and unique Italians, such as Bimota, Benelli, Laverda, miscellaneous Etceterini…and Scooters, too. This year’s featured machine was the “Tonti-framed” Moto Guzzi LeMans.
IMOC did a brisk business in T-shirt sales, while Benelli’s U.S. importer (SSR Motorsports) provided an assortment of free stickers for everyone’s beer fridge or toolbox out in the garage. Meanwhile, Demarest Books satisfied many a buyer with an early Christmas gift, or two…between two covers. And Co-Chairman Bob Andren provided prizes with his entertaining and always informative Italian Motorcycle Trivia Contest.
People’s Choice judging expanded from what had previously been for the Overall winner to now include Ducati and Moto Guzzi classes, too. So everyone was put to work. The remaining categories were considered by IMOC judges, with the following results:
Best Aprilia Bob Chuk 2020 RSV4 RR
Best Benelli Jim Shannon 1974 650S
Best Bimota Peter Van Deusen 1988 YB6
Best Ducati Mark Turkington 1964 Ducati Elite
Best Etceterini Phil Turkington Italjet 50 Racer
Best Laverda Tim Donahue 1984 RGS 1000
Best Moto Guzzi B. Dwinnell 1975 1000 Café
Best Moto Morini Pete Williams 1978 3 ½ Strada
Best Scooter Bill Vota Vespa
Best “Tonti” LeMans Nick Nicholson 1977 Moto Guzzi
People’s Choice Bill Ballou “SubaGuzzi”
By the way, the “SubaGuzzi” was a one-of-a-kind, Subaru-powered Moto Guzzi Eldorado sidecar rig. It’s said that “you’ll see anything and everything at the IMOC Rally” and the obviously popular SubaGuzzi proved it.
America’s Biggest and Longest Running All-Italian Bike Meet will return to the Hamilton Rod & Gun Club in Sturbridge for September 2023. Ducati Bevel bikes will be the Feature. As usual, after 38 years, we’re confident that old acquaintances will be rekindled, and new friendships formed. Just like we all enjoyed on Sunday, September 11, 2022.
Which was most…appreciated.