After attending the first Barber Vintage Festival in 2005, we knew it was an event we’d write into our calendar every year, and it’s not too hard to see why. The 2010 Barber Vintage Festival was no exception. With the world’s greatest motorcycle museum and a world-class track, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and Park is in a class by itself.
We put the spotlight on customs and cafés, and an excellent selection of machines showed up, including Rick Jones’ fab 1976 Triumph T140V, which nabbed Best of Show. Beautifully crafted and emminently rideable, Rick’s Triumph is an excellent example of a contemporary take on the old café theme. We were also blown away by Billy “Ace” Myers’ 1960 BSA Gold Star — with 215,000 miles on it! Talk about ride ‘em, don’t hide ‘em.
The big fun was an unannounced visit to our show by festival Grand Marshal and racing legend John Surtees, the only man ever to win world championships on two wheels and four. That’s pretty cool, we thought, but then Alain de Cadenet stepped out of the van! A former LeMans racer and a major figure in the vintage car and bike scene, de Cadenet is a regular on SPEED TV and one of the greats in our sport. And it got better, because de Cadenet decided to hang around, and with help from Mark Mederski of the National Motorcycle Museum and Barber’s own Brian Slark, he judged our show categories and awarded trophies to winners at the end. Pretty fun stuff.
We also played host to the Gathering of the Gammas. Organized by a loose-knit group of Suzuki Gamma enthusiasts, the gathering celebrated 25 years since Suzuki introduced its red-hot, liquid-cooled two-stroke square-four road burner. Even though it was never officially available in the U.S., some 30 examples lined up cheek by jowl outside our tent.
Back behind our tent were the Critters, another, maybe even looser group of riders, this time on ratted out mid-1960s Hondas festooned with cow horns and held together with bailing wire. Junkyard rejects all, their looks belie the fact they’re in excellent running shape, as a group of them proved last year when they ran the Trans-America Trail, a 4,800-mile ride from Tennessee to Oregon on mostly unpaved roads!
Perfect weather, great bikes, excellent vintage racing and huge crowds. It doesn’t get much better than Barber.
Read more about this event:
• Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
• 2010 Barber Vintage Festival
• John Surtees named Grand Marshal for 2010 Barber Vintage Festival