Barber Vintage Festival Draws Record Crowd

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Vincents gather at the swap meet during the 8th Annual Barber Vintage Festival.

The 8th Annual Barber Vintage Festival drew a record crowd, promoter ZOOM Motorsports says, with 57,000-plus bike fans sharing the sights and sounds of vintage racing and shows during the three-day 2012 event. ZOOM says attendance for the Barber Vintage Festival grew by 11 percent, a significant uptick from last year’s attendance figures of 51,723.

That’s a lot of people by any reckoning, and even if those numbers include all event participants like vendors, AHRMA racers and other support staff, it’s still an impressive increase. Since its inception in 2005, the Barber Vintage Festival has witnessed stratospheric growth, and this year was no different. We well remember the first year, when an estimated 10,000 or so enthusiasts showed up. We were blown out of the water then with the quality and variety of the event, aspects that have only improved with every passing year.

Motorcycle Classics held its annual Barber Vintage Motorcycle Show, with Triumph motorcycles the featured marque. Top honors went to David Hurst for his beautifully restored 1966 Triumph Bonneville TT, which, we’re glad to note, he rode into our show to prove that it’s more than just another pretty face. David’s trophy was presented to him by none other than Triumph North America CEO Greg Heichelbech, who helped judge the Triumph class.

David Hurst (left) with Triumph North America CEO Greg Heichelbech after receiving the Best Triumph award for his 1966 Bonneville TT100.

We also got to meet up with Alan Sayler, winner of this year’s Motorcycle Classics/Barber Vintage Festival Sweepstakes. Alan was more than a little chuffed by his good luck, telling us, “I’ve can’t believe I won! I’ve never been able to attend the festival.” Attend he did, thanks to Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, which handed Alan two tickets to the festival, a two-night hotel stay, weekend passes to the museum, plus Barber Vintage Festival hats and T-shirts. Pretty cool. Could be you next year.

Barber Vintage Festival Sweepstakes winner Alan Sayler (left) with MC editor Richard Backus.

The day prior to the show found me astride a circa-1966 Honda CB160 for the inaugural running of MotoGiro South. Run as a one-day event instead of the standard three-plus, the ride took the 50 assembled participants on a 150-plus-mile jaunt through the Alabama back country. Riders had to run a regularity trial at the beginning of the rally, another before lunch, another just after lunch, and a final trial at rally’s end back in Birmingham at rally headquarters at the Hilton Birmingham Perimeter Park. Although there were a few DNFs, my little Honda ran flawlessly – no surprise – and everyone who took the ride is looking forward to next year when, it’s hoped, it will become a full-blown three-day Motogiro. That would be one hell of an addition to an already jam-packed weekend.

A rider in the Motogiro South winds his way through the Alabama back country on a Bultaco.

Barber continues to grow, but fortunately not at the expense of the event, which has been top shelf since that first event in 2005. We’re astounded at how this show continues to not only get bigger, but quantifiably better each and every year, with more attractions and features, and more to see and do. Barber has already scheduled the 2013 event, set for Oct. 11-13, 2013. See you there! – Richard Backus

George Brown’s spectacular Laverda RGS with full Executive equipment. This bike is one serial number off my own RGS, so they probably shared the same floor space on the same day in the old Laverda factory.

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
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