Report on the Barber Vintage Festival

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Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
TSR

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival

16 pictures

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
TSR

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It’s a warm southern morning at the Barber Motorsports Museum, the world’s largest two-wheeler exhibition. A cloudless blue sky spans a spacious, park-like area in Birmingham.

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
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No matter how old, no matter whether machines from the USA, Europe or Japan: They are real races!

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
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Welcome: Triumph Trident-Racer by Dick Mann in the museum entrance.

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
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Worth a visit alone: ​​During the three-day festival, the museum’s restoration workshop opens its doors and experts hold seminars.

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
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Lived patriotism can be found everywhere.

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
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Grayed in honor. Rodi Beno (66) has a Norton Enduro and two Manx with him. Many US boys are into European classics. Cosmopolitan.

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Nothing is given away for free. At the AHRMA races, guests are quickly gassed up.

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Out and about on the Rudge Multi 500 from 1913.

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
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A meeting of the generations. In the race for machines that are at least 100 years old (!), The Rudge Multi 500 from 1913 took a respectable third place.

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
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Racing driver joy in the Barber Motorsport Park – the name says it all.

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
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It’s bizarre in the USA. As with this Norton single in the modern landing gear, garnished with aircraft parts.

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Okay, with machines up to 200 cubic meters, the Honda CB 160/200 riders have a lot of time to enjoy on the straights.

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The routing of the private racing track.

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There is a lot going on in various classes on the private racing slope.

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View of the racetrack.

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Scattered across the site: monumental sculptures from the Barber Collection.

Sports & scene

Motorsport

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival

Report on the Barber Vintage Festival
Art, culture and passion

Content of

Art, culture and passion around two wheels come together at the annual Barber Vintage Festival at the world’s largest motorcycle museum. Quirky machines, over 60,000 visitors, a huge, sometimes very patriotic program and wonderful classic races characterize the three-day event.

Thomas Schmieder

01/14/2014

It is the second Saturday in October 2013. A cloudless blue sky spans a spacious, park-like area in Birmingham. Not in England, but in Alabama, USA. It’s a warm southern morning at the Barber Motorsports Museum, the world’s largest two-wheeler exhibition. George Barber, rich dairy owner and ex-Porsche racing driver, fulfilled his dream: “To look at the history of the motorcycle from a global perspective.”.

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And once a year at the Vintage Festival it becomes the epicenter of the US classic scene. With races on the magnificent, 3.7-kilometer racetrack. Your fluid, ingeniously designed curve course in the middle of green forests inspires. There are also technology seminars, a look into the otherwise inaccessible museum workshop, special exhibitions, classic trials and motocross, auctions, flea markets and much more. A program of superlatives. Visitors from all 50 states of the USA make a pilgrimage to the Mecca of the motorcycle.

Half past eight, the festival opens with the “Swap Meet”, barter and parts trade. The flea market around two wheels offers knick-knacks and clothing, advertising posters and art prints. What can it be, spare parts or motorcycles? Champion spark plugs, Harley air filters from the 1940s or true-to-original exhaust systems? Saxon Heidenau tires, from $ 60 each, enjoy cult status in America. In the middle of America, there are not only US bikes, but also Vespa scooters from Italy or turbine Hondas from Japan: neat CX 500 and 650 Turbo are for sale.

More motorcycle meetings in the MOTORRAD calendar

Bring time and speak English


Report on the Barber Vintage Festival


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Welcome: Triumph Trident-Racer by Dick Mann in the museum entrance.

You have to have the time and should be able to speak English. Open-minded and sociable Americans always speak to you actively when you just look: “How are you?” The very relaxed US boys like to hold long conversations with the “German”. Praise the ingenious basic construction of the BMW two-valve boxer or rave about a Zundapp KS 600 combination. The people are remarkably friendly. Like Rick at the “R3 Racing” booth from Wisconsin up north. He tells of a short motorcycle season and long winters with snowmobiles instead of two-wheelers.

Rick can speak a little German, was with the Army in Stuttgart for four years; his wife comes from Bremerhaven. He has a CB 350 Four “for sale”. For 1600 dollars, around 1200 euros, it seems to be worth a sin. Okay, open four-in-four exhaust system, seat bench and handlebars of the pure racing machine are self-made creations. But she’s got something, little red one. Lighting and missing original parts would be available. Rick proudly throws the roaring four-cylinder with the small piston, demonstrates fine throttle response and stable idling. Not bad.

