Barry Schanberger took top honors for his 1968 Norton Fastback at last year’s Motorcycle Classics Vintage Bike Show at Barber.
The 14th Annual Barber Vintage Festival, the largest vintage motorcycle event in North America and attended by 70,000-plus enthusiasts in 2017, happens Oct. 5-7, 2018, at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Alabama, with famed British builder Colin Seeley this year’s Grand Marshal. A successful AJS dealer, Seeley raced sidecars in the late ’50s and early ’60s before moving into frame building. A huge fan of then-popular British singles, he bought all the tooling and spares for the overhead cam Matchless 350cc and 500cc singles (and the Norton Manx; he later sold those rights) after AMC closed its race shops in 1963. He started producing complete bikes in 1966, and his Seeley specials represented the very best in handling and were raced at tracks across the U.K., Europe and the U.S. He later produced frames to house Honda’s CB750 Four.
Seeley will also be guest of honor at the Barber Museum’s Friday night Motorcycles by Moonlight fundraiser, and we’re anticipating his presence at the Motorcycle Classics tent during our Saturday Vintage Bike Show, which this year puts the spotlight on Triumph and BSA triples, with triples of all makes encouraged to join us. We’ll award trophies in five categories, plus special awards for Best Triple and Editors’ Choice. Barber restoration expert and former Norton employee Brian Slark will join us for judging.
This year’s Motorcycle Classics technical seminars will be led by vintage Japanese motorcycle electrical specialist Rick Shaw from Rick’s Motorsports Electrics, explaining what you need to know about vintage Japanese charging systems and how to improve them, and Race Tech Suspension’s vintage suspension guru Matt Wiley, who will discuss the ins and outs of vintage motorcycle suspensions and how to improve them.
Racer and builder Colin Seeley is this year’s Grand Marshal.
The Motorcycle Classics Sunday Morning Ride, sponsored by our good friends at Hagerty Motorcycle Insurance, also returns. The ride leaves our tent at 10 a.m., Sunday, and will take us on a fun, 35-mile run through the surrounding backcountry, including Alabama’s “Mini-Dragon,” a reference to North Carolina’s famous Tail of the Dragon.
Racers will take to Barber’s 2.3-mile track in AHRMA’s National Historic Cup Roadrace Series, with vintage motocross, observed and cross country races happening in the surrounding fields and woods. The American Motor Drome Company’s Wall of Death returns, as does the Globe of Death, and look for the Ace Corner at Turn 17, where you’ll find a show within the show featuring café racers and custom builds. There will also be a Monster Energy Stunt Show, and KTM and BMW will host demo rides in Lot D.
Finally, Bonhams will host its first-ever auction at the Barber Motorsports Museum on Saturday. The featured lot for the auction is the second-ever Vincent Black Lightning, engine No. F10AB/1C/1648. Built in 1949 for NSU factory racer Hans Stärkle, the Vincent was converted to road trim in 1952, but is now in its original factory racing form. No word yet on how many bikes will be offered, but given Bonhams’ reputation for rare and significant motorcycles you can bet it will be an interesting sale.
We say this every year, and we mean it: If you can make only one event in 2018, this is the one. For more scheduling information and event updates visit barbermuseum.org and MotorcycleClassics.com/2018-Shows