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Where Would We Be Sans Roland Sands?

Motorcycling's Wünderkind announces 'Moto Bay Classic' for August

TMO received a media release Tuesday about the Moto Bay Classic, a “full-blown motorcycle circus” in Northern California next month organized by the folks at RSD, and I was suddenly hit with the thought: Where would motorcycling be right now were it not for Roland Sands?

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I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have the Indian FTR 1200, for example. It was his Hooligan Scout Sixty that really fueled people’s desire for such a bike – giving people a real sense of what a standard/naked Scout could look like and how badass it could be.

Indirectly, I think we can credit him with a whole hell of a lot. Sands has been one of the most visible parts of a movement that has shaped motorcycling over the past half decade or so. Scramblers, modern retros, run-what-ya-brung flat tracking, and the idea that you can wear safety gear that actually looks cool – you can give the credit for the current popularity of all that to Sands and his ilk. Importantly, Sands has been one of the most accessible members of the movement from a corporate standpoint.

He’s the dude making sexy BMWs, Harleys, Indians, and Yamahas (I’ve missed a few, I’m sure) in a way that manufacturers are eager to promote, thereby pushing the movement to the mainstream. And I feel it’s a movement that saved motorcycling from the pre-Great Recession stagnation it was in. He’s the guy we should be doing TV shows about, rather than dudes who are stuck in a movement that fizzled out more than a decade ago.

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Anyway, kudos to the dude. If you happen to live in Northern California, the Moto Bay Classic takes place 16-18 August and is similar to the Moto Beach Classic that Sands and his team launched last summer in Southern California. The Moto BAY Classic runs in conjunction with the International Police Motor Skills Competition, which means you’ll get a chance to see cops scraping the ever living hell out of Harleys (and BMW R 1200 RTs) in making turns tighter than you could pull on a Grom.

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The event, held on and around San Francisco’s Pier 32, features music, Super Hooligan flat track racing, a custom motorcycle show, motorcycle art gallery, beer garden, food and more. Bands include Eagles of Death Metal, The Vandals (you know, that band that all your friends in ska-core bands liked to cover when y’all were in college) and TSOL, for the love of Pete. TSOL – That’s about as old-school punk as it gets, shy of digging up Jello Biafra.

(Unrelated: Where is Biafra these days? Considering how vitriolic his Reagan rants were I’d have to imagine he’s apoplectic with the current state of things.)

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“It’s exciting to have the chance to bring law enforcers together with ‘hooligans’ – united by a passion for two wheels,” said Sands. “If you’re in the Bay Area Saturday, August 18 and a moto and music fan, this is not to be missed.”

Thursday and Friday’s events are free to the public, while tickets to Saturday’s events begin at $30 for general admission, with a portion of all proceeds benefitting the SFPD Wilderness Adventure Youth Program.