When I met Darren LePage in 2007, he was eating breakfast at a Hoboken diner with some other Garden State bikeriders. After swapping names and handshakes, I threw an awkward softball to the man in the Wingmen cut to break the ice. "Hey Darren, that's a cool wizard tat on your arm. What does it mean?" Now most MC members would have choked a clown like me for a question like that, but Darren is no ordinary biker. Instead, a big smile washed over his grizzled face and he chuckled, "That ain't a wizard you knucklehead, it's Uncle Sam!"
Since then I've hung out with Darren and his Wingmen MC brothers on rides, rallies and trade shows. On every ocassion, the manhugs grow heartier and the bro downs become more fun and relaxed. Save for his leather vest with three back patches and a splash of club awards on the lapel, Darren LePage displays none of the classic MC bluster or bravado. What I see in Darren is what most people get: a talented motorcycle builder, a serious riding partner and a loyal friend.
I've been in the Wingmen for 16 years. Six years ago I transferred out of the New York chapter and started the New Jersey chapter in South Hackensack with a few other brothers.
The Wingmen Motorcycle Club originated at a US military base in Boscomantico near Verona, Italy. It was the home of the Combat Support Company, 1st Battalion of the 509th Airborne Combat Team. In the spring of 1976 a member of the Ft. Lewis "Freedom Riders" started the chapter, but the original center patch consisted of an American Eagle instead of the home chapter's center patch.
In the summer of 1978 that military post closed, and they joined the rest of the battalion in Vicenza, Italy, where the club continued to grow. It was in Vicenza that the Freedom Riders picked up a new member who informed the club that the founding member in Verona had been thrown out of the Ft. Lewis Freedom Riders and had no authorization to start a new chapter. At a club meeting on the 4th of July, 1979, the members voted to change their name to the "Wingmen Motorcycle Club," a term used to describe the way two pilots fly and cover one another. The original center eagle patch was kept and the club stayed "All American."
When one of the members returned to Ft. Bragg, NC, in August 1979, he received a copy of the Wingmen charter and started to put a chapter together for the other returning paratroopers.
With many civilian riders joining the Wingmen's ranks, the States-based club did not stay all military for long. By the spring of 1985, enough men had passed through the chapter's ranks and been assigned to Fort Benning, GA, that the Columbus chapter was formed. From that point, former members at other bases began to build chapters. The Wingmen can be found all over the United States partying with each other, and other clubs. Brotherhood and the spirit of Harley-Davidson keeps The Wingmen MC united.
Builder/owner: Darren LePage
Bike: Psycho Bitch
Frame: Paughco, 2-up, 4-out, 30° rake
Motor: 1993 1200XL with Weisco hi-comp pistons, N4 Andrews cams, S&S super E carb
Fork: 39mm 6-over with Franks tubes and shaved trees. I had a DNA springer on it the first season and was not happy with the handling so off it went
Wheels: Stock Sporty mags 19"/16" front/rear
Tires: Dunlops front and rear
Notes: I built this bike for my wife almost five years ago, and when I took it out for a shakedown ride it handled so nice I decided to keep it for myself. It might be time for new paint and a new gas tank
To learn more about Darren's Bergen County, NJ Wingmen MC chapter, go here.