The American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association Ltd. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving, restoring and competing on classic motorcycles. With about 4000 members, AHRMA is the leading vintage racing group in North America and one of the largest in the world. The association’s steady membership over the years reflects the country’s never-waning interest in classic bikes.
AHRMA traces its roots to efforts to organize vintage roadracing during the late 1970s in the northeast. In the early ’80s, other groups began emerging all around the nation, adding scrambles (motocross), observed trials, dirt track and concours events to the competition options available for vintage riders. Among these organizations were the California Vintage Racing Group and, in the southeast, the Historic Motorcycle Racing Association. By 1986, it was clear that a National organization would be necessary to administer this burgeoning sport. AHRMA was originally formed as a privately-held business corporation. Other groups were brought together under one banner and one set of rules, and in 1989, AHRMA was reorganized into the member-owned association of today.
AHRMA offers vintage National and regional roadracing, motocross, dirt track, observed trials and cross country competition. The classic machines active in AHRMA events span a full 70 years, from the 1920s to the early-’90s. The national-championship schedule typically includes at least 15 rounds in each competition discipline. AHRMA Nationals take place at some of the finest and most historic venues in the United States: Daytona International Speedway, Road America, Willow Springs, Miller Motorsports Park, Barber Motorsports Park, to name but a few.
Realizing that the definition of “classic” varies from one generation of enthusiasts to the next, AHRMA has added classes for long-travel motocross machines from the late 1970s to the mid-’80s; these post vintage motocross classes have been incorporated into many of AHRMA’s regional series and also have their own National circuit. Likewise, AHRMA hosts roadracing classes from this country’s early Superbike period, all the way up to the 1992 model year.
In an effort to bring single-cylinder roadracing to the US and to rejuvenate twins racing, in 1993, AHRMA began offering Sound of Singles®and Battle of Twins®classes, with a full National series in 1994. Bolstered by the presence of world-class riders on machines such as the exotic Britten V1000, AHRMA’s Daytona SoS/BoT events have attracted worldwide attention. Since 1995, the organization has been offering the almost-anything-goes Sound of Thunder® for singles, twins and triples; the Spring race at Daytona was the opening round of the world Sound of Thunder series for several years. Including these alternative, innovative modern bikes with the vintage program has met with widespread acceptance and allows AHRMA to host its own events instead being the guest of another racing
The organization occasionally sponsors concours d’elegance, swap meets and banquets featuring world-renowned speakers. One of the organization’s best-known activities began in 1992 when AHRMA and BMW of North America began promoting the BMW Battle of Legends®, extremely popular events pitting motorcycling’s legends against one another on identically-prepared BMW motorcycles. Tens of thousands of fans enjoy the Legends races during Classics Days each year during Daytona’s Bike Week. Legends and non-racing Legends Emeritus have included David Aldana, Hugh Anderson, Mark Brelsford, Don Castro, Yvon Duhamel, Chris Draayer, Don Emde, Walt Fulton III, Dick Klamfoth, Kurt Liebmann, Dick Mann, Bart Markel, Eddie Mulder, Jody Nicholas, Gary Nixon, Reg Pridmore, Phil Read, Roger Reiman, George Roeder, Jay Springsteen, John Surtees MBE, Don Vesco, Walter Villa and Walter Zeller. Races have been held at Daytona Beach, Florida; Loudon, New Hampshire; Sonoma, California; and Lexington, Ohio. The BMW Battle of the Legends Grand Finale took place in March 1997 at Daytona International Speedway.
AHRMA members enjoy a professionally-edited journal, Vintage Views, 10 times each year; an annual racing Handbook/rulebook; access to the organization’s website (www.ahrma.org); and a variety of AHRMA products. The association maintains a Benevolent Fund to aid riders who are injured or otherwise in need.