AHRMA Spotlighting 500 Premier Class In 2025 Vintage Cup

AHRMA Spotlighting 500 Premier Class In 2025 Vintage Cup

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By AHRMA:

Bikes from the Golden Age of GP Racing Featured in 2025 AHRMA Vintage Cup

(April 3, 2024) A Golden Age of Grand Prix motorcycle racing is coming to tracks across the country during 2025.

The American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association’s (AHRMA) 2025 Vintage Cup will highlight the 500 Premier class which was AHRMA’s first and undoubtedly the most historically significant post-war racing series.

Sponsored by Hagerty Insurance, Roadracingworld.com, and NYC Norton (nycnorton.com), AHRMA’s 2025 Vintage Cup features the 500 Premier class which includes any fully kitted 500cc OHV/OHC or 750cc side-valve four-stroke machine built before December 31, 1968. 

“When the Vintage Cup concept was presented to me several years ago, the 500 Premier class was the first thing on my mind that we should feature as these motorcycles were the pinnacle of grand prix racing performance and the bikes nearest and dearest to my heart,” said Kenny Cummings of NYC Norton, 2025 Vintage Cup sponsor. 

“Many of these bikes have been put away for years, becoming ornaments in people’s homes and the whole intent of this class was to bring these bikes out of retirement to the national stage with heavy competition,” Cummings said.  “I couldn’t be happier to see these beautiful machines racing in anger at some of the greatest racetracks in the country.  NYC Norton has been a proud sponsor of this class for years and is happy that AHRMA is hosting it yet again, for the Vintage Cup. Let’s bring them out, people!”

Typical AHRMA 500 Premier grids include wide variety motorcycles from Norton Manx, Matchless G50, 500 Triton, Honda, Ducati, Gilero, MV Agusta, and more.

“For a lot of racers and race fans, when you ask them to imagine ‘vintage’ road racers, they think of 500cc bikes from the mid to late 60s,” said Greg Tomlinson, 2024 Chair of the AHRMA Board of Trustees.  “Unfortunately, those same bikes that stir the imagination aren’t seen or heard much anymore.  Fortunately, putting the 2025 Vintage Cup spotlight on them will bring them back to the track.”

“AHRMA continues to do its part providing a series for people to ride historic racebikes on the track, where they can be seen and heard in action. Roadracing World is happy to be involved with the Vintage Cup program in 2025. “Go out and have some fun on old bikes!” said John Ulrich, Founder & Editor of Roadracing World & Motorcycle Technology magazine.

The Vintage Cup will be highlighted during and after each of the 2025 AHRMA National road races.  Added enhancements for the 2025 season include:

  • Enhanced trophies throughout the season.
  • Special awards for series champion.
  • Articles and photos on Roadracingworld.com to spotlight the class.
  • Roadracing World print magazine enhanced exposure for AHRMA and 500 Premier.
  • Discounted race entry fees.
  • Racer spotlight features in AHRMA MAG.
  • Class champion on cover of the AHRMA MAG.

Motorcycles eligible for AHRMA’s 500 Premier class must have been built before December 31, 1968, or be based on a like design and may have up to a 500cc air-cooled four-stroke engine with overhead valves and cams or a 750cc side-valve engine.  A list of eligible machines can be found in the AHRMA Handbook in Section 10.2.1 (www.ahrma.org/ahrma-handbook).

The first American to win a race at the Isle of Man TT, Dave Roper, who is also a multi-time AHRMA champion and frequent 500 Premier competitor, shared the following: “The 500cc class has been the premier class in World Championship road racing since at least the end of WWI to 2002 when the MotoGP four stroke era was introduced.  The Isle of Man TT established the 500cc limit for the Senior Class in 1912 and it continued until 1984.  Between the world wars, there was no formal World Championship and the European Championship was based on a single race which rotated from country to country.  Norton dominated in this period with riders Stanley Woods, Freddy Frith, Harold Daniel, ‘Crasher’ White, Wal Handley, and Jimmy Guthrie. Toward the end of this period, BMW and Gilera made inroads into Norton’s dominance. 

“After WWII and with the establishment of the World Championship in 1949, Britain continued to lead with the AJS Porcupine then the Norton Featherbed,” Roper continued. “But, then the Italians took over, first with Gilera and Geoff Duke, then with MV and John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, and Phil Reed.  In 1975, the two-strokes took over, first with Ago on the Yamaha, then the RG 500 Suzuki with Barry Sheene, back to Yamaha with Kenny Roberts, back to Suzuki with Lucchinelli and Uncini, then to Honda with Freddie Spencer and Yamaha with Eddie Lawson. In 1987, Wayne Gardner interrupted a string of American World Champions, with Lawson and Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz following. Australian Mick Doohan followed with five successive World Championships for Honda, Criville giving Honda one more. Suzuki had one year with Kenny Roberts, Jr., then the Valentino Rossi period began on the 500cc two stroke Honda and making the transition into the MotoGP four-stroke era.

“500 Premier was one of AHRMA’s inaugural classes and the championship has been won mostly on Matchless G-50 and Norton Manx, but also with a 500 Triton, Honda 450 based machine, and even a 350 Aermacchi.”

 

About AHRMA:

The American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to competing on fantastic classic and true vintage machines along with a wide range of modern motorcycles.  With over 3,000 members, AHRMA is the largest vintage racing group in North America and one of the biggest in the world. The association has grown steadily over the years, reflecting the increasing interest in classic bikes.

 

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