Saturday, October 15, 2011

Barber Motorsports, Vintage Fest 2011: Part 1

Much like the amount of things to do, places to visit, cycles to see at Barber Vintage Festival, in Birmingham Alabama, there are just too many photos and stories to cram into one blog entry. To keep things simple, and to keep my sanity, I've broken it up into thee parts.

Part one is my arrival to Barbers 7th annual extravaganza - focussing mainly on the Racing and the action in the paddock area where I spent most of the weekend with John and Michael Lawless (Team 20/20). John was campaigning his 1961 DOHC Norton Manx in what had to have been the largest gathering of Manx's at a race since the 60's European Grand Prix days. A boat load (quite literally) of Manx's (both original Nortons, and the newer McIntosh licensed editions) were the dominant force in this years AHRMA Premier 500 class. McIntosh sponsored world champion Kevin Schwantz with a Manx to really raise the bar. It was a sight to be seen.

Anyway, keeping in my usual loose manner of writing, I arrived to Barber on Friday, October 7th around 10am. I had heard about the parks magnificent landscaping and world class facilities and everything I was expecting to see was even grander than I imagined. Sculptures adorned the perfectly manicured lawn leading up to the main entrance. Motorcycles everywhere! I hopped out of my cab and jumped onto the tram car which runs non stop around the tracks perimeter, moving spectators from one spectacle to the next. Despite seeing the AMCA swap meet, I knew I needed to unload my heavy backpack first, so off to the paddock area to meet up with the Lawless boys. From here on out, it was just a blur of non stop sensory overload. If I hadn't been taking pictures the whole time, I'd probably have forgotten many of the details of the three day adventure. So here we go: Part 1 in pictures!

Air shows on both Friday and Saturday. The planes were very low!

Just one of many beautiful scenes around the track.

Relaxing garden behind the museum. World class all the way.

In the background you can see the tower where the announcers sat.

More Aerial action

Ethanol free high octane fuel for all.

Early HRD-Vincent single cylinder (Comet)

Michael Lawless getting the Manx ready.

Some brotherly advice from Michael to John: Just go fast!

John Lawless waiting for the go ahead to get on the track.

John flying down the straightaway at a very high rate of speed.

"helmet" would've done very little.  M&M American Motor Co.

A wrench wrapped in an oily paper from 1910 came with this bike.

Marsh and Metz from Brockton Mass. Very rare!

John speaks to the owner of this original paint bike.

1930 147cc 2 stroke Monet Goyon from France. This was sold at auction.

A very nice Norton ES2 sold at auction.

Popular motor used in Formula-500 car racing. What to do with the frame?

1966 Triumph TT Special.

A fine assortment of classic race bikes.

The Matchless G50 with it's striking bronze alloy cases.

Big D's campaigned this rigid 650 Triumph. Gorgeous!

Boozefighters are one of the oldest running MC's in the country. 

Pair of 1950's Moto Guzzi Airones.

Jay Springsteens Harley. He and Schwantz raced neck and neck.

American racers.

Check out that air intake on this Honda CB (350? not sure)

The air seems to aim at the rear cam position.

Pre Manx - The Norton International w/Nobby Clark and Alex McLean.
The Girder has been updated with a hydraulic shock.
McIntosh and Norton Manx's

The McIntosh has enclosed valve springs to keep oil from spraying

The hairpin springs on the Nortons OHV's are exposed for cooling.

This McIntosh Manx was provided for Kevin Schwantz.

Kevin in the pits with his bike.

Another Beauty. Matchless G50.

Norton Comando Boardtracker with Vincent style Girder front end.

The brass resevoirs are the master cylinders for the brakes.

Matchless G50 with fairing.

This one in a rare seeley frame-  raced by renowned artist Larry Poons.

Rigid Triumph in flat tracker trim - modified for road racing.

Kevin John and Michael chatting after practice.

Norton, Matchless, Norton. Common sights at Barber.

Triumph special. T100 with trans sawed off, fitted to Norton gearbox.

4ls front drum brake. Frame maybe from a commando?

The points cover clearly shows this once was a unit engine.

John peaks into a truck full of treasures.


Tricked out Vincent Comet (single OHV) racer.

Everything on this bike has been modified but keeps an original look.

Molded seat with number plate, o-ring final drive chain = less oil spray.

Beefed up front brakes. Actual gas tank is under fiberglass "tank shell"

Updated rear suspension.

Paul d'Orleans AKA the Vintagent rides by on a Velocette.

Passing pic 1 (view from the museum)

Passing pic 2

Passing pic 3

Passing pic 4

Full Throttle down the straight away. Honda CB350.

Coming around turn 16.

IoM TT Winner Dave Roper gearing up.

Roper coming through turn 16.

1930's Rudge Speedway bike (UK's version of flat track)

J.A. Prestwich powered machine. Lightened engine plates.

Sidecar racing has made a huge comeback.

Works Engineering's Erik Green and Co. tend to their BMW.

Sidecar racers and their "Monkeys" Many of them being women!

Day one was exhausting. I stayed at a nearby hotel with John and Michael and we were all passed out by 9pm - resting up for and early rise to get back to the track! Part 2/3 coming soon, check back!