Stroll further, continue to be amazed. The paddock of the racetrack, which is extremely well-tended like a golf course, is laid out like a terrace. Engines are roaring everywhere. It roars and rattles, stamps and shakes in every nook and corner. 750 participants in various classes unwind an AHRMA racing weekend: The American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association has almost 4,000 members. Quite a few of them are here, racing on types from before 1940 to superbikes from the late 80s à la Ducati 888 and Yamaha FZ 750 in national racing series.

The races of the AHRMA


Report on the Barber Vintage Festival


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Nothing is given away for free. At the AHRMA races, guests are quickly gassed up.

The racing amazon Wendy Newton spent hours tinkering with her Ducati, a 350 cc road racing machine with a vertical shaft. Vain. A hole in the piston of the single cylinder indicates incorrect ignition timing or a too lean mixture. It took the 48-year-old Californian almost a week to travel with a trailer, from the Pacific to Alabama. Everything for the cat? No, a fellow racer from AHRMA lends her his Honda “Ascot” 500 without further ado. Germans know her as the FT 500.

The ugly, loyal duckling with radial single has many fans in the USA. Why, reveals one owner: “I paid $ 1,000 for the motorcycle, another $ 1,000 for better brakes and suspension elements and drove 127 races with it.” The “Lost Boyz” are bold. Bob explains: “We hang out together, have a lot of fun and try not to grow up.” Well, Bob is in his 40s. So almost as old as his Honda CB 160 from 1966. It has a 175 twin, tuning connecting rod, other pistons and lighter valves, made heat-resistant with an oil cooler. Good specimens would have around 20 hp. These bonsai bikes are particularly colorful. A Millers beer can serves as a collecting container for the crankcase ventilation, and there is a peace sign emblazoned on the tank lid. Bob is pleased with how “laid-back and social” everything is, how easy the mini Hondas are to “understand and maintain”. They start spectacularly in Le Mans style. In the race, the not always petite drivers have a lot of time on the straights.

In a class of their own: Historic Harleys and Indians, ex-board trackers from the 30s to 50s, riot on the track, re-dealing with what was once a dispute. Gel (i) ebbed rivalry. Your drivers are enthusiastic and take the races seriously. Doc Batsleer from Florida has been racing on Indian since 1979/80. The 69-year-old brought along seven motorcycles, all of them technically good, but visually with an honest patina. And with starting number 35. Motorcycles of all kinds, ages and conditions of preservation stand next to each other in the paddock and on the huge parking lots.

Gold Wing with fuel pump, compressor, six-piston brakes

Rare: An Indian 841. Its cylinders protrude to the left and right, the crankshaft lies lengthways. The cardan machine was once in military service, for testing in the army. Next door, a destroyed AJS single is parked next to V2 and V4 athletes from Buell and Aprilia, triumphs from Meriden, Hinckley and Thailand are united. Gold wings with pendants are not uncommon. Have you ever seen a Motus MST-R with a V4 engine live? There are three here, home game for the machines from Alabama.

Randall Washington from Randakk’s pimped a Gold Wing 1000 with a fuel pump, compressor, six-piston brakes and many tuning parts. Even more unusual: the “Alligator” motorcycle with the lowest possible seat and footrests far forward – a recumbent bike with a 650cc Honda single. Dan Gurney built 36 of them, two are parked in front of the museum entrance. A matter of honor: Another copy is in the exhibition. This accumulation of well-groomed follies! This also includes the more or less aesthetic sculptures in different places in the park, up to motorcycle-devouring ants.

12 o’clock, high noon. Lunch break. A huge US flag is hoisted. The American national anthem sounds from loudspeakers, intoned live by a singer with a great voice. Everyone pauses and holds their heart with their right hand. “God bless America.” The inflatable church (!) In the outdoor area fits in with this. Then comes the absolute highlight: the “Century Race” for machines that are at least 100 years old. The around a dozen drivers take it with humor. One of them brings an artificial skeleton to the pre-start, appropriate for the occasion.

