Joe Loguidice of Old Lyme took home the Vern A. Hunter Vintage Bike Award for his 1958 Lombretta TV 175 Series 1
Last Wednesday Main Street in Middletown was jam-packed with the latest and greatest in two-wheeled innovations for the 13th annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania.
Middletown has been hosting the state’s premier motorcycle event since 2006 and this year’s festivities were bigger and better than ever.
“This is the event. I’ve heard it described as the one-day Laconia,” said Beverly Goslin, who is the president of the Wandering Evangelists, “We do other events too but we’re a Christian motorcycle group so this is the big one.”
Goslin was on hand as the regional representative for the Christian Motorcyclists Association, which is a non-profit evangelistic outreach to the motorcycling community. The association is based out of Arkansas, but they have division all over the country and even internationally.
“The motorcycle group is largely an unchurched group,” added Goslin, “They are very aware that if you hit a rock, a manhole cover, a little bit of sand or leaves, that you can go down real fast and can get seriously hurt of dead. So we really want them to know about Jesus, because time is short.”
The CMA was one of the many vendors that lined both sides of the street, spreading positive messages and selling everything from riding gear to foods.
Fried dough is always a favorite at the event and the aroma of carnival foods wafted through the air as the sound of engines rang out into the perfectly clear July sky.
In the middle of all of the excitement were Ken Kaplan and Christie Staiger, who were promoting the grand opening of the New England Motorcycle Museum, opening this week at 200 West Main Street in Rockville.
“Ken has spent the last seven years working on restoring the mill and now it’s finally going to be open to the public. We’re having out first event on Saturday, August 25th” said Staiger, referring to the transformation of the 200 year old Hockanum Mill in Rockville, “There’s all different eras, classifications, makes and models. There’s something for every enthusiast. It’s just breathtaking to see the mill.”
Eventually there will be a restaurant and bar at the remodeled facility and the Motorcycle Mania was the perfect place to promote their new venture.
“We’ve been letting everyone here know about it,” added Staiger, “We need another destination to bring families. It’s going to be amazing.”
Music is always a big part of the mania and this year was no exception as the Patrones again highlighted the event with their high-energy rock & roll covers and soulful sound. A group of young, talented musicians also played in front of the Middlesex Music Academy.
Folksy, rhythmic rockers Christopher Tino and Brian Malone drew a big crowd outside of The Pickle Stand. The two, known as Tino Malone, play at various local venues and the duo is off to entertain at the Westfield River Brewing Company in Southwick, Ma on August 24.
All of the vendors and musicians were the cherry of top of the main show, which were the thousands of bikes and other motorized creations on hand.
Awards were given out for Best in Show and one of winners was Joe Loguidice, who took home the Vern A. Hunter Vintage Bike Award for his 1958 Lombretta TV 175 Series 1.
“It’s been in my family for over 30 years and two years ago I decided that I wanted to redo it. I like working on stuff and making it look pretty so I decided to take it out of the shed and get to work on it,” Loguidice said of his now fully restored classic, “They stopped making them and totally changed the engine and transmission, which makes this model very rare. It was my grandfathers, he bought it years ago off the Shriners. They used to ride it in their parade.”
The vintage, baby blue beauty was a big attraction at the show and is a crowd pleaser wherever Loguidice takes it.
“People like it, especially the old Italians down at the beach where I live,” added Loguidice, who is from Old Lyme, “They love it. It’s Italian, I’m Italian, it’s an Italian thing.”
All told more than 7,000 bikes and 12,500 spectators visited the largest one day summer motorcycle event in New England, which is presented by Hunter's Ambulance and Hunter Limousines in Memory of Dan Hunter, a Founding Sponsor of Middletown Motorcycle Mania.
All of the proceeds from the event benefitted Middletown Youth Programs, including the Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program, Middletown Recreation, and the Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program.
Chamber President Larry McHugh noted, “The 13th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania was a huge success. I want to thank our sponsors, our vendors, City of Middletown personnel, especially the police, fire, public works, Mayor Drew, The Common Council and everyone who came out to support the event. Finally, I want to express my sincere appreciation to Event Chairman Rich Greco and our over 100 volunteers for their unbelievable support of Motorcycle Mania. This event gets bigger every year, and we are proud that its proceeds go to support Middletown youth programs. We are already looking forward to next year.”
2018 Awards Winners
First six awards were presented by Hunter's Ambulance and Hunter Limousines
Vern A. Hunter Vintage Bike Award: Joe Loguidice of Old Lyme (1958 Lombretta TV 175 Series 1)
Best Vintage American Bike Award: Albert Sylvester of Southington (1977 Harley Davidson Café Racer)
Best Vintage British Bike Award: Joe Crescimanno of Middletown (1978 Triumph Bonneville 750)
Best Vintage European Bike Award: Maine Smith of Cheshire (1936 BMW R12)
Best Vintage Japanese Bike Award: Dave Block of Plymouth (1982 Honda CBX)
Dan M. Hunter "Functionality with Style" Award: Mike Serio of Madison (2010 Harley Davison Soft Tail Deluxe)
The Haymond Law Award, presented by Haymond Law Office: Tony Schiavone of Middletown (2007 Harley Davidson Ultra)
Liberty’s Choice Award, presented by Liberty Bank: Matt H of Meriden (2009 Honda CBR1000RR)
Dimitri Moore Memorial Award, presented by Eli Cannon’s: Gary Roegiers of Middletown (2009 Custom Prostreet)
C. Oscar Hedström Award, presented by Brookfield Indian Motorcycle: Joseph Chehy of Warwick, Rhode Island (2014 Indian Vintage)
The Gengras Elite Award, presented by Gengras Motorcycles: Bob Vincent of Middletown (1997 Harley Davidson Heritage Springer FLSTS)
The DBD Farkle Award, presented by Downtown Business District: John LaRosa of Middletown (2005 Harley Softail)
Indian Motorcycle of Springfield Choice Award, presented by Indian Motorcycle of Springfield: Joe Adamowicz of Cromwell (1962 Harley Davidson PanHead)
All-American Bike Award, presented by Bank of America: Kevin Fitzgerald of South Bridge Massachusetts (2000 Harley Davidson 1200 XLH Sportster)
The Flood Choice Award, presented by The Flood Law Firm: Jay Flannigan of Durham (2005 Harley Heritage)
MedExpress Choice Award, presented by MedExpress Urgent Care: Scott Santor of Spencer, Massachusetts (2011 Hand Built Custom Chopper)
Mayor’s Choice Award, presented by Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew: Ed Bartolotta of Cromwell (2012 Arlen Ness)
(Left) Even our four-legged friends, like Jemma, dressed up for the 13th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania
(Right) Christopher Tino and Brian Malone, known as Tino Malone, entertained crowds outside of The Pickle Stand on Main Street
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin