This Friday is race day at the Wauseon National Antique Motorcycle Swap Meet. Jay Springsteen will rematch George Roeder, and it will incorporate another rivalry from the past: Harley-Davidson vs Indian.
Springsteen will be riding a 1954 Harley-Davidson KR750 prepared by Bernie Breece against George “Geo” Roeder riding a 1948 Indian Chief prepared by Kelley George. A three-time Grand National Champion, Springsteen has taken the first round, but Roeder has proved to be very potent aboard the Chief, winning every Hand Shift race he’s competed in at the Davenport and Wauseon Classic Flat Track Races.
This year’s Showdown at Sundown offers race fans a choice of their favorite rider and favorite bike brand. Everyone can cheer for a winner at the Fulton County Fairgrounds Friday during the AMCA 33rd annual meet.
Friday night’s 9th annual racing program will include classes of bikes that span the era of motorcycle racing, starting with the origins of the sport: board track bikes (teens thru 1928), handshift bikes (1936 thru 1951), lightweight bikes (1948 thru 1966), brakeless foot shift bikes (thru 1967), 1970s single cylinder bikes, 1980s single cylinder bikes, and vintage twins (thru 1983). Featured races are the Classic Flat Track National Championship Series, the Speedway Long Track National Championship, and the Showdown at Sundown exhibition match race.
The Speedway Long Track National Championship – Racers are registered from Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Canada in pursuit of the No. 1 plate representing the National Championship. The motorcycles used for speedway are not remotely like any machine seen on the road. They have acceleration equal to a Formula One racing car but no brakes, rear suspension, or gears. For the technically minded, the engines are 500cc single cylinder four valve, four strokes with air cooling. Methanol is used instead of gasoline to enable them to run at very high compression ratios.
Board Track racing was a type of motorsport popular in the United States between the second and third decades of the 20th century. Competition was conducted on oval race courses with surfaces composed of wooden planks. Many of the board track bikes competing Friday night are taken out of museum displays to offer a rare look at motorcycle racing history. The Board Track class is sponsored by the Lake Erie Chapter of the AMCA and Rocky’s Antique Parts.
Springsteen and Roeder will greet fans Friday at noon at the Napoleon Harley-Davidson booth in the lower level of the grandstands, and will sign Wauseon Souvenir Race Programs, posters, and T-shirts before the Showdown at Sundown rematch.
AMCA’s 33rd Annual Wauseon National Meet – The theme of this year’s meet is the Barn Find Motorcycle. The huge swap meet has over 700 vendors for bikes and parts over 35 years old. It will be held Friday and Saturday and until noon Sunday at the 33rd annual meet organized by the Ohio Valley Chapter, Lake Erie Chapter, River Valley Chapter, Maumee Valley Chapter, and the Wolverine Chapter.
Gates open daily at 8 am. Saturday offers a Bike Parade, Adult and Children’s Field Games, a silent auction, and a barbecue banquet with free live music. The AMCA motorcycle judging takes place Sunday.
On Friday, the pit gate opens at 10 a.m., hot laps at 2:15 p.m., and heat races 4:30 p.m. The opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. feature Timm Reid’s and Megan Brown’s trumpet duet of the National Anthem, and the invocation by Bill Goebel of the Flat Track Ministries. Race track announcer Bob Sigler of Ohio Outlaw Motorsports and Donnie Norris will call the action.
General grandstand admission is $20 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. Children 5 and under are free. General admission tickets go on sale at the grandstands starting noon on Friday.
For more information, visit www.wauseonnationalmeet.org.