A rolling museum

This really is a rolling museum. To name just the most important Methusalems: a 1906 Griffon twin, a 1909 single cylinder from Excelsior, 1911 singles from Indian and Triumph, an Abbington King Dick and a Flanders, both from 1912, as well as a Dixie Flyer Special and a Rudge Multi from 1913. The latter finishes third and is the star of the Reters Restorations company. The 499 cubic single looks like the first day, with an 85 mm bore and 88 millimeter stroke, it should deliver 7.5 hp at 2000 tours.

Later there are five black 500 rudges from the 1930s together. Such a massage is so impressive that George Barber himself stopped by. This is reported by David Sproule from Canada, one of the drivers proudly. Then the Rudge expert Ingo Reters and his two sons Stan and Peter join them. The Reters ‘come from Dusseldorf and emigrated to Canada in 1980. Peter (21) drives a motorcycle here that is more than three times his age. Odd: Rodi Beno (66), with a gray beard like leather. He moves and waits for three Nortons: two Manx 500 and a real curiosity, a 750 parallel twin from the P 11 in a real enduro chassis. With long suspension travel, spoked wheels and 21-inch wheels at the front. Also wrapped in red and yellow plastic parts. Rodi bought the P 11 new in 1967 and has raced road and enduro ever since. More than 100 in 2013 alone! Anything but everyday: a Penton enduro, stylishly with twin shocks, green tank and Sachs two-stroke engine.

Nice: a 68 BSA Lightning in good condition. Here you get more on a weekend than usual in a whole season. Don’t miss: skydivers and air show. Worth seeing: Steep wall artists on their decades-old Indian. Wrong: In the “Globe of Death” the crossers circle around each other as if there were no gravity. It’s like a festival with buckets of popcorn. Better to go to the pub, to the Ace Cafe à la London. A free tram service – open trailers with benches behind pick-up trucks – brings onlookers from attraction to attraction. The Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club (VJMC) not only takes care of historic machines from the four remaining brands, Nippons, but also motorcycles from Fuji, Tohatsu, Marusho / Lilac, Rikuo, Hodaka and Bridgestone. Advice and assistance for exotic Japanese, whose tongue twister names are so unforgettable.

Replica of Hildebrand & Admire Wolfmuller


Report on the Barber Vintage Festival


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Worth a visit alone: ​​During the three-day festival, the museum’s restoration workshop opens its doors and experts hold seminars.

Next stop: the museum. The replica of Hildebrand & Wolfmuller admire and the Flying Merkel – a seven-horsepower twin from Ohio, built in 1913. The technical seminars are demanding. The course instructors provide assistance, reveal tricks and tips on everything to do with restoration, engine overhaul, contemporary performance enhancement or corrosion protection. Quickly over to the motorcycle auction again. Fancy pieces are waiting.

Like the Indian Camelback from 1905 with a 2.25 HP single-cylinder engine and a humped camel hump tank over the rear wheel. It ends up under the hammer for $ 54,000. Plus ten percent commission for the auctioneer. Bargain? A 1978 Triumph Bonneville, State 3, for only $ 2,500. A 1997 Ducati from the world-famous Australian tuner Vee Two hardly seems too expensive for $ 5,400. And the 1999 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide for 4600 euros even sounds like a good deal. You could almost get weak there. But transport and customs would then be major hurdles…

The atmosphere is reminiscent of the world’s largest motorcycle auctions in Las Vegas. The museum, which has been open for ten hours, closes at 6 p.m. and the previously overcrowded parking spaces are emptied again. It smells like BBQ in the paddock. Drivers of all ages discuss the ideal line (s), overtaking actions and engines. Cicadas chirp loudly like in summer. Someone talks about Friday evening, about “motorcycles by moonlight”. The Barber Museum was open until ten o’clock. But only for the guests of the gala dinner for 150 dollars.

There was good food for that. Plus interesting insights into the life and work of motorcycle designers Miguel Galluzzi and Pierre Terblanche. Sir Alan Cathcart, world-famous motor journalist, interviewed the creators of Ducati Monster and 999. On Saturday again, Alan will drive a BMW Formula 750. Charm and a colorful mix characterize the Barber Vintage Festival. On Sundays the ranks thin out early: 60,000 motorcycle people, often interesting, still have long ways to go.

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