Author Topic: Barber Vintage Festival  (Read 156 times)

Offline Chris

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Barber Vintage Festival
« on: October 09, 2017, 01:47:33 pm »


Ian and put our bikes on the trailer and loaded the truck up with canopies and lawn chairs to head for the 13th Barber Vintage Festival near Birmingham.  Since I had heard that Wes Cooley, AMA Superbike Champ in '79 and '80 would be the Grand Marshal for the event I had to take my old Suzuki GS1000S "Wes Cooley Replica" to the event.  As it turned out, that was a lucky decision. 

If you haven't been to the Vintage Fest it's huge and well worth the trip.  The swap meet covers about 10 acres and is worth the trip all by itself.  There's also AHRMA vintage bike races and everyone is welcome to wander through the pits and chat with the racers.  There are also seminars on motorcycle riding and restoration subjects where some of the leading experts in the world will happily share their knowledge.  One example of that was a presentation and seminar on wire wheels by Kenny Buchanan from Buchanan Spokes, the country's leading wire wheel shop.  The various old bike clubs all have meets and shows during the festival and a must see for Ian and me is the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club (VJMC) event.  This year they were hosting a Bike Show and contest featuring members bikes as well as a party afterwards.

We arrived at the racetrack at 0900 on Saturday and we expected bad weather from the leading fringes of Nate.  As it turned out we got a little sprinkle of rain but no real soaking all day.  After unloading the bikes we rode to the Swap Meet first.  It took us about 3 hours to make our way through it and while I didn't see any bits and pieces I needed there were a lot of promising bikes for sale this year.  Also, a lot of people post "for sale" signs on the bikes they ride to the event and so it's rather like going to the coolest motorcycle yard sale you can imagine.  There were some good buys there as well as the occasional wild eyed optimist.  After picking a few odds and ends at the Swap Meet we headed over to the vendor area near the Museum.  The Vendor Area section featured displays by Triumph and Motus along with the Motorcycle Classics show featuring Norton Commandos this year.  Boy, that new sports model Motus is impressive!  (and pretty darn loud talking through its Akropovic exhaust system!)

After a break for drinks we rode over to the VJMC event and I took the opportunity to rejoin the club.  We then walked around judging the bike show which was a "people's choice" sort of thing.  That took a lot longer and was harder than I would have guessed.  So many cool bikes...which to choose?  After turning in our judging sheets we were told to be back at 1600 for the award ceremony and door prizes.  Door prizes?  Turned out we were eligible for door prizes since we each had taken the time to turn in a judging form.  Since we had an hour and a half till the awards we headed for the pits to wander and ended up talking Suzuki GS1000 with a team that was racing one.  They seemed interested to hear we were sitting on a bunch of parts.  :)  I understood their interest in parts since their GS Thou was missing half its cam cover after the chain tensioner let go.  I asked how many ponies they were getting out of the old GS and they said they were getting about 125hp.  No wonder reliability is starting to suffer!  That's quite a bump from the stock 77hp it started life with.  After chatting for quite a bit and exploring we headed back to the VJMC folks.  After all, there were door prizes! 

While sitting in the VJMC pavilion waiting for things to start Ian spotted a "guy in a black shirt" and asked me if it was Wes Cooley.  I was looking at the wrong black shirt and said no but he was right, Wes Cooley had shown up to hand out the awards for the show.  We watched and applauded as the many various trophies were handed out and and checked our tickets numbers for the door prizes.  (Ian won...I didn't)  Finally, as the ceremony concluded Ian made a beeline for Wes Cooley who was chatting with some folks.  IAn asked if it would be possible to get a photo with his dad's bike?  Cooley was all for it and chatted with us as we walked over to my old Suzy.  Wes was as friendly and accessible as it's possible to imagine and pretty quickly it was just two old motorcyclists talking about the old days.  He talked a little about why he walked away from motorcycling so completely after his big crash in the mid 80s and I could completely understand.  To love doing something and then not be able to do it...well, it made perfect sense to me that a good choice in that situation might be to just walk away.  We also chatted about how he's suddenly busy going to events after retiring from his nursing career and how unexpected it all has been to be welcomed back so warmly.  I had to smile at his surprise and genuine modesty.  I assured him that the acclaim was well deserved.  Ian took the snap and it's a cool thing to have.  But I think I treasure the small opportunity to chat with and get a real sense of who Wes Cooley is more.  I always admired Cooley's achievements on the track.  But having met him, even briefly, I now appreciate the man.

And with that, it was over for the day, and, unfortunately, for the year as the weather forecast for Sunday was full of dire predictions of what tropical storm Nate would do to Birmingham on Sunday.  The event organizers made the only possible call and cancelled Sundays activities.  So our three day event got whittled down to a one day event...but it was a really really good day.

Here's some photos:

Bikes for sale outside the swap meet.





Swap meet.







Unusual Gold Wing near the vendor area


Vendor area




A very custom old CB175 in the vendor area


The VJMC show









Meeting Wes Cooley


« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 06:05:12 pm by Chris »
CHRIS
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1978 GS1000C / 1979 GS1000S / 1981 CM400C / 1986 RG500 GAMMA / 1988 R100RS / 1991 K100RS / 1997 GSF1200 BANDIT

Offline Luvmystar

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Re: Barber Vintage Festival
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 08:00:26 pm »
 :D
Marc

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Offline Deuce

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Re: Barber Vintage Festival
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 06:26:32 pm »
That looks like it was an excellent trip.
2006 VTX1300C 205/70/15 Hydroedge rear tire, Leatherlyke Bags, Batwing, Cobra floor boards, Vance & Hines pipes, LEDGlow, Pair Mod, Kuryakin Hypercharger Pro, Mustang seat, Cobra passing lights, Cobra Case Gaurds, 3" Fork extensions, 1800C Shocks, Cobra Tach, Custom Risers, Custom Kickstand, and a  WOLO Badboy Horn.

Offline Chris

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Re: Barber Vintage Festival
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2017, 09:47:14 pm »
That looks like it was an excellent trip.

It really was.  Maybe we should make a group road trip next time.  That would be a lot of fun.
CHRIS
________________________

CURRENT BIKES

1978 GS1000C / 1979 GS1000S / 1981 CM400C / 1986 RG500 GAMMA / 1988 R100RS / 1991 K100RS / 1997 GSF1200 BANDIT