OHIO VALLEY BSA OWNERS CLUB HISTORY

Revised October 2012

The Ohio Valley BSA Owners Club was started in 1982 by a group of British motorcycle enthusiasts who resided near Toronto, Ohio. With each of the founding members being the owner of a BSA motorcycle and Toronto being a small town located in an area known as the Ohio Valley, the name of the new club came easily. The club operated at the local level for several years during which time the main function of the club was the promotion of a British Motorcycle Rally held each summer.

As the rally grew each year, more and more enthusiasts wanted to join the club. But since the club had nothing to offer out of town members, their desire to join the club was declined. Finally, after many such inquiries, the founding club members decided to begin operations on a more formal basis, and opened the membership to persons interested in BSA motorcycles. Officers were elected, and by-laws approved. The club grew and prospered and a newsletter called Small Heath’s Best was soon being sent to the general membership on a steady basis. Dues were initially set at $10 per year and remained at that level for over 25 years, but with continually rising postal rates and other costs related to the membership, dues were reluctantly raised to $15 per year, and have remained at that level to this date.  Membership pins, club decals, and other items are also issued to the membership.

With interest in British motorcycles increasing in the ‘80's, the club soon found itself looking for another activity to promote, and they found it in Vintage Trials. This event was first started at one of the summer rallies, but soon gained status with its own date now set for early June of each year. Beginning in 1988, the club promoted the Can-Am Challenge Vintage Trials, a two day event in the Mid - Atlantic Vintage Trials Series that is held each spring.  Recently, due to declining participation by Canadian riders, the event was renamed the “Spring Challenge”.   The format for the event remains the same with a Dual Sport Reliability Run, an outdoor swap meet,   and group rides being held in conjunction with the Spring Challenge Vintage Trials. On a national level, the club for several years was the host of a National Vintage Trials round sanctioned by AHRMA (the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association).

The successes of the club have been widely recognized. In 1990, the club hosted the 27th International BSA Owners Rally and welcomed BSA owners from around the world to their Toronto, Ohio, rally site. BSA enthusiasts came from Europe, South America, and even as far away as New Zealand and Australia. The club’s summer rallies held each year since 1982 have regularly drawn contingents of riders from all over the USA to participate in the activities. BSA stars such as former World Moto Cross Champion Jeff Smith, AMA Grand Champion Dick Mann, and multi-time U.S. Hill Climb Champion Earl Bowlby are honorary club members and have attended many of our events.

In 1996, the club was selected by the American Motorcyclist Association to develop the first marque display for AMA’s Vintage Days which are held each year. The club responded with a display featuring the history of the BSA marque along with an impressive display of members’ BSA motorcycles that represented over 60 years of production. The club continues to take an active role in AMA Vintage Days activities promoting a BSA Corral and club display each year.

For many years the club participated in vintage motorcycling activities held each year in Daytona, sponsoring awards and a group ride for vintage machines and show trophies at that event in addition to setting up a display in the track infield on AHRMA’s Vintage Day races at the Daytona International Speedway. Recently, the club has had a presence at the Barber Museum Vintage Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.  The club also continues to attend various vintage motorcycle events around the eastern United States for both promotional and informational purposes.

Membership exceeded the 500 mark in 1991 with most members being located in the eastern and midwest areas of the USA. In 1995, membership #1000 was issued to a former BSA flat track racer residing in Pennsylvania. Today, the club counts members in over 40 states and Canada as well as several countries abroad, and active membership is in the 800 member range.