The Patrones rock out at the Middletown Motorcylce Mania
The weather could not have been better for the 12th annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania, which lit up the heart of Main Street with loads of horsepower, entertainment, and fun last Wednesday night.
On an idyllic summer evening, more than 6,200 bikes and over 12,000 spectators filled the downtown Middletown area for what has become the largest one day summer motorcycle event in New England.
The large crowd was there to see the latest motorized innovations, while enjoying the live music and festive food at the annual event.
The four-hour extravaganza had plenty of the regulars, including the return of rockers Diamondback, featuring Wethersfield’s own Jimi Bell of the legendary melodic rock band House of Lords. Diamondback was the first ever band to play at the event a dozen years ago and made a ceremonious return, belting out their epic tunes on the main stage for the entire evening.
Local rock & rollers The Patrones also performed to adoring fans, delivering their smooth, classic covers in front of Brew Bakers.
The music was an added bonus to the real showstoppers, which were the hundreds of motorcycles on display, including those that won best in show.
The vintage and antique bikes are a draw to the motorcycle connoisseurs and the custom bikes are always a crowd favorite. The classic and custom choppers on display competed for a variety of awards, but the everyday riders filled up most of Main Street and several side streets.
Paul Thomas made the trek all the way from Maryland on his 2015 Harley Davidson Road Glide.
“This is my second time here,” said Thomas, “I have friends that live in the area. I get to visit them and come to the event. It’s a great chance to meet other riders and have a good time.”
Many others were Connecticut residents that come annually or were at the event for the first time.
“I’ve lived in the area for years, but I always had something else going on and never made here,” a local spectator said, “I’ll definitely be back.”
One of the biggest attractions of this year’s celebration was the Polaris Slingshots, which are three-wheeled, three-season hybrid cruisers.
Libby’s MotoWorld, who has been a regular vendor at Motorcycle Mania, had a booth and were displaying the newest trend in highway cruising.
“They’re a well-handling, well-built sports car. They’ll get 28-32 miles per gallon depending on how heavy your foot is,” joked Joe M. of Libby’s, “They’ve only been legal for the past couple of years and they’ve actually only had one year in Connecticut. We’ve sold a good share of them and other dealers have sold a good share of them too.”
The New Haven-based Libby’s has been servicing Connecticut’s motoring needs since 1957 and are a full service dealership providing sales, parts and service. They were one of the many vendors offering both motorized and non-motorized products to the hordes of people in attendance.
Like all good festivals, the event had a wide selection of tasty treats to satisfy the pallets of the attendees. Over a dozen food trucks lined the streets, including Middletown’s own Jerry’s Pizza, which served up their delicious, cheesy pizza on their infamous pillowy-soft crust.
Most of the normal food establishments that line Main Street stayed open during the event, including Tandoor, which was giving out samples of their savory Indian cuisine and refreshing mango lassi in front of the restaurant.
The impeccable weather, live music, and mouth-watering food made for another perfect event, which was presented by Hunter's Ambulance and Hunter Limousine in the honor of Dan Hunter, who was a founding sponsor of Middletown Motorcycle Mania.
As always, The Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, with the help of many volunteers, organized the event and all the proceeds benefitted youth programs in Middletown.
Middlesex Chamber President Larry McHugh noted, “The 12th 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 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 50 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.”
Best in Show Winners:
Vern A. Hunter Vintage Bike Award, in Loving Memory of Vern and Barbara Hunter – presented by Hunter's Ambulance and Hunter Limousines, Winner – Charlie Warzecha of Essex, CT – 1966 Harley Davidson FLH
Best Vintage American Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines, Winner – Bill Yeske of Newington, CT – 1958 Harley Davidson FLH
Best Vintage British Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines, Winner Jay Egan of Suffield, CT – 1959 BSA Super Rocket
Best Vintage European Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines, Winner – Ted Smith of Cheshire, CT – 1936 BMW R12
Best Vintage Japanese Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines, Winner – Jason Jerome of Hackettstown, NJ – 1980 Honda CX500
Dan M. Hunter "Functionality with Style" Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines- Winner – Adrian Soto of Meriden, CT - 2010 Harley Street Glide
The Haymond Law Award – presented by Haymond Law Office, Winner – Tony Schiavone of Cromwell, CT – 2007 Harley Davidson Ultra
Liberty’s Choice Award – presented by Liberty Bank, Winner – Kevin Fitzgerald of Southbridge, MA – 2000 Harley Davidson XCH1200 Sportster
The Gengras Elite Award – presented by Gengras Motorcycles, Winner - Brian Solito of Vernon, CT – 2016 Harley Davidson Ultra Slim
DBD Farkle Award – presented by Downtown Business District, Winner – Daniel Cusano of Bethany, CT – 1997 Harley Davidson Softail
The All-American Bike Award – presented by Bank of America, Winner – Keith Barthelete of Springfield, MA – 2015 Harley Davidson Road Glide Special
The Fat City Cycle Award – presented by Eli Cannon’s Tap Room, Winner – John Uvino of Meriden, CT – 1981 Harley Davidson FLH Police Special
The C. Oscar Hedström Award – presented by Brookfield Indian Motorcycle, Winner – George Gilbert of Portland, CT – 1951 Indian Chief
The Indian Motorcycle of Springfield Choice Award – presented by Indian Motorcycle of Springfield, Winner – Jason Miele of Hartford, CT – 1975 Honda CL360
Best Home Town Motorcycle Award – presented by Home Team Supply, Winner – Johnny Moore of Middletown, CT – Harley Davidson Road Glide
Mayor’s Choice Award – presented by Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew, Winner – Joe Delmonaco of Wallingford, CT – 2005 Short Tail Deluxe
George Gilbert's 1951 Indian Chief, which wonThe C. Oscar Hedström Award / The Polaris Slingshots were a hit at this years event
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin