Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

9th Annual Barber Vintage Festival - Birmingham, Alabama

Written by  November 1, 2013

What a gorgeous weekend for a festival! Bikes were rolling into town as early as Thursday for the start of the 9th Annual Vintage Festival at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

The festival opened Friday October 11 with seminars at the museum that were presented by John Healey and Don Hutchison, who are two guys with a century’s worth of knowledge. Bryan Fuller and Mark Prosser also gave everyone some great TIG welding techniques, which they affectionately called “How to use a Hot Glue Gun.” Hagerty Insurance with Leo Goff also did seminars on engine performance enhancements and upgrades for the vintage rebuild. Collecting & Protecting-Presented by Hagerty Insurance and Leo Goff, that ran throughout the weekend.

Special guests for the 6th Annual Motorcycles by Moonlight Dinner, benefiting the Barber Vintage Museum on Friday night, was Miguel Angel Galluzzi, who was born in Buenos Aires and is an industrial designer specializing in motorcycle design, Pierre Terblanche, a South African motorcycle designer, and Alan Cathcart.

Saturday opened to a packed crowd. The gates didn’t open until 7:30 a.m., but there were people lined up and parked in front of the gate at least an hour or two beforehand. By lunch, the parking lot at the museum was full.

The event had everyone fired up, and we met people from all over the country. On Saturday morning, while grabbing a bite at the local Waffle House, we ran into a couple of pretty nice dudes from around here, and we also met some nice people who had come down from Canada. Now that’s a pretty good distance to travel to come play in Alabama, and we’re awfully glad they did.

Americas First Federal Credit Union Fan Zone sponsored the American Auto Drome Company Wall of Death Thrill Show and Globe of Death motorcycle stunt show; both of which fit right in. That’s why we chose the shot we did for the lead photo in this article. Wes and the gang all dressed in period clothes for the photo, which I had to use it. It was perfect!

Nestled among the shows, concessions, and vendors were BMW of Birmingham and Pensacola, WOW Motorcycles, Motus Motorcycles, Triumph Dealers of North America, Southern Honda, along with Cigars and More, Avon, and Continental tire.

The Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club (VJMC) held their Japanese Minis show and awards on Friday, and Saturday was the Members Bike Show and People’s Choice Bike Show and Awards.

The Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA) Bike Show and People’s Choice Bike Show was also held on Saturday, with a Century Parade during the lunch break. All bikes had to be at least 100 years old, making the 1913 the latest eligible entry. The awards were held that afternoon.

The AHRMA bunch practiced on Friday, with road racing on the track in the morning and afternoon, trials, cross country and vintage cross country on Saturday. During the lunch breaks that weekend, everyone was treated to the Nick & Ernie Stunt Show, although we kept calling them Bert & Ernie. These guys are nuts, but in a good way. They definitely enjoy their jobs way too much. All the people around us were going: “Ooh, Damn, and Wow,” which means they were also very good at their jobs as a crowd. Very entertaining guys loved it!

Also during the lunch breaks, were the Century, BVF Grand Marshall, VJMC and AMCA Parade laps and the On Target Demo Team Skydivers. We missed the skydiving on Saturday, because there was supposed to be another show on Sunday; however, for some reason, they didn’t dive on Sunday and nobody knew why.

The first race out on the track after lunch on Saturday was one of our favorites; the sidecars. These guys are so much fun to watch, and I explained to my husband Leigh that these guys are the characters of the bunch. Last year, one of the guys even offered to take us on a lap around the parking lot. These are super nice guys, but no way in hell! Leigh may have given it a thought or two, but we would have never made it around the corner, because the passenger has to help with the steering, which would have been me, and we all know how that would have ended up.

This year they did not disappoint. First off, during the race, one of them spun around while another one came up from behind and smacked into them, which meant the passengers bore the brunt of that hit. Did I mention that most of the passengers are women, because they are so lightweight? After the race we learned that she would be ok; complaining of a sore neck and back, no doubt!

We also met the winners of the overall race, as well as the winners of each class. We were wondering why some of the bikes seemed to be way out in front of some of the others, and as it turns out they have different classes running on the track together, so they are winners in each class as well as overall winners.

Mr. Peter Essaff and his mom Una, drove all the way down from New Hampshire. It was their first time at Barbers Motorsports, and as it turns out, neither of them had even been to Alabama before. By the end of the weekend, we had gained a couple more BAMA fans who loved Barbers.

I do have to share one funny story. Peter’s passenger, Mrs. Kat Collins, has been here before with her husband, who by the way was passenger in the second place bike. I asked her, “So Kat, you’re married to the passenger of the second place bike?” to which she replied, “For now!” LOL, yeah right, it’s all good. We had so much fun hanging out and talking with these guys and their dog Indecision. Congrats, and we’ll be looking for you all again next year.

They added a motorcycle toss to the line-up of new “stuff” going on at the festival this year. When we first heard that, we thought, WOW, I’d like to see that. I mean how would you go about doing that and what type of bike would they choose to toss? It turned out to be a little toy bike, man! Still, it was funny. They had a class for kids and adults, with awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Taking center stage with the vintage bikes running around as the stars of the weekend was the swap meet. Dude! They had to add another lane for the several hundred vendors this year, and it was full. I would imagine they wont stop at just the one addition. This place is the hub of the festival, where everyone camps out with their stuff, cooking and partying. We’re so glad that we know people in “High” places and “Low” places!

Next to the swap meet was the J. Wood & Company Classic Motorcycle Auction, presented by Walneck’s Classic Cycle Trader. They had cool bikes like a 1905 Indian Camelback “No Reserve,” or so we heard. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get in because we were in no position to be purchasing any of those little cuties; however, we’ll try to work on that for next year to see if we can’t get a sneak peak at the different goodies they have to offer up.

So go ahead now and add the 10th Annual Vintage Festival at Barber Motorsports to your “To-Do” list for next year, which will take place October 10-12, 2014. We love this weekend!