If you’ve never heard of the Killington Classic motorcycle rally, don’t worry — you’re not out of the loop. Since its inception in the 90s, the KC was never much more than an informal gathering of a few hundred bikers near the namesake town of the legendary ski resort in the Green Mountains of Vermont. A good time, but no big deal.
In early 2011, however, that all changed. In an effort to take the event to the next level, Killington town officials contacted the folks at Americade in Lake George, New York. They wanted to turn the Classic into a motorcycle destination, and take it from a localized event in the shadow of traditional New England rallies such as Laconia to a large-scale rally attracting motorcyclists from all over New England and Eastern Canada. And who better to accomplish that feat than Bill and Christian Dutcher, the father/son team behind Americade? With their local connections, industry contacts, and experience at building a motorcycle event from the ground up, they were the ideal choice to turn the Killington Classic from a local-yokel event to a world-class motorcycling rally.
But from the beginning, the Dutchers knew they wanted Killington to be special. Rather than simply replicate their success in Lake George — a touring-focused rally in a family-friendly hamlet — they wanted the KC to be distinct. And with the blessing of town officials, that’s exactly what they created. Instead of the Gold Wing and sport-touring set, the new Killington Classic was geared toward all bikes and all riders, particularly American-made V-Twin cruisers and customs. Best of all, as a ski resort that’s no stranger to parties, Killington wasn’t concerned about protecting a family-friendly reputation; it’s a town ready for anything — the ideal attitude for hosting a motorcycle rally. Everything was coming together. And then, disaster struck.
In mid-August, mere weeks before the opening reception, Hurricane Irene ravaged the East Coast. It was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it plundered its way into New England, but powerful winds and torrential rains still wreaked havoc all over the region. The hardest hit area? Southwestern Vermont, with the towns of Killington and Rutland the epicenter of the storm damage. Roads were washed out, power lines were downed, lives were destroyed, and the inaugural Killington Classic was quickly cancelled.
But the area has bounced back, and the Killington Classic is ready for the spotlight. RoadBike, American Iron Magazine, and Motorcycle Bagger are proud to be presenting sponsors of the inaugural 2012 Killington Classic. From August 30-September 3, join us in the Green Mountains as we get this party started right. On Thursday the 30th, RoadBike is hosting the Killington Kick Start Opening Reception at the Snowshed Lodge at the Killington Resort, with dinner, drinks, and door prizes. On Friday the 31st, take a 12-mile parade to nearby Rutland, where Motorcycle Bagger is hosting the Rutland Block Party downtown. And on Saturday September 1, American Iron Magazine is hosting the blowout of the weekend, the Full Throttle dinner and party followed by fireworks, bike show awards, and prizes.
In between, ride the famous valleys and covered bridges of the Green Mountains or enjoy one of the many Killington Classic-sponsored activities in the area — such as gondola rides to the top of Killington Mountain to the Vermont State Fair in nearby Rutland, where your KC wristband gets you free admission. You can also take a demo ride, check out the vendor village and the stunt/freestyle show, ride a guided tour, try your luck in a poker run or scavenger hunt, or just hang out at the Vendor Village and People’s Choice Bike Show. Sunday and Monday feature many more events and guided tours, including an instant classic, the Irene Valley ride, a guided tour through many of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Irene last year.
Because of last year’s natural disaster, the Killington Classic is expected to be a celebration of survival and rejuvenation. Organizers expect a great turnout, including Governor Peter Shumlin and other hometown heroes. (Also at press time, a benefit concert is in the works; among the rumored performers is Aerosmith’s Joe Perry!) Make plans to join your favorite motorcycle magazines in Vermont August 30-September 3. <rb>
Killington Classic, 518/798-7888, KillingtonClassic.com.