Barber Vintage Festival 2015

Brittens and more at the 11th Annual Barber Vintage Festival.

| January/February 2016

  • Founder George Barber fronts the line of nine Brittens — only 10 were made — that gathered for the 2015 Barber Vintage Festival.
    Photo by Corey Levenson
  • Making the Ace Corner scene was Seth Kaplan, one of the CT Rockers out of New England.
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • Kiley Owens gets his new custom BMW at Ace Corner.
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • Britten No. 1
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • Brittens on the Barber track.
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • A bevy of Hondas at the swap meet.
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • The Barber museum built a viewing bridge — with glass-floored viewing area — running from the museum over the race track just in time for the festival.
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • Offroad legend Malcolm Smith chats with fan Taylor Belling in between signing autographs.
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • Best in Show: Clive Taylor took home our Best Norton award for his beautiful 1956 Dominator 99, the first year for the upgraded 600cc engine.
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • Perks of the job: Editor Backus gets ready to head out on Dave Swigler’s Dunstall Norton.
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • Bill Freeman, Best Restored European, 1967 Bultaco Metralla
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • David Bubb, Best Rider Japanese, 1986 Honda NS400R
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • Dave Swigler, Editors’ Choice, 1972 Dunstall; Dave Williams
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • Dave Williams, Best Restored British, 1968 Triumph Bonneville
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • Paul DiMascio, Best Restored American, 1934 Indian Chief
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • Tony Prust, Analog Cycles, Best Custom, 1949 Indian Scout Racer
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • Jerry Jones, Best Rider British, 1969 Triumph Bonneville
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • Chuck Floyd, Best Restored Japanese, 1973 Kawasaki H1
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • David Miller, Best Rider European, 1987 Moto Guzzi Le Mans SE
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff
  • The 11th Annual Barber Vintage Festival drew nearly 70,000 people.
    Photo by the Motorcycle Classics staff

In 10 years, the Barber Festival has grown to become the largest vintage motorcycle event held anywhere in the U.S. Two sets of numbers tell it all: 6,000 — that’s how many people attended the first event in 2005; 69,264 — that’s how many people Bruno Event Team, the event management company charged with corralling the annual Barber Vintage Festival, says attended the annual three-day event in 2015 — a 1,054 percent increase.

That growth is hardly surprising to the Barber faithful, and it’s likely largely thanks to them that it’s occurred. Simply put, once you’ve been, you’ll tell everyone you know that if there’s only one show they can attend, it has to be Barber — and as the event’s growth curve suggests, people are listening.

Brittens on track

2015 marked the 20th anniversary of New Zealand engineer John Britten’s death. The designer and builder of the now-legendary V-1000 race bike, Britten left an indelible mark on the motorcycle industry, and the Barber crew was determined to honor his legacy by getting as many as possible of the 10 V-1000s built together at Barber. They succeeded brilliantly, with nine on hand.

Britten’s widow, Kirsteen, took the spotlight during the annual Friday night charity dinner, held this year in the Barber basement, the nine Brittens prominently displayed in the adjoining restoration workshop. That was Friday night, and it got even better Saturday and Sunday when five of the Brittens took to the track. The wail of even one Britten, its 999cc quad-cam V-twin pumping out 166 horsepower as it romps down the track, is incredible. But to hear five at once was utterly magical. It was the experience of a lifetime, and everyone watching knew it.

American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association vintage racing on the Barber Motorsports Park’s 2.38-mile track is a signature piece of the event, and the races here draw more riders than at any other vintage event, with racers vying for top honors in 42 different classes.

The Ace Corner returned, taking its now regular place inside Turns 14-17. A joint effort between Ace Café North America and Dime City Cycles, the Ace Corner draws a larger — and younger — crowd of classic bike fans every year. This is no small thing, as there were more 20-40 year olds attending the festival than ever before.

2/11/2016 10:49:05 AM

Britten no. F003 was the lone bike missing. It's owned by the government of New Zealand, and is on display in the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington, NZ. Rumor has it that the bike was planned to be in attendance, but insurance policies and transportation timelines didn't work out.

2/11/2016 7:51:32 AM

I cannot be the only reader who wonders where the 10th Britten was which did not make it to this big event. Do you know the where and why of the missing 10th Britten? It was fun and interesting to read this article and see your pictures of these rare and shockingly successful racing bikes built by the genius engineer John Britten from New Zealand. The tragic loss of such a talented soul 20 years ago already, and after the proven superiority of his bike's design, continues to represent a great example of how one man with such drive and the help of his dedicated bike building crew can overcome so many obstacles, and finish on top.

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me