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Judging News for 2023

Steve Slocombe | Published on 1/29/2023

The first piece of news is that Don Dzurick retired at end 2021 after nine years of long service and good conduct, and we haven't had a judging report in this magazine since his last column in the first 2022 edition. The second piece of news is that the Board asked me to hold the fort for the next season or two, so I'm the new AMCA Chief Judge until then. I've been judging since 1997 under all our Chief Judges at 60 National Meets, am a Marque Specialist, and have been a member of the Judging Committee since its inception about 15 years ago.

We managed to get through a successful 2022 season, judging 344 motorcycles, by appointing Event Chief Judges for our National Meets, who acted on behalf of the absent Chief Judge. For 2023 we are adopting the same plan, so I shall be physically present only at our European, Wauseon and Southern Meets this year, but experienced Judging Committee members will supervise and support the Chapter Deputy Judges at our other events.
Over the last year we have combined our older Judging Handbook and Judging Guidelines into a single booklet predictably called 'Judging Handbook & Guidelines' which has been approved by our Board of Directors and is not expected to change much in the future. We found repetitions and some inconsistencies between the old documents, now resolved, so the resulting booklet reads more cleanly and is slightly shorter. Like the earlier documents it can be found on our Website, but copies for your back pockets will be distributed to judges at our Meets this season. In making the revisions, some judging rule changes were made which you need to know about:

1. Our touchstone for AMCA judging has always been 'factory correct', and this means owners must demonstrate that their motorcycles have the engine and frame with which they left the factory. For many marques 'matching numbers' is the way they are stamped, and our Marque Specialists will know of any deviations. For early bikes without frame numbers, the engine must be appropriate to the year, or part year, of the frame and again our Marque Specialists will know the details.
2. We judge production motorcycles, so prototypes, one-offs and experimental machines are not judged. These and your Norvins and Tribsas are however welcome in the Period Modified and Display categories, where they may win Chapter awards. Machines with reproduction frames or crankcases are of course disallowed in AMCA National judging.
3. All 2023 judging will be by pre-registration, with a three week instead of a two week deadline. This is to allow the Judging Committee to review the entry list to make sure everyone gets a fair shake. At the moment our Harley judges know that the reproduction rivets on the rear mudguard tail flap are not quite as wide across the mushroom as new-old-stock ones. I can imagine them mulling over a deduction for this while, say, a 1962 Marusho with incorrect engine/frame combination gets into Winners Circle because nobody knows about it. We try to find Marque Specialists for these machines, or else decline to judge them past Junior level, or even at all, for lack of expertise.
4. We have a new and demanding Marque Excellence award for existing Winners Circle machines that can make 98 points. Several digital photos are required in advance, and a Marque Specialist must be present at the judging session.
5. It's not all tightened-up rules. Returning Winners Circle motorcycles are now considered display machines and do not need to be started – unless they want to compete for the Marque Excellence award.
6. And after good experience with Virtual Judging during the Covid lockdown, we now have the option of Remote Judging at National Meets, where experts can participate from a distance and give their input on judged bikes. Their membership numbers are then recorded on the judging form and their name goes in the AMCA magazine Meet Report.

On 2023 work plans, a database of all judges and of Marque Specialists is being prepared, so please be ready to contribute your name and areas of expertise.

We are always in need of fresh judges. My expertise is in American bikes from the nineteen twenties, thirties and forties, but what I'm seeing at our Meets today is many non-American motorcycles from the nineteen sixties up. We need volunteers to judge these machines, become Marque Specialists, and perhaps replace some of us old-timers on the Judging Committee. Please drag yourself away from the swap meet for an hour at your next National Meet and sign up as an Apprentice Judge. Anyone who has had parts through their hands will be surprised how much they know, and we can supply the methodology on how many points to deduct for a particular fault.

Another part of our work program this year is Training. Several attempts have been made over the year to generate training materials for judging, and we aim to consolidate and build on these to give a package to help Apprentices work their way up the judging hierarchy if they so wish.

Hey, that's a lot of change over the last year! I know judging is a minority interest, but it distinguishes the AMCA from other old bike clubs, and I hope we all get a thrill from seeing factory correct motorcycles out on the field. Please support our plans, and I'm happy to talk at the Meets or respond to Emails to Best regards, Steve Slocombe.
P.O. Box 663, HUNTSVILLE, AL 35804