Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

10th Annual Barber Vintage Festival - Birmingham, Alabama

Written by  November 29, 2014

If you’re a fan of the classics, the “Old Guys,” you would have loved this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. If you were part of the 70 something thousand people who were there, you know what I’m talking about.

October 10, 2014 was a spotty rainy weekend, but it didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the racers, or the thousands who traveled into our fair state for the soul purpose of being part of the 10th Annual Vintage Festival.

The weekend started with cocktails and dinner on Friday night with the 7th Annual Motorcycles by Moonlight event, benefiting the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, with special guest Erik Buell, and hosted by Alan Cathcart.

The museum hosted several seminars on Friday and Saturday in the restoration shop and theatre. “Vintage Motorcycle Sheet Metal with Bryan Fuller,” Two Guys and a Century of Knowledge” with John Healy & Don Hutchinson,” Brazing & Welding with Gas” with Impatient Creations, “Restore, Preserve, or Scrap” with Hagerty Seminars, and “One from the Vaults-HD VR1000” with Steve Scheibe.

There are people who come from all over the country, but you would be surprised at just how many come from overseas. We met two “pond jumpers” the first thing Saturday morning when these two “Brit’s” parked near us, and we naturally got to talking with them. Charles Rising and Justin “Top-Hat” had flown over from England to get pictures. A couple of pretty cool guys to hang out with and both of them really liked the facility and enjoy themselves. We just didn’t have enough time to spend with them, and the last time we saw them, they were headed over to the Ace Corner.

The Ace Corner-Ace Café London is the only place you can grab a cold beer anywhere in the park. They say it’s the best seat in the house, but there’s really not a bad seat in the house. These seats are nestled up next to turn 17, giving you a bird’s eye view of the race action. They offer beer, band’s, burger’s and a custom ride-in bike show by Dime City Cycles, who also built a Bonneville Café’ Racer to be given away.

America’s First Federal Credit Union sponsored the Fan Zone again this year, featuring the American Auto Drome Company’s “Wall of Death” thrill show, the “Globe of Death,” and the On the Edge - “2 Wheel Action” shows. There were also many vendors, motorcycles, and concessions.

The Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club was over in lot “A” with a bike show, including Japanese “Mini’s,”, a “Loud & Proud” sweet sounds of Japanese horsepower contest, workshops featuring restoration painting tips and techniques with B. Whitley, and master restoration steps & processes with B.Mitchell, as well as door-prizes and a BBQ.

The Antique Motorcycle club of America also held an antique motorcycle show in lot “A.” These guys were also part of the Century Parade held on the track during the lunch break both Saturday and Sunday. That’s what this weekend was all about. All the bikes in the Century Parade must be at least 100 years old. A 1914 is the latest model eligible in this “race”, I use the term loosely since they are being pushed off and take forever to get around the track for 2 laps, but those are some of the coolest laps you’ll see. We smiled and laughed so much this weekend my jaw hurt.

There were all kinds of racing to enjoy at this event. There were trials, cross country, and road racing. Some of the coolest to watch was the sidecar racing, where the passenger is the steering, so they are all over the place. One of the teams was unable to complete the first lap, and lost a “monkey” off of another, which we learned is what the passenger is called. I would imagine this is something that happens quite frequently, and they go through quite a few sets of leathers!

During the lunch break, we were treated with watching the “Cannon Ball Run,” in which park founder Mr. George Barber awarded ribbons to all of the contestants at the end. Mr. Barber was seen all around the track area throughout the weekend greeting folks. He is just so down to earth, and genuinely the nicest person you could ever meet.

The Nick & Ernie Stunt show was back to wow us during the lunch break. These guys are “nuts,” and must cause their mothers a great deal of stress; however, they are so much fun to watch! One of the big draws for the weekend was the huge swap meet area, with close to 300 vendors. It’s awesome, and you’re liable to see most anything.

If parking and traffic was any indication, they had the largest crowd ever. It took 30 minutes to get from the first gate coming in to the top of the hill. They were parking cars and bikes in the grass near the track where no one has ever parked before. It was a mad house up on Saturday, but people didn’t seem to mind very much.

The Faith Riders at Cedar Grove Baptist Church greatly appreciated the donated tickets from Angel Hufham (thanks again girl), and we’d also like to congratulate Mr. George Barber on his up coming induction into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame!