Prepping for the Dana Point Concours d’Elegance
Going to a classic motorcycle event or show is a lot of fun. You meet great people, see fantastic vehicles and if you’re lucky, come home with a trophy.
Most people are not aware of the amount of work involved in preparing for a show. You usually have to submit a package of photos and information in order to be accepted to a Concours d’Elegance. After your acceptance, the prep process begins. For us that means getting the motorcycles out of our living room. We have custom wood ramps and a double front door that makes it possible. After they have been rolled into the garage, they are fired up to make sure they run right; blinkers and horn are checked and adjustments are made to carburetors or anything else to ensure they run smoothly the day of the show. Chrome gets polished, and every other detail is attended to.
The trickiest part is always loading and unloading the motorcycles into the trailer, because that is where the most damage can occur and it seems that Murphy’s Law is ever present. It is important to have good ramps that butt up properly to your trailer. A fitted overlap can help prevent the ramp from sliding out from under you when you are pushing up a heavy bike. Ours are sturdy and made of corrugated metal, but that has its disadvantages too. It never rains in Southern California, but it poured at our first motorcycle show in Del Mar and I slipped on the wet metal ramp, nearly dropping our BSA Goldstar.
You must have patience and an eye for detail when you are loading. As often as we have done it problems always occur: a trailer hitch was not properly latched once and the front end of the trailer flew up in the air when we started to load, or strap-ends flap around scratching the paint on your prized baby, chocks come loose and your motorcycle tips over in an enclosed trailer, etc. The best approach is to have a system and stick to it. When you are methodical in your approach and avoid distractions (or well-intended but overzealous help), then the fewer the mistakes. And mistakes can be costly.
As much as I love the shows, I am always relieved when we are back home and they are safely put to bed in our front living room.