46th JAMPOT VINTAGE MOTORCYCLE RALLYE
June 15-18, 2023
Blackthorne Resort, East Durham, NY
The Jampot Rallye of the Northeastern USA returned for 2021 in good style.
A bonus this year was a capacious tent erected by the venue, the Blackthorne Resort in East Durham NY. This had plenty of room to shelter a dozen motorcycles and dozens of people in comfort, and came complete with plenty of long tables and chairs at which to enjoy the meals devised by Deke Harris. It replaced the old Plumstead Palace portable canopy, difficult to erect and take down, and not really big enough to keep the bikes protected from adverse weather. Rain did loom in the forecasts, but in the end spared us but for a shower Saturday evening when all were home from the rides.
There was but one AMC product to admire, Bill Cawley's 1967 Matchless G80CS. That singularity highlighted how nice and original the bike is, and how well Bill puts it to use, riding two up with his wife Roxie the whole 75 mile Saturday ride up and down some of the steeper hills of the Helderberg and Catskill Mountains. Two BSA A65s, my Commando, and several modern bikes filled out the ride.
Our destination was the "Gas-Up" meet of the Hudson-Mohawk Chapter of the Pioneer Gas Engine Association, in Gallupville NY. An open air museum and celebration of agricultural and rural life including plenty of animal and steam power exhibits and demonstrations as well as internal combustion, and also folk dancing, food and whatever else you can imagine, the Gas-Up is always worth an hour or two.
BSA twins seemed to invade the rally this year - Doug Cropper's A50 Royal Star as usual, but also a tasty A10 that was sort of a rescued bob job, and several A65s. The latter included the aforementioned Lightnings, joint projects of a father and son, and an oil-in-frame Thunderbolt wearing a Velorex sidecar which Tim Powers used to bring up some of his family - his granddaughters added a lot of spirit Saturday evening. Tim's son also showed off a nice Ducati 350 Scrambler.
John Andrews traded the Janus he rode a few years ago on a Royal Enfield Classic 500, which drew a lot of attention. Still a pushrod 500 single, but very much up to date with all the mod cons including electric start, disc brakes F & R with ABS and fuel injection. John offered me a test ride; the bike retains some traditional features like a distracting buzz at certain revs, but once I got the right rhythm with the gearbox I found the groove John is enjoying so much. He likes it better than his H-D Softail, and it is a bit more practical than his G80CS.
Several other British bikes were ridden in to show off and were appreciated, but none stick in the mind like Dave Clarke's BSA B40, orignal, unrestored and a stalwart at the Jampot.
So friends old and new ate, drank, smoked and rode. You can't beat it.
Ben English * Albany * New York * USA
There was a lot more pot than jam at the 2021 Jampot Rallye, as new and old friends met for the first time in 2 years. Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth!
I got to the Blackthorn Resort in East Durham, NY, site of next year's INOA National Rallye, on Alpine Annie (2003 BMW K1200RS) about 2:30 on Friday. After checking in at my room at the Weldon house just one mile up the road, I moseyed over to the very welcome large circus tent that would become Jampot Central and settled in. Soon the ceegars were lit and the Irish Whiskey was flowing, and life was good again. So good to have a place where you can let your hair down - whatever hair you have left, haha - with like minded motorcycle people. How great is that?
This was more like a mini-BSA rally this year. So many nice ones, including a cherry sidecar rig. They all started and ran great all weekend, too. There is something to be said for keeping up with your maintenance.
This year, like several before, the grub was prepared by "Deke," the hard working son of one of the regular Jampotters. This guy works so hard and does so much it's incredible. I couldn't sit on my butt while he was busting his, so I helped with the food prep. He really appreciated those of us that lifted a finger. It doesn't take much.
On Friday I lasted until about 11PM before I left the large campfire. Not a bad first night.
On Saturday I woke up early and hit Angel's up the road for breakfast right at 7AM. I was the only one there so I had a nice relaxing breakfast, with free wi-fi even. Can't beat that.
Ben English led the 11AM ride to the gas up in Gallupville on his cherry 1972 Combat Commando, a prize winning bike that is without doubt one of the best running Nortons in the country. The route he chose was superb, full of Bavarian style twisties. Only problem was 6 miles of freshly stripped roadbed that made your teeth chatter. Not his fault, as that road had been fine during the early week test run. Hey, timing is everything in life.
I've been to the Gas-Up a zillion times, but after an hour of hit and miss engines I was out of there. I love them but I had a rally to get back to. PS they ain't cheap, going rate is $1K per 1HP, so check those barns, who knows you may be sitting on a gold mine. Also, one guy showed me how to do a "match start" on a hit and miss. You literally put a match head in this assembly, and after pumping the cylinder full of gas and air, you hit this striker, it strikes the match, and that's how they start. Some of these babies are 100 years old and they will still run all day until they run out of gas, amazing.
On Saturday night my beautiful wife Charlotte drove down, and she wound up also helping Deke out with the food. That was great. Everybody there remembers Char, since many of us brought our kids to this rallye when they were small and we all weighed less and had more hair, haha. Nice that she could squeeze at least part of the rally into her busy schedule. She left around 9PM and I hit the sack shortly after. I'm not able to drink heavy 2 nights in a row. As Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" says, "A man's got to know his limitations."
On Sunday we were supposed to have a breakfast buffet at the Blackthorn. The Kahuna paid ahead for us, though we did not receive tickets or anything like that. I was the first one there at 8AM. The place was packed and louder than a high school cafeteria. When I asked the lady about breakfast, she looked at me like I had 2 heads. Only after the Kahuna got there and repeatedly worked them over were we served. No buffet, just an abbreviated breakfast menu. No decaf coffee, either.
The Blackthorn Resort in East Durham, NY, exists in a parallel universe, I firmly believe. We can see it, taste it, but it's like a unicorn. The stuff that goes on there simply is unique to that place. How I keep winding up there so often is just my cross to bear, it seems :-)
On the way home instead of exploring any more of the beautiful Greene County roads, I shot up 145 through Middleburgh all the way to Cobleskill, then hung a right to get quickly back to Guilderland where I live. Those roads early on a Sunday morning offer exquisite scenery, no traffic, and a great chance to just enjoy the cadence of the engine while reflecting on another great Jampot Rally. Fantastic.
Jampot rocked as usual. I'm glad I got to go.
PS. My young daughter wanted to know if any "hot guys" were there as she was thinking of going. I said, yes, there were a bunch of hot guys but they were all around 70, haha. Needless to say, she did not attend :-)
Frank L. "Cranky Frankie" Palmeri, Risible Riding Raconteur & Writer
WORK Hard - PLAY Hard - READ Hard - THINK Hard