LACONIA — This June, Laconia Motorcycle Week returns to New Hampshire for its 96th year. The rally actually started in 1916, organized by local motorcycle dealers in central and southern New England, with several hundred motorcyclists traveling north for a gathering, dubbed a “gypsy tour,” at Weirs Beach. The tour was first sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists in 1917 and when the FAM disbanded in 1919, the Motorcycle and Allied Trades Association took over the sanction until 1924, when the American Motorcycle Association was formed. The weekend event centered around races and hill climbs. The number of participants grew each year as did the event’s duration. Over time, the rally blossomed into a week-long event, before suffering in attendance during the 1960s. The rally reverted to a three-day weekend, and would remain so until 1991, when organizers revived the week-long event after seeing the success of Sturgis’ 50th Anniversary Rally in 1990. Laconia Motorcycle Week reclaimed the support of local businesses and the AMA as a week-long rally and the oldest gypsy tour in the country.
Today, Laconia Motorcycle Week is an expanded version of the gypsy tour, offering food, music, racing, spectator-friendly hill climb competitions, and a forum to share in their passion for riding. Over 250,000 riders are expected this year, holding the honor of the oldest of the three national rallies. Daytona and Sturgis are Laconia’s sister rallies.
“It’s a rite of passage,” said organizer Jennifer Anderson, “This is the one week of the year when riders get to hang out with thousands of other people, from all around the U.S. and world, who enjoy the very same thing they like – getting out and riding. The rally offers us all a chance of camaraderie while still having fun, packing on the miles, and even raising money for much deserved local charities.”
This year’s Motorcycle Week is June 8-16.
Laconia Motorcycle Week is grateful to all sponsors, especially Presenting Sponsors Progressive, AMSOIL, and American Iron Outfitters as well as the State of New Hampshire.