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VIEWPOINT ‘TYPICAL MALCOLM’

One of the great things about motorcycling is the fact that it’s so accessible. That’s true when it comes to bikes, since you can get supercar-level performance for budget-car prices. It’s true when it comes to other motorcyclists, since conversations spring up easily among riders. And it’s even true when it comes to our bona fide heroes, who somehow remain approachable at a level that far exceeds other sports. Take Malcolm Smith, for example. Few names in motorcycling are as highly regarded by as many generations of riders. He became an icon among those who frequent garages, bike nights and rallies for his starring role in “On Any Sunday” in 1971, for his nine International Six Days Enduro medals, his considerable off-road-racing success on bikes and in cars, and his success in the motorcycle industry with his own product line and a multi-line dealership in Southern California. Sit down and talk with him at length, though, as I was fortunate enough to do for the profile story on page 36, and Malcolm comes across as down-to-Earth as ever. Yes, he’s aged a bit since 1971, but who hasn’t? And at 69, he may move a little more deliberately, at least when he’s not behind the wheel of the off-road buggy he planned to race in Baja a week after I visited. The trademark smile is still there, as is the somewhat mischievous outlook, and he displays the same passion whether he talks about racing motorcycles or traveling in Baja, Mexico. I particularly liked his advice that applied equally to business and racing, when he suggested that most people underestimate perseverance and tenacity: “You keep at it, and you get smarter.” And pretty soon, he figures, you might be winning the race. He remains “typical Malcolm.” Those are the words from filmmaker Bruce Brown’s iconic voiceover for “On Any Sunday” that sum up Malcolm’s riding talent, broad smile and can-do spirit. They were usually spoken after Malcolm had done something particularly superhuman, and had then shrugged it off as nothing. “Typical Malcolm.” What’s even better is that, thanks to the aforementioned accessibility of motorcycling’s heroes, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can meet Malcolm yourself at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 9-11, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. There, he will sign autographs, meet fans and make some laps of the track as grand marshal for the country’s premier gathering for vintage bikes and the people who love them. If you’ve never been to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days before, you really owe it to yourself to make the trek to central Ohio. And if you’ve been there before, you don’t

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need me to tell you that it’s a spectacular three-day gathering of fellow riders enjoying vintage racing, the country’s largest motorcycle swap meet, seminars, laps of the track, vendors, used bike corrals and more. You can get the full details at AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.com. Fittingly, with Malcolm as grand marshal, the 2010 Marque of the Year is the brand that he helped make famous: Husqvarna. The lightweight Swedish bikes became a favorite for Malcolm since he raced them for the American importer, Edison Dye. He rode one in “On Any Sunday,” and he still sells Huskys at his dealership today. Fans of early Japanese bikes will also get a rare treat as a group of enthusiasts will arrive with an impressive collection of memorabilia and bikes representing the Bridgestone brand. What really makes AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days so cool, though, is the people. Whether it’s a vendor in the swap meet selling 100 square feet of gleaming exhaust pipes, a fellow competitor on the roadrace, motocross, off-road or dirt track, or the people you meet at the exhibit tents or seminars, it seems everyone shares the same thing: a passion for all kinds of motorcycling. And like Malcolm, the folks who attend AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days are as approachable as they come. Then again, as riders you already understand exactly what I’m saying. See you there! Grant Parsons is the managing editor of American Motorcyclist

Photo Holly Carlyle

Meet The Legend Yourself At AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days By Grant Parsons

American Motorcyclist 07 2010 Preview Version  

The Journal of the AMA Preview Version

American Motorcyclist 07 2010 Preview Version  

The Journal of the AMA Preview Version