October 2022 Barber VintageFest!

in 2022 Articles

Wow, where to begin? I’ll simply start with… this was the coolest thing I’ve done in years! I think the best way to tell this story is to give a brief rundown of the trip followed by individual rider comments, then “let the pictures do the talking”.

So here goes… Last spring, Dan, Dave, Larry and Mel decided to make this trip and purchased two camping plots (20’ x 20’ ea) and three-day passes to attend what has to be the best vintage motorcycle festival in the country. They left early on a beautiful fall Friday for Barber Motorsports in Leeds, AL (just outside of Birmingham). Upon arriving, they quickly set up tents and dining fly in the rapidly-filling camping area before touring the expansive “vendor swap meet” area which is combination of parts, projects and bike sales. Breakfasts were prepared in camp allowing them to get a jump on the day, lunches were around the venue, and dinners were off property in Leeds – Rusty’s BBQ gets eight thumbs up from this group!

  • Camp
  • Janus Retro
  • Breakfast
  • Beetle Bike
  • Greeves 250
  • Wall of Death
  • Monkey Bike 350
  • Nimbus 4 Cyl
  • Barber Woodstock
  • Camping
  • Getting Ready
  • Vendor Area
  • Lady Barber
  • Unicycle Lads
  • Globe of Death

This event has everything… huge swap meet, judged bike shows, manufacturer booths (incl demo rides), full vintage racing schedule (incl accessible pit areas to easily converse with riders as they wrench on their rides), vintage Trials competitions in the surrounding woods, and even carnival-style attractions (e.g. “bikes in a globe” and the vertical “wall of death”). All set on an beautiful, expansive property of grassy, rolling hills – and with a shuttle running every few minutes to ease your walking. Over their three days, they took every bit in.

Larry’s take… I’d previously heard some “horror stories” years ago that the camping was disorganized and rowdy, the port-a-potties “unmentionable”, and the food and shuttles lacking, etc. However, the Barber crew have truly “perfected their craft” and now put on an impressively-organized, first-rate event. I had never experienced so many vintage motorcycles, both on show and in use by the many-thousand attendees, in one place in my life – it was like Woodstock for motorcyclists! A living, breathing, rolling vintage experience. I’ll have to go back!

  • Monkey Larry
  • Old Bull
  • Pit Avenue
  • Go Faster Stripes
  • Manx Racers

Dan’s take… This was my first return to the Barber Vintage Festival in 7 years and I was very pleased to now be sharing the experience with three additional mates from the club. Improvements in the logistics for the event were great and getting into the park was a breeze. As usual the array of beautifully restored, original condition and ragtag vintage motorcycles (some complete, some not so much) around the event was stunning. The competition events both on track and on dirt were superb and with so much entertainment leaving Sunday always seems to be cutting the trip short.

  • Del Boy
  • 56 Triumph TRW
  • Velocette MSS
  • BSA Victor 441
  • Vespa GS
  • Vincent HRD
  • Triumph Trident
  • Fixer Upper
  • Identity Crisis
  • Nearly Came Home

Dave’s take… The Barber Vintage Festival is an amazing event. I've been to the Barber Museum a couple of times, and this was my first time at the Vintage Festival. It far exceeded expectations. Our two campsites were flat enough, and most of the neighbors were agreeable (exceptions were snoring from next site over and a Corvette that left at 2AM).
There was no need to visit the museum, as it was a rolling motorcycle show and museum. Every bike imaginable rode past, from 50cc scooters to Rockets, to 100 year old models to the latest modern classics. We all came home with something we acquired for our rides.  A highlight for me was the 'Wall of Death'. A family story is that my Uncle Cuthbert McDonald rode a big Indian back in the 30's and would ride the wall at fairs. That was one of his many road trip stories.  I look forward to a return trip, maybe next time going Thursday to take in the things we missed, like demo rides.

  • Honda 750 Four
  • Yamaha XS 650
  • Honda 750 Four
  • Yamaha RD 350
  • Honda CB 200
  • Honda CBX 1000
  • Honda Rickman
  • Kawasaki 500 H1F
  • Suzuki GT 750
  • Kawasaki 500 H1

Mel’s take… This was my first trip to the Barber Vintage Festival. My first impression was to say "this is big, really big". Motorcycles in any direction you can see and every imaginable age, make, and model. Arriving you notice the buzz in the air, and it sets the tone for the event. This was not only the all-day Friday racing time trials for start positions, but also the competition races all-day Saturday and then Sunday morning. Then there were literally thousands of visiting riders for the 3-days that parked and lined all the venues, making for more bikes in one place than this guy has ever seen.

  • Ossa MAR
  • Go OSSA
  • Montessa
  • OSSA

Venues included the Paddock where we met the racers and saw race bikes close-up. Then the Off-Road Trials with vintage Montessas, Triumphs, BSAs, and even an Ossa that were crawling over rocks and roots. The Vintage bike Swap Meet did not disappoint and proved to be a good investment of time early upon arrival. Yes, there were bikes calling our names to be taken home!

Camping worked well with our site grouping and allowed us to enjoy a comfortable morning breakfast and evening wind downs recounting what we had seen thru the day. Overall, the trip provided a variety of experiences in one location. Returning to this event will be an easy decision to add to the schedule.