Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The best motorcycle show in the world is sitting out 2009. Jared Zaugg and Brooke Roner, organizers of the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d'Elegance, have decided to postpone the next event until May 2010. A number of factors have contributed to this decision, chief among them the disastrous economic situation which developed last Fall. Several major sponsors of the event either went out of business entirely (ie, Men'sVogue magazine), or felt the need to substantially reduce their commitment to the Legends and other charitable causes. As the event costs nearly $1,000,000 to produce, the organizers felt that it was better to take a year to formalize new sponsorship deals and organize a new venue, than to produce anything other than a first-rate event.

Major changes had been afoot with the proposed move to Torrey Pines Resort in La Jolla, CA, which has taken longer to sort out than expected, due to both the complications of negotiating with the new resort, plus starting anew with the hundred thousand details it takes to deliver a truly epic event over 3 days; from the parking controls and motorcycle delivery, to security, layout, banquets, rooms, coffee, gifts, prizes, etc, etc. It took well over a year to organize the first Legend of the Motorcycle Concours in Half Moon Bay, and given the events of this year, it's no surprise that that it proved impossible to easily transfer such a massive show.

In the 'now it can be told' category, the Ritz in HMB proved desirable primarily as a photo-op location, with dramatic ocean backdrops and bikes parked on rolling green grass - every magazine editor's dream layout, and it was indeed the 'shot seen round the world'. But, the Ritz certainly had 'issues'; parking was very limited and off-site, the weather was very iffy, access for loading motorcycles was difficult, and ultimately the Ritz was, shall we say, a less-than-enthusiastic partner in the event. They also made an embarrassing blunder last year by double-booking the banquet room for the $250/plate charity dinner; hence we had dinner in the hallway, and in two adjoining rooms, making opportunities to speak to the assembled guests, impossible.

I look forward to hearing more from Brooke and Jared, and will certainly let you know any developments as soon as I'm allowed to reveal them! And long live the Legend of the Motorcycle.


Below is the press release from the Legend of the Motorcycle:

"For immediate release. San Francisco - 19 December 2008 - The annual Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d'Elegance, which takes place in the first weekend of each May, will be postponed in 2009.

Instead, the fourth annual event, highlighting Indian and NSU as the featured marques, is scheduled to resume in 2010.

The decision is due to the effect of the world economy has had on many sponsors, and while deciding not to produce the show next year was very difficult, it was the most prudent. "We'd never do anything to compromise the quality of the Concours", say co-founder Jared Zaugg. "We'd rather suspend the event than nee it done halfway and I'm sure those that have participated would agree. This has been a labor of love and something we strongly believe in, so we look forward to reinstating it after this hiatus."

The good news is that the postponement is temporary and plans are already underway for May 2010.

From legendary racers and builders, to celebrities and industry executives, to owners and enthusiasts, Legend of the Motorcycle brings together a unique audience from around the globe representing all the wonderfully diverse facets of motorcycling. The weekend celebration is centered around a display of 200 of some of history's most important motorcycles, judged by an international panel of experts and combines never-seen-before exhibits, contemporary product unveilings, exclusive presentations, a collector's auction and charity auction, receptions, and rides, for an event unlike anything else in the world. "

Enjoy these photos from my personal scrapbook, from the 2006/7/8 Legend of the Motorcycle. Photo 1; overview of the Ritz golf course from the 6th floor of the hotel. Photo 2; the Marquise de Roussy de Sales (Aude to us mortals) and her mother Annie Rageys, with Annie's father's (Roger Loyer) '37 Velocette MkVII KTT), 2007. Photo 3; Dr. Adolfo Orsi in period gear, 2006. Photo 4; overview from the grounds to the Ritz, with Mark Upham (of Brough Superior) and Mike FitzSimons judging Vincents. Photo 5; the Jesse James radial custom, 2006. Photo 6; welcome reception 2006 - pd'o, Brooke Roner, Jared Zaugg, Gwen White, Darcy Campbell (ma femme!), Peter Fonda. Photo 7; Cyclone - the most expensive motorcycle in the world today, 2006. Photo 8; Shinya Kimura and pd'o with skinny friend, 2006. Photo 9; Daniel Delfour, creator of the Norton Ala'Verde, aboard a much older Norton (my 1926 racer). Photo 10; Ian Barry of Falcon Motorcycles contemplates a perfect Vincent twin, 2008. Photo 11; I return Daniel's favor on the Ala'Verde! Photo 12; Kim and Pete Young with Kim's Ariel Red Hunter, 2008. Photo 13; pd'o with MV racer - can't beat the stunning locale, 2008. Photo 14; delivering the amazing/ridiculous prop-powered bicycle for 3, 2008.


hoyt said...

Thanks for letting us know. I had begun to make plans for my inaugural Legend trip next year. I'm sure it will be worth the extra wait

southsiders M.C. said...

So Sad !
we have to find another"good" reason to cross the ocean this year...


Anonymous said...

Is any event which relies on so much corporate sponsorship really that worthwhile? Is anyone going to get completely pissed, drop acid and have any fun on a golf course for fucks sake?

Maybe you should get out of this association of wonderful vintage tin equals auction house sponsorship + corporate money and these weird concourse events you have in the US (why are they always on golf courses?). Why can't everyone just meet down the pub like us mortals?

Anonymous said...

Arggh, I hate when this happens...another victim of our tanking economy. Like we used to say in the army "The beatings will continue until the morale picks up". It would have been a stretch for a lot of us NorCal guys to attend an event at Torrey Pines anyway, now I don't have to think about it for another year. I really feel for Brooke and Jared and hope they don't lose too much traction with a year off. Time will tell.

C-ya, Jerrykap

vintagent said...

Understood, but I never see Cyclones or Vincent 'A' twins or Crockers down at the pub anymore...

Anonymous said...

Good point. That's probably because in the US it's only the orthodontists and corporate lawyers who can afford these things. Here on the other side the pond it's guys who got were given them by the old lady next door.

vintagent said...

After being given the bikes by the old lady, they sell them for a LOT of money! ;)
In truth, a lot of the folks who brought Crockers etc to the Legends have owned them since the old lady gave them away... There aren't that many 'checkbook' owners, who aren't interesting to talk with anyway... the fellows who have been 'in the game' for decades have by far the best stories, which they'll tell you at the hotel bar!
Take a look at the folks in my pix; all of them are seriously deep into Motorcycles, not money per se, and have a little grease under their nails... even the Marquise, who races bikes in France.

Anonymous said...

Yes you're probably right. I've been reading your site for a while and even though I may disagree with some of the content, I only have the utmost respect for your frequency. Maybe as a (multiple) Lambretta owner I'm just jealous we don't have anything as posh as those golf club events here (it's all sea side runs and fish and chips here).

The trouble is that here in europe any attempt to run a vehicle as something other than daily transport is very expensive (hence my comments looking down on chequebook riders).

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear about the postponement of the event. Hopefully they will get it back on track.

yours, John

Anonymous said...

Legend was the best damn motorbike event in the world, not just America. I met guys from Australia, Argentina, England and Italy and they all said the same. All the mags I read from either side of the pond agreed too. Anyway, my point is that Legends raised the bar for bikes and bikers and this is a sad day for the motorcycle world. Let's indeed hope it's temporary. I can't wait for 2010. -Mike L.

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,

Thank you for delivering us your ever-scooping information. I personnally keep an everyday eye on your incredible blog!
This time it is sad news about Legend Of The Motorcycle, but there was something in the air that almost prepared us
to accept the evidence.
May be it is not such bad news if this break can guarantee that the level of the next event will be comparable to previous years. Please tell Jared and Brooke that we totally understand and support their courageous decision.
We (Frank, Vincent and I) were almost dreaming of presenting the result of this year's work and efforts.
So maybe next time. I hope we will be able in the meanwhile to use the images of this motorcycle and send some to our best friends.(Paul d'Orleans and a few others).
My very best wishes to you Paul


vintagent said...

Bon soir Daniel,
yes, as the months progressed with no announcement about the Legends, it became clear to me that the event was not going to happen in '09. It took two years to organize the first event in '06, and I doubted the move to LaJolla would come easily. I had lunch with him yesterday, we discussed the future, and he is committed to making the event happen on 2010. We will miss it very much in '09!
It is the best place to meet people, period, and that's really what is important for me - I have the luxury of seeing most of those machines any time (not together though!), so the motorcycles per se were not the main attraction. Seeing so many of our peers, dedicated motorcyclists of every stripe, in one place is very special. At race meetings or the usual show, there is no place for social events - but I would say the Legend was primarily a social event, and therein lies the charm. I'm sure you know what I mean - we have all been to a thousand events, but some are special for particular reasons, usually having to do with people. Because, after all, motorcycles are only metal; it is the story behind and surrounding them which brings them to life.

yours, Paul

Frank Sider said...

Hi Paul
thanks for this news even if its a sad one.
The only thing we have to do is wait till 2010.
We will come with Vincent & Daniel to visit you for sure before.
keep in touch

Don said...


Like many others, I'm sorry to hear of this. While I have never attended, and may never make it in the future, the pictures were always entertaining. BTW, I enjoy your blog, and have passed the link for it to other like-minded enthusiasts. As a member of the North American Velocette owner's club, I also enjoy reading your items in FTW.

Don Workman
Lincoln, NE USA

Anonymous said...

I didn't know people that hung out in Pub's could read. Will wonders never cease? Here I am, still trying to get over the loss of Barstow to Vegas & now this. Motorcycles have been the joy of my life & I've tried to keep world events from effecting my sport. Now the crooks in Washington & Wall Street have really pissed me off. As if it wasn't enough for them to take B to V & dozens of other great races. Now they've taken my retirement savings & the Legends. I'm amazed that the Ritz doesn't want the business they got over that weekend. What do you want to bet they will be asking for a bail out before May.
I have a new Vyrus that is being finished in Italy. I was hoping to ride it to Half Moon Bay. Now I think I'll leave it in Europe so I can ride it to the Isle of Man.
I think SoCal will be a good spot & I'll be there for sure. Unless some drunk leaving a Pub hits me as they try to drive home in time to beat their wife & kids.

Pickles said...

Hiya Paul. The crazy bike in the last photo (Henderson 4 cylinder with propeller, 3 person bicycle) is Jim Lattin's. What a death trap! The front rider steers, the second rider pumps oil and fuel, the third rider controls the throttle, timing, etc. All three riders are needed!

I don't recall that it had any brakes...