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June 09. 2012 11:27PM

Happy crowds open Bike Week


Steve Spangler, Stephen Ellliott and Dave Brehm, all of York, Pa. whoop it up at Bike Week 2012, Saturday outside the Naswa Resort. The men, along with buddy Denny McMillan, rode 13 hours Friday to get to NH for the 89th annual rally, and said they plan to check out the area and have some fun till they leave on Tuesday. (Paula Tracy/Union Leader)
LACONIA — Bikers from all corners rode into the state Saturday for the start of the 89th annual Laconia Bike Week rally, which one legislator estimates could net the state and its businesses $200 million.

Sunny skies and forecasts of a beautiful stretch of summer weather helped attract last-minute visitors.

Although crowds were considered large, problems were few.

A charity ride around Lake Winnipesaukee, however, was marred by a motorcycle accident involving a state trooper, who was injured.

Eyewitnesses said a motorcycle on a side street cut into traffic and then fled. The trooper was thrown over his handle bars, witnesses said.

Laconia Fire Chief Kenneth Erickson said the trooper suffered scrapes and was treated at Lakes Region General Hospital.

Observers credited the trooper, who was not immediately identified, as saving 100 other riders behind him from crashing by laying down his motorcycle about 12:30 p.m. in Alton Bay.

The trooper was helping to escort several hundred riders in the sixth annual Peter Makris Memorial Ride, which benefits the Easter Seals Veterans Count Program and the Laconia Fire Department Dive Team. The event has raised more than $100,000 over the years.

Traffic into the Weirs was backed up but flowing about 4 p.m. Saturday, and most of the hotels in the area had “no vacancy” signs out.

State Rep. Bob Kingsbury, R-Laconia, said the event brings in about $270,000 in Rooms and Meals Taxes and tolls, and he estimated riders would spend $200 million.

The nine-day event is packed this year with biker build-offs, riding demonstrations of the latest bikes, concerts and competitions.

Riding 13 hours on their motorcycles from York, Pa., for a four-day vacation were Stephen Elliott, Dave Brehm, Steve Spangler and Denny McMillan.

“This place is so beautiful. All these mountains and lakes,” said Spangler, as the group rested in the lobby of the Naswa Resort Saturday afternoon.

“It's busy and really noisy,” Elliott observed.

The men said the ride in was full of nasty weather, but they were thrilled to see the forecast, which calls for temperatures in the 80s this week.

The rally is considered the nation's third-largest, behind events in Sturgis, S.D., and Daytona, Fla.

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Paula Tracy may be reached at ptracy@unionleader.com.

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