Hodaka Days revs up in Athena

Chris Allen competes last year at the Hodaka Days observed motocross trials in Athena.<br><I>EO?file photo

Widely credited with starting the trail bike craze in the United States, Hodaka riders are serious about thier motorcycles.

The Japanese-American motorcycle, manufactured in Athena in the 1960s and '70s at the Pacific Basin Trading Company, makes a comeback this weekend during the annual Hodaka Days.

The bikes will fill the streets as enthusiasts from around the country converge on the holy ground of Hodakas. Activities during the three-day event include trail rides, a parade, information booth, a swap meet, club meetings and a meet and greet with Chuck Swanson, former general manager with Pacific Basin Trading Company.

Additionally, a Pacific Basin employee reunion, hosted by Harry and Patty Taylor, will likely be the largest gathering of former employees in the past decade. Bring a lawn chair and listen as they swap stories, answer questions and share laughs Thursday from 2-5 p.m. at 365 W. Van Buren St., Athena.

Hodaka enthusiasts can join the Hodaka Club at the informational booth to save money on events and have a say in club business.

The Hodaka Club will hold its annual meeting Friday from 4-6:30 p.m., in the pavillion at the Athena City Park. Club President Paul Stannard will preside. General business, by-law changes and next year's event will be on the agenda.

Visitors who are curious about the bike of days gone by can visit the Athena Public Library, where a Hodaka exhibit is displayed in the local history room. Additional opportunities to catch the Hodaka bug include a parade, bike show, observed trials and scrambles racing.

And if that's just not enough - seminars, a swap meet and raffle for a model 94 Wombat also are planned during the event. Proceeds from the raffle will support AthenaGem in its effort to restore the historic Gem Theater in downtown Athena. Organizers of Hodaka Days hope part of the building will house a room dedicated to preserving the history of Hodaka motorcycles.

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