The 6th Annual Joe’s Minibike Reunion took place at Crescenta Valley Park in La Crescenta, California, on Saturday, October 14th. The event, where hundreds of minibike owners pay a modest entry fee to show off their little treasures in hopes of snagging a coveted Joe’s Minibike Reunion trophy, was free to the public (thanks, Joe’s).
This was my first Reunion and the crowd was the most diverse group I’ve ever seen at a motorsports event. There were hot rodders and hipsters. Restorators and ground-up fabricators. Drag racers and motocrossers. Guys in Rat Fink t-shirts and couples wearing matching Panama hats walking their Pekingese dogs. The only thing missing was kids. While there were a few kids (mostly with parents or grandparents who were showing off their minis), I couldn’t help but notice the lack of 8-to-14-year-old kids drooling all over these bikes. Sad. I still get goosebumps when I think of the Heathkit Boonie Bike my little brother and I got for Christmas (that my older brother assembled). Guess kids aren’t into minibikes anymore. Why not? I have my theory (and it starts with an “i”).
The minis were as diverse as their owners, but the ratio of show ponies to riders (meaning minis that are ridden) was way, way out of whack. Like one rider to 50 show ponies. The event tried to attract more scratched, dented and oil-dripping minis with judging categories that included “Rat Bike” and “Survivor” but they were vastly outnumbered by owners who put many hours and even more bucks into their minis.
The following are just a few of the minis that got my heart pumping.
Battle of the Ponies
One of the fringe benefits of showing your bike was a free run on Steady Garage’s dyno in a trailer. It was kind of hairball with bikes throwing chains and the possibility of a blown engine. If the flying parts didn’t get you, the blue cloud of exhaust would. This was the most popular activity of the day.
Stretching The Definition of a Minibike
Joe lets a lot of bikes into the Reunion that I wouldn’t classify as a minibike. Still, I didn’t hear one complaint from any of the spectators.