Bench Mark Works Open House PDF Print E-mail
Written by BMWVMCA NEWS   
Sunday, 26 June 2011


by Richard Sheckler


 April 14—17, 2011 Sturgis, MS

      Where to begin? This was another of Elaine and Vech’s examples of fine hospitality and friendship.

      With a ten dollar contribution for an entire weekend of camping and breakfasts, this event is truly a bargain.

      Bench Mark Works is situated within twenty miles of the Natchez Trace, a wonderful route for riding on two wheels. The Trace, an historic Native American trail, is today a National Park extending in the form of a well paved road between Natchez, MS and Nashville, TN. If you are coming from either the north or south, two wheels or four, it’s a fine way to get to Sturgis.

      Nearby Ackerman features at least three places that serve top drawer meals. 

     The annual meet at Sturgis, MS is like Mecca for those of us fascinated by old BMW motorcycles. It is written somewhere that we have to make this trip at least once in our lives. More treks are better for our souls.


     This year forecasts of inclement weather likely kept people away. Attendance was about half of 2010’s turnout.


     Thursday was warm and sunny with light breezes. On Friday, the skies opened up around 0900 and remained so until 2200 with only a short break around 1400. The weather channel reported five inches of rainfall for the day.


     Saturday and Sunday brought a return of sunny and warm weather.



For Saturday brunch we had an unexpected serving of Ham ‘n’ Rims! Thanks again to Elaine and Vech!


     During the downpour on Friday, most of us found plenty to do indoors. Vech showed examples of new manufacture MATRA special shop tools now available. The designs of these new tools were slightly modified to improve the ease of using them.  Prices for these tools are reasonable. Check them out at:



Bench Mark Works now offers an expanded line of very well made Matra tools.


     Vech also shared with us some of his lesser known methods of repairing parts. One such was a procedure involving a shop made centering device requiring use of a lathe while installing replacement universal joints in drive shafts.


     Another was a simple, time saving lever device for quickly compressing shock springs (Earles model singles and twins) for disassembly and general service.


     Vech opened his shop and offered his tools for use to anyone wanting to work on their own bike. Vech easily got involved helping and advising anyone who wanted to learn ‘hands on.’


     We were shown how to build a simple device using straight edges and two over the counter laser pointers, and how to use the tool to align and set up a side car.



     On Saturday, Vech held another informal tech seminar, which helped us learn through questions and answers.


     This year, the VMCA did not hold an open meeting, nor did we distribute newsletters. When Bob Zronek and I left Wayne, it was after seventy miles down I-75 when I realized I had forgotten all the club materials sitting in the kitchen. Bob graciously offered to turn back to retrieve the boxes. “Keep going…”


     Saturday evening we rode in caravan to Pap’s Place for a smorgasbord of fine southern style home cooking. Usually, that means ‘fattening’, especially when quaffing large amounts of ‘sweet tea’. Not everything was deep fried, nor was everything over the top in calories. Leaner dishes were there in quantity, including fresh caught ocean perch.


     The Bench Mark staff were kept busy running the store for those of us looking for spare parts. We were offered ten percent off the purchase prices, plus Bench Mark paid the local and State taxes, which amounted to another seven percent savings.


     As an added perk, Elaine and Vech provided us with free long distance telephone service for the entire weekend.


     Special thanks to the Bench Mark staff Richard Coyle, Diane Blackman, David Young, John Langberg, and volunteers ‘Bungee’ Bob Durrstein, David Strauss, and Daniel May who put in extra time helping make this meet happen.



Jerry Powell on guitar and unidentified friend on the fiddle, just like jammin’ at the Ritz.


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