For baseball followers, it’s Fenway Park. For golfers, Pebble Seaside. However in case you’re a fan of classic bikes, the Barber Motorsports Museum is your mecca—and the Barber Classic Competition is the occasion of the 12 months.
The 18th working of the competition was no exception. Hosted on the 880-acre grounds of the Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Alabama, and introduced by BMW Motorrad USA, the 2023 Barber Classic Competition was three