Too Old To Race Antique Harley Motorcycle?

So, I ask you how old is too old to race in a vintage motorcycle event? A few weeks ago I was looking at my plans and realized I would be able to attend the annual Mountainfest event held in Morgantown, WV the end of July. I have been invited a number of times and have heard it is an outstanding event with something pretty much for everyone into motorcycles – new and old.

My initial plan was to drive down to Maggie Valley, NC with my adventure buddy Jim Sims to the Wheels Through Time Museum to visit my good friends Dale and Matt Walksler. The main objective is to rebuild Selma, the 1915 Harley I rode on last years Motorcycle Cannonball.

1926 Harley J classic model motorcycle

While there I was also wanted to rebuild a 1926 Harley I’d picked up last year. It had been on display in a recently out of business bar. So I had no idea how long it has been since last run. But I suspected it has been several years and who knows what we might find when we start working on it. 

1926 Harley "mix & match" motorcycle as purchased

It looked cool but I was pretty sure it was a put together bike with parts from slightly different year. The photos above show how it looked the day I got it last year. After pulling off a few items, including the speedometer I needed on another bike, the incorrect horn and the rare fork brace (also for another bike) then bike has been sitting in my storage for a year.

Initially I thought we’d simply do whatever needing doing to get it running and properly sorted. Then someone mentioned the Vintage Grad Prix race on the closed off streets of Morgantown, WV as part of the Mountainfest. Hmnnnn, a lightbulb went off in my head. What would it be like to get this ’26 Harley sorted and running properly, then strip it down as a vintage racer? This is what a lot of the folks did in the 1920s and ’30s. They would ride to the event, pull off the lights, fenders, luggage rack and other parts and go racing. Then, after the race they would bolt everything back on and ride home.

So my question is how old is too old for the motorcycle (not me) to be raced on a closed street circuit in the heart of Morgantown, WV? Is a 1926 Harley too old to race at 85 years old?

I called Dale and told him what my thinking was and he called back later in the day and said he was on board for it. So, Jim Sims and I are off to Wheels Through Time tomorrow morning  to see if we can make this plan a reality. If so you will be able to see we through the stripped down 1926 Harley J racer around the streets of Morgantown next Sunday, read about it in print in the pages of American Iron Magazine, and possible see a video on the Wheels Through Time web site. Either way, please wish us luck.

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