2009 Barber Vintage Festival

Classic overload


| January/February 2010



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Japanese classics lined up at the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club show at Barber.

Photo by Richard Backus

Where the Bonneville Vintage GP is a spectator experience, with the majestic mountains of Utah providing a breath-taking backdrop to the incredible vintage racing that dominates the event, the Barber Vintage Festival is a spectacle, a vintage gathering of the first order where the racing is just one part of the show.

When the folks at Barber announced their first Vintage Festival back in 2005, it was a good bet they’d pull out the stops and host a show of the first order. When your credits include the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, an 80,000-square-foot structure of gleaming metal and glass housing the world’s foremost collection of vintage and collectible motorcycles, and the adjacent Barber Motorsports Park, a 2.3-mile world-class circuit designed by track-master Alan Wilson, you don’t aim low. They didn’t, and in five short years the Barber Festival has become the ne plus ultra of vintage motorcycle events. The 5th Annual Barber Vintage Festival was held Oct. 9-11, 2009, and like every Barber Festival before, it didn’t disappoint.

Classic overload

The Barber Festival is all about packing it in. Besides AHRMA racing (it’s also AHRMA’s season ender) there’s an excellent — and constantly expanding — swap meet, technical seminars at the museum, the Rhett Rotten Wall of Death (with daredevils riding a 1927 Indian Scout and other vintage iron on the inside wall of an approximately 50-foot diameter wooden barrel), mid-day aerobatic displays by the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, new Triumph and Ducati demo rides, a Saturday auction, plus individual shows from the VJMC, AMCA and Motorcycle Classics.

Show time

Riding high on our Honda CB500 Project Café, we teamed up with Dairyland Cycle Insurance to host the Motorcycle Classics Café Bike Show. The weather wasn’t exactly cooperative, and a  steady drizzle of rain threatened to diminish Saturday’s crowd, but classic bike fans are nothing if not dedicated, a point amply proven by the dozens of beautifully prepared machines packed in and around our tent.

Enthusiasm for the show and for our little CB500 Café was excellent, and we even managed to talk Brian Slark, Barber’s chief restoration expert (and former Matchless/Norton employee), into helping us choose our Best of Show winner.

Joining Slark was Mark Mederski, former executive director of the AMA’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum and now special projects director for the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa.





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