Laconia Motorcycle Week is delayed. In March, the event’s organizers had been optimistic that it would go on as originally scheduled. However, the Laconia City Council has voted unanimously to postpone the festivities until August. The new dates for the “World’s Oldest Motorcycle Rally” are August 22nd through August 30th.
Laconia City Council vote
With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, the Laconia City Council held a meeting to discuss its impact. Several speakers, including event organizers, did not convince the Council to change their minds. After about 45 minutes of discussion, City Councilors said it would be irresponsible to allow tens of thousands of motorcyclists into New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.
Laconia Councilor David Bownes said that the uncertainty about the ability to hold large-scale events could continue for weeks or even months saying:
“Let’s accept reality for what it is.”
Laconia Ward 5 Councilor Bob Hamel chipped in, saying:
“We shouldn’t be inviting tens of thousands of people here at this time.”
Laconia Motorcycle Week Association’s viewpoint
Charlie Saint Clair, the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association’s Executive Director felt differently. He thinks that the Board should have made the August dates a contingency, not a requirement. But with the Council’s vote, Saint Clair concedes there is no longer a need for the Association to take a vote. “That’s pretty much moot now”. After the vote, Saint Clair told Council members that the association would re-evaluate the situation in another three months.
In light of the Council’s decision, the “Loudon Classic” race dates are also changing in line with the Council’s decision. New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s Executive Director David McGrath issued a statement saying:
It’s hard to think about delaying the enjoyment of an annual event that’s almost a full century old which attracts so many people, but the health, safety and well-being of all those involved in hosting and attending the Laconia Motorcycle Week Rally is of the utmost importance to us. It’s not easy, but it’s the right thing to do. As a motorcycle rider myself, it’s hard to wait, but I am looking forward to enjoying the week of activities in August. All of us here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway are eager to welcome riders to our beautiful lakes region and provide a fun pit stop full of entertainment, vendors and exciting two-wheeled racing action as they make their way up to rally headquarters in Laconia.”
So for now, it looks like COVID-19 will impact “Motorcycle Week”. Whether it will continue to affect the event beyond the new August dates is not known. We’ll keep you up to date as the situation evolves. Here’s to hoping that a further delay is not necessary.