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World's Oldest Motorcycle Rally Boon to NH Businesses

New Hampshire's popular motorcycle week continues through Father's Day. (Ray Cunningham)
New Hampshire's popular motorcycle week continues through Father's Day. (Ray Cunningham)
June 14, 2018

WEIRS BEACH, N.H. – The oldest motorcycle rally in the world is taking place this week in New Hampshire.

The Laconia Motorcycle Rally began in 1916. It missed seven years over the decades due to national and world events, but this year marks its 95th anniversary.

One of the events that drew large crowds this week is literally called the World's Oldest Motorcycle Rally, which features bikes from the 1930s.

For Charlie Sinclair, executive director, World Motorcycle Association, the rally is a great experience.
"For people that have either been to New Hampshire before or have not been here before, to experience everything that the state has to offer,” he states. “For riding capabilities here, we have so many nice roads through the mountains, along the coast. It's just a great experience overall."

The area is filled with festivities, including Harley-Davidson demonstrations, rodeos and burrito eating contests.

New Hampshire's Division of Travel and Tourism estimates the nine-day event brings in $100 million for the state.

Last week, the rally kicked off with an annual run in honor of Peter Makris, who owned the popular Naswa Resort in Weirs Beach. Sinclair says that Makris was always a big champion of Motorcycle Week.

"He was as a member of the Red Hat Brigade back in the 50s and 40s, into the early 60s,” Sinclair relates. “Peter is a former Marine. He gets a lot of support there and then, they raise funds for the Laconia Fire Department and the Make-A-Wish [Foundation], New England Easter Seals – several charities benefit from that."

On Saturday, bikers ride the New Hampshire Motor Speedway track and then go on a 32-mile ride around the Lakes Region, with a goal of raising $76,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of New Hampshire.

Linda Barr, Public News Service - NH