By Brandon HENSLEY
Despite the hot weather, plenty of bike enthusiasts came out to Crescenta Valley Park for Joe’s Minibike Reunion on Saturday.
The event was hosted by Joe Sebergandio. It was the fourth annual reunion, allowing the public a chance to check out minibikes, purchase some merchandise and talk bikes with like-minded people. All previous reunions have been held at CV Park, although this was the first time it was held on the Hindenburg side, giving more space for the minibikes to be presented.
Sebergandio said he had 180 bikes registered, 30 more than last year, and, even in the unusually warm conditions, he estimated around 1,500 people came out.
“Like I told people, we’re in California,” Sebergandio said after the show. “We could be freezing. It’s fine. We’re going to jump in a pool in about an hour.”
The show has come a long way in just four years. Sebergandio still doesn’t make a profit, but it doesn’t matter. Thanks to his and his friends’ efforts to advertise, and because they’ve been able to tap into a popular niche in the community, the event continues to grow.
“Don’t forget, our first year we had more signs than minibikes,” he said. Now Sebergandio only brings three of his minibikes instead of 20 to fill space, which he used to do.
The usual models were on display: Taco, Honda and Bonanza. Merchandise was sold in booths in the shade. Previously, Sebergandio just had shirts. This year, he had baby clothes and jackets for sale.
Sponsors included Campbell’s Automotive and Mac’s Place, which had a booth selling parts near one of the park entrances. There were prizes given away including $1,000 cash.
The big hit of the day was the showcase of a portable Dyno engine. Participants were free to see how much horsepower and top speed they could reach. Sponsored by Steady Garage, Sebergandio called the showcase a huge part of the event.
This year, three inductees were entered into Joe’s Minibike Hall of Fame. Charles “Mr. Minidragbike” Mosely is an accomplished racer, engine builder and race promoter, having overseen a thousand mini-drag bike projects and engine rebuilds, and coordinated races in Southern California.
Vernell “Home Alone” Potter is a prolific racer, holding numerous first-place finishes over the years. He suffered a severe injury while racing in 2014, and is currently recovering. Potter is currently an ambassador for helmet safety and safe riding.
Joe Rivello was the 1972 National Motorsport Assoc. Nationals Class champion. After Taco minibikes went out of business, Rivello helped revive the brand in recent years with updated and modern components. His new models have been featured in Hot Rod magazine.
Sebergandio plans to be back at CV Park next September. He said maybe 10 years down the road he’ll actually start making money from the show, when it is legitimately known around the area and by motor enthusiasts. But if the past two years are any indication, he’s well on his way.
“It’s starting to get to that place where I think I’m going to get 500 bikes,” he said of future shows. That’s a good number, considering he didn’t know if he would make it after two years.
“It’s just me pursuing my passion, making sure everyone has a good time,” he said.