Home arrow VMCA Newsletters arrow Volume 3, Number 3 - July 1, 2006 arrow 2nd Annual Southern Rally at Bench Mark Works
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Written by BMWVMCA NEWS   
Tuesday, 05 August 2008

The 2nd Annual Southern Rally at Bench Mark Works
April 21-23, 2006

Hello vintage BMW community,

The 2nd annual BMW Veterans Motorcycle Club of America Rally did not disappoint. The meet was well attended and the swap-meet, vintage bikes and fellowship was great. I can think of few opportunities for so many like minded people to be in one place.

There was much excitement over the line up of 3 R17s and I am told that there may be four at the big BMW rally in Vermont this year. One that I hope not to miss.

I also got to ride Richards R66. He is a hell of a guy letting a host of people ride this great motorcycle. I really do not want to add any-more bikes to my want list but he has convinced me that I just may need something prewar.

Dave Carmean


I attended the 2nd Annual rally held at Bench Mark Works on April 21-23rd in Sturgis MS.  This was the first Veteran’s Club rally I have attended.

Living in Michigan and being unsure of  the weather, Stephen Ascherl and I made the 850-mile trip in my car leaving at  4 AM on the 20th of April.  The 14-hour journey was uneventful other than  the usual grousing for a lack of road signs and the travel on the Natchez Trail Parkway.  The Parkway is beautiful and looking at it from a map shows a  direct route to Vech’s place.  Do not be fooled.  There is not a  straight section of roadway on the Parkway. One word of caution: do not  take this Parkway in a car.

Enough said, back to the rally review. We arrived on Thursday around 6 PM.  Plenty of people  had arrived before us but there was ample space for camping at Bench Mark  Works.  It is a lovely spot in the town of Sturgis, MS.  We set up our tents and met a few people that I had not met before but had corresponded with via the Internet.  It is certainly nice putting faces with  names.

After a few hellos, we headed to the lone restaurant in  Sturgis.  We sat with a few people from the rally and ate great  food.  Stephen said the catfish was the best he has ever eaten.  Once nourished, we went back to Vech and Elaine’s place and met up with more  friends.

Friday morning, more people arrived and the Rally formally  began.  Several people set up vendor areas including Vech, Matt Richards from  Boxerworks and Chris Betjemann from Barrington Motor Works in New Hampshire.

A wonderful  breakfast was served and registration began for the Rally.  Food was  supplied at the Rally except for the Saturday night ride meal. The food was  delicious throughout the weekend.

There was an assortment of  plaques for various awards and several tables of door prizes supplied by Vech  and other dealers.

I personally made off with a new 6 Volt battery and some  /5 drain plugs.  A good haul for my 1700-mile trip.

More  people and some stunning motorcycles arrived. Some of the best are in Vech’s  museum.  He had 3 BMW R17’s in there, one for every year of production  (1935-37).  David Percival owns 2 of them as Vech was restoring  them.  My guess is that it is quite rare to see an R17 but three is beyond  belief as only 434 were built.

I got to ride a pre-war motorcycle, a 1939 R66.  It  was a great ride on great roads in Mississippi.  The problem is now I want a pre-war motorcycle.

There were several tech sessions and a meeting of the Veteran Club. The votes for Directors were counted.   

Richard Sheckler chaired the meeting. Old and new business was discussed.   We have a great group of Directors and a fantastic club.

All in all, it was a great time.  I met some wonderful people, made new friends, saw some great bikes, put names with faces and got to ride a pre-war motorcycle.  What more could I ask for?

Dave in MI


Sturgis this year was a great event, maybe even better than the first, and we're scheduling it in for next year as well.  Luckily we were in the neighborhood for it, of course we had to travel 2,000 miles to get into the neighborhood but it sure was worth it.

Sheckler’s R66 probably had more different riders in one weekend than it had in it's previous life. What a thrill to ride a bike like that.  What other bike club has a president who is so passionate about the bikes that he would offer a treasure such as that as a trial pony for any of the members interested in having the experience of riding a pre-war bike?

Thanks to everyone in the BMW VMCA who has worked so hard to make it what it is, and what it surely is to become. Thanks again to Vech and Elaine for hosting this extraordinary event.

Re: the Natchez Trace- If you think it's a challenge in a car, try it in an F150 towing a 28 foot fifth wheel RV. It was a beautiful ride though.   It was nice to see old faces and meet new ones.

Anyone who has any interest in the vintage BMW hobby  should make this their "must attend" event. It was mind blowing.

Larry Hassard

I appreciate the high praise and kind thoughts. Thank you all for your letters!

More praise should go to Elaine and Vech for taking precious time out of their busiest part of the year to host a meet for us. It is hard to figure what they must give up for us.

The gate fee we pay when we arrive only makes up for part of the expense of hosting this event. The remainder comes out of their pockets.

They deserve  the highest praise.


Last Updated ( Monday, 08 June 2009 )
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