2024 Spring Slimey Crud Café Racer Run Report [Commentary]

2024 Spring Slimey Crud Café Racer Run
It's time for the 2024 Spring Slimey Crud Café Racer Run in Wisconsin.

Good weather tends to bring out a lot of riders for the Slimey Crud Café Racer Run in Wisconsin. The Spring 2024 event was no exception; in fact, this time around, the event’s weather overperformed. Clear skies and warming temperatures resulted in a jaw-dropping crowd materializing at both the start point in Pine Bluff and the endpoint in Leland.

Photography by Gary Ilminen

It is likely that, in all the years since the event was created by a group of motorcycling University of Wisconsin students back in the ether of the 1970s, a crowd quite this large has shown up. That’s saying something, as there is no official sponsorship, no side-stands-up schedule, no advertising, no formal organization, no prescribed route, no road captains, no registration fee, and no fund-raising. However, it is known that the Slimey Crud Café Racer Run happens twice per year, on the first Sunday in May and the first Sunday in October.

What’s the attraction? There is just the opportunity to get together with like-minded enthusiasts, friends old and new, and cruise Wisconsin’s superbly scenic paved highways and side roads—all on your own route and schedule.

As is our habit, we like to share some of the sights that make this event a motorcyclist’s dream when it comes to two-wheeled eye candy. To that end, here are some of the award-winning machines we saw at this spring’s Slimey Crud Café Racer Run.

As always, our categories are made up to be appropriate to the motorcycle in question, and our criteria for judging are arbitrary and capricious. Indeed, there may have been other examples that could fit into our AI-generated (not) categories, but we either just didn’t see them or didn’t pick them for reasons that will remain unclear. In some instances, the bike selected as Best In Class may have been the only bike in its class. Some may say such a selection as best in class is faint praise, but that’s just the way it goes.

2024 Spring Slimey Crud Café Racer Run Report: Honda CB750

Best Café Racer. Given the event’s name, there has to be one bike that stays truest to the spirit of a Slimey Crud Café Racer Run. This time, it had to be this immaculate Honda CB750, complete with the Ace Cafe London logo emblazoned on the tank.

2024 Spring Slimey Crud Café Racer Run Report: Sunbeam Motorcycle

Best British Classic. One of the great attractions of the Slimey Crud Run is the chance to see some uncommon classics come out of the shed and into the sunshine. This Sunbeam S7 is a great example. The OHC, longitudinally mounted, 487cc twin with shaft drive, was unique to the brand. BSA owned the Sunbeam brand from 1943 to 1956. When the Sunbeam motorcycle line was dropped, Sunbeam survived in name only on scooters branded as BSA Sunbeam from 1959 until 1965.

2024 Spring Slimey Crud Café Racer Run Report: Hodaka Motorcycles

Best Hybrid History Classics. Admittedly, our category is unusual. However, in the case of this pair of Hodakas, it applies. Hodaka focused on small-displacement two-stroke enduro and trail bikes. Although they were built in Nagoya, Japan, at the former Yamaguchi motorcycle plant, the brand’s heart and headquarters was in Athena, Oregon, from 1964 to 1977, as the home of PABATCO (Pacific Basin Trading Company). Here in the upper Midwest, we just don’t see all that many Hodakas anymore.

Harley-Davidson Custom Chopper

Best Chopper. Not that many choppers show up for the Crud Run, but some of those that do are really well done. This Harley-Davidson chop has the classic looks—great custom paint, kicked-out springer fork, ape-hangers, a hardtail frame, and wisely well-padded stepped saddle and sissy bar.

Best Rotary Road Bike. Okay. It is entirely likely that this Suzuki RE5 is the only bike that made the Crud Run powered by a Wankel engine. Suzuki had licensed rotary engine development from NSU in 1970, and by 1974 came out with its production RE5 road bike. Nominally a 500cc engine, the bike didn’t sell well and was in the product line only until 1975. That said, Suzuki wasn’t the only brand to give the rotary engine a long look; Norton built 25 air-cooled rotary-engine bikes in 1979. In 1983, 170 rotary-powered Nortons were sold to Interpol. The rotary engine hit its zenith in motorcycle use when a liquid-cooled twin-rotor Norton ridden by Steve Hislop won the Senior TT at the Isle of Man in 1992, and Ian Simpson won the British Superbike championship on a Norton RCW588 works racer in 1994.

There’s always a lot to see at the Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang Café Racer Run in Wisconsin, and it happens again on Sunday, October 6. Be there, or you’ll have to settle for reading about what you missed here with Ultimate Motorcycling.