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In the first photo, the motorcyclists are posed in front of the New Hotel Weirs on Lakeside Avenue, which burned down on November 9, 1924. The Perfect Score award was given out to the winners of an "endurance run", which was a long-distance motorcycle course over public roads, typically 300 to 350 miles in length, that was run over two consecutive days, and that featured checkpoints (controls) about every 50 miles.
In the second of the two magazine photos, the motorcyclists are posed on the northern side of the New Hotel Weirs block, near the corner of Tower Street. Given the poor road conditions and general unreliability of motorycles at the time, this was clearly not an easy task! The men have to pass certain points at a given time, and not before that time.
Quite a few contestants succeeded in fulfilling all of the conditions of this test, although some of them failed because they had but one idea and that was to get to the next checkpoint as soon as possible......after a time some of the country boys got wise to the situation, and in the goodness of their hearts backed down the road a bit and notifed each approaching rider that there was danger ahead in the person of the official and his green flag..result was that the official had to give it up at this point and try the secret brake test elsewhere.."Typically, the "survivors", those who were able to complete the endurance run, received bronze medals; riders with high, but not perfect scores, received silver medals; while the riders achieving perfect scores received gold medals.
The rider with not only a perfect score but also the "most consistent riding" and/or "neatest appearance" would receive the coveted diamond award.
The purpose of the Gypsy Tours was to provide a good time for the riders, and favorable publicity for their sport.
An article in the June, 1922 of the Harley-Davidson Enthusiast detailed these goals as follows : First To promote good fellowship among the riders of all makes of motorcycles and to give them a pleasure tour worth talking about until the time for the next annual tour rolls around.
Here's a beautiful, ornate FAM watch fob from a 1912 rally in Columbus, Ohio. An article from the March 13, 1919 issue of the Motorcycle and Bicycle Illustrated magazine detailed the objectives and rules for the Gypsy Tours.
For Laconia, 1917 was considered the "First Annual" Gypsy Tour, even though an informal, unofficial gathering the year before had preceded it. The rally came to be known as the New England Gypsy Tour. Clair's and Jennifer Anderson's book, Laconia Motorcycle Week, Arcadia publishing, 2008.