John Surtees in the Barber Museum workshop with one of the MV Agustas he rode to successive world championships in 1958-1960.
John Surtees, the only man ever to win world championships on two wheels and four, has been named Grand Marshal for the 6th Annual Barber Vintage Festival. No stranger to the Barber event, Surtees was on hand for the 2nd Annual Barber Vintage Festival in 2006, greeting fans and signing autographs, and getting in a few hot laps of the Barber track in the very Ferrari 158 F1 he took to a world championship in 1964. He also put in laps riding one of the 500cc 4-cylinder MV Agustas he rode to world championships in 1958-1960.
Surtees keeps his eye on the temperature gauge as he warms up the Ferrari 158 F1 he drove to a world championship in 1964 before heading out on the Barber race track in 2006.
I had the privilege of talking with Surtees during his 2006 visit, a few moments in time I’ll never forget. Although I’m not anyone of any note in the category, Surtees happily agreed to an interview with me, which we conducted in the Barber workshop located in the basement of the museum, the MV Agusta he would ride later that day sitting in the shop as a backdrop. Surtees was kind and gracious, putting me completely at ease as I, utterly awe-struck to be speaking with one of the greatest figures in motorcycle history of all time, groped for words. Click on the video below to get a look at John Surtees when he visited Barber in 2006.
The addition of Surtees to the list of great people and things to see and do during the Barber Festival simply sweetens the pot of what’s become, in my mind, the single greatest vintage motorcycle event in the country. Started almost on a whim and fed by the undying passion and enthusiasm of the staff at Barber – not to mention us lay folk, the bread and butter of the vintage bike scene – the Barber Festival pulls together a unique mix of location, facilities, events and people that’s unrivaled by any show.
Motorcycle Classics will be there as we have been every year, hosting our annual Barber Vintage Bike Show. The featured category for this year's show is Cafe's, Customs and Bobbers, and we'll be awarding trophies in six other categories. Go here to preregister and get more details.
If you’ve been promising yourself a trip to Barber, do it during the Vintage Festival. The vintage racing is excellent, the museum is to die for, and the swap meet, although hardly the size of, say, VMD, keeps getting better and better, and the quality of items on hand is excellent. Barber’s Brian Slark is dead set on keeping non-motorcycle crap out of the swap area, something we wish more shows would do. Also, the Bator International Bator Auction returns for its second year, and given Glenn Bator’s enthusiasm for old bikes in general and this show in particular it’ll likely be another excellent auction. Last year’s Bator Auction saw a 68 percent sales ratio, quite good for an inaugural auction. Be there, or be square. – Richard Backus
Click on the video below to see footage of racing legend John Surtees at the 2006 Barber Vintage Festival.