As we slid into the All Nippon Airlines germ tube to Yokohama, Japan, we knew pretty much what to expecttons of great bikes that are well thought out and meticulously constructed. These concepts alone kept the 20-odd Americanskis on the plane gossiping like eighth-grade schoolgirls for the duration of the flight, but we had no clue as what would really be unleashed upon our eyes less than 24 hours later.
When we landed we were met by our gracious hosts: Shige, Chico, Makoto, and the rest of the Mooneyes clan. We boarded a bus, and during the crowded Tokyo highway drive to Yokohama we were informed of the 19th Annual Yokohama Custom Hot Rod Show’s schedule and, most importantly, when the press could enter before the crowds hit the carpet.
The next morning Grant(s) Peterson and Reynolds, ’Poon, Polgreen, Chicago Wil, and I awoke early, ate some breakfast, and headed over to the Pacifico Yokohama Hall with much anticipation. Before we could get our fat asses and long lenses through the door, we were graced by some of the nicest bikes on the planet waiting to be rolled in on setup day. I have never seen as many Knuckleheads, Panheads, and K-models in one place. Very few of the 200-plus bikes being shown were late models, and the old iron was in the most amazing shape that could be imagined. For the rest of the day we shot as many photos as we could while the participants spent hours shining chrome and building intricate displays.
The next day when the Mooneyes show doors opened to the public the line wrapped around the block. Inside the hall was packed with thousands of spectators who were real-deal chopper enthusiasts and not just dudes trying to make the scene. When Jeff Decker, Ian from Falcon, Dice Dean, Mark Drews, Duane Ballard, and our own Grant Peterson rode their bikes into the show, mayhem ensued complete with pushing, shoving, and thousands of camera flashes. It was complete sensory overload.
Outside the show were more than 1,000 bikes in the parking lot that the spectators rode in, and most of those bikes could have been good enough to be in the show. This fact alone had our heads spinning once again as we ran around trying to shoot what we could before they were ridden away.
For over 10 hours we shot the shit with friends both old and new, as well as taking over 7,000 photos between the two of us. At the end of the day while we were dining at the Moon Caf, someone asked me what I thought of the event. All I could say was that it was hands down the best motorcycle show I had ever been to. And that’s saying a lot.
Do yourself a favor and make plans to attend next year’s Mooneyes Yokohama show by any means necessary. It will monumentally change your life indeed. Both the people of Japan and the bikes they ride are top-notch! For a full schedule of 2011’s show, log onto mooneyes.com. SC