Sunday, December 06, 2009


A moment of silence please for the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d’Elegance, born into this world only 4 years ago, the love child of Jared Zaugg and Brooke Roner, visionaries and chutzpa kids, who succeeded, after 18 months labor, in creating the premier motorcycle Concours d'Elegance on the planet. The question on everyone’s mind that first year was ‘can they pull it off?’ - the answer a resounding Yes.

The best vintage, classic, custom, and racing machinery assembled from around the globe on the golf green of the Ritz-Carlton, and anyone not dulled by fumes realized something unique and special had dropped in our laps.

The subsequent two events had motorcycle heroes fly to this bright light from Everywhere: World Champions (Ago, Read…), manufacturers (Bulto, Willie G…), collectors (Leno, Barber…), film stars (MacGregor, Bullock, Fonda…), and ordinary enthusiasts, who frequently came away with an ‘I was having a beer and realized it was Bart Markel’ story. There was/is no event like it; it was all class and properly done, the bikes were absolutely top notch, the elbows to rub were legend themselves, and most of all, it was really, really fun. And will be sorely missed.

Here is the letter sent by Jared Zaugg announcing the retirement of the Legends:

"Dear Judges,
I hope this finds you and your families well.
I bear the unfortunate task of writing to tell you that Brooke and I have had to come to the decision that the Legend of theMotorcycle Concours will be no more.

In 2006 we set out to establish a one-of-a-kind experience for motorcycles and motorcyclists. This experience, the Legend of theMotorcycle Concours, elevated bikes to a level only previously associated with fine automobiles.
It was a first for motorcycles and received accolades from major media around the world. It brought together some of the greatest living personalities from all sectors of the bike world and united motorcyclists from all genres and walks of life. It inspired off-shoots and motivated
leading car shows to incorporate motorcycles into their field of entries.
Most importantly, however, it established an international precedent and positively contributed to the image of motorcycles and their incredible heritage. And none of this would have been possible without your help.
Thanks to all of you who worked so hard to make Legend of the Motorcycle
legendary. It couldn't have happened without all the people who rallied
together to make it happen.

We offer our heartfelt thanks and wish you all the best. It's been a
fantastic ride!
With gratitude and appreciation,

Jared Zaugg"


Her Majesty's Thunder said...

Paul, was there any information on why such a wonderful event had to end? Is there any indication that someone else might take up the mantel?

vintagent said...

Ah, HMT, it's always Money, isn't it? In a nutshell, some important sponsors failed to honor financial commitments to LotM (due to the economic crisis - some of these sponsors have since gone out of business or been sold!), which set back their economic clock to the tune of something like $150k. This was simply too much for the organization to bear, and it didn't look like high-dollar sponsors were stepping up to the plate for '09, so they 'postponed', and of course, things look just as grim for '10, and the Zauggs have to earn a living! They felt ultimately that their high standards were better kept to themselves than cheapening the brand by selling to someone less committed. There you have it.

Anonymous said...

While no hard figures were given it was known that the event cost "about" $1 million to produce. So when the economy tanks and sponsors can't kick in, the event must either be whittled down or cancelled. The organizers said they'd never do anything to compromise the quality of the event and the standard they set so the latter option should come as no surprise. When car companies and motorcycle companies - with history and heritage - are being hammered, sold or closed, I guess nothing should be a surprise. A real shame nonetheless. The bike world has lost a great thing.

-C. Bothell

Anonymous said...

"Read, cried over, printed, and saved. What a beautiful tribute and I especially loved your answer to the question of why someone else didn't continue it - quality response.

Through the pain and disappointment of it all, you will always know you
triumphed in the eyes of people who really cared. It was indeed a smashing success and will always be thought of that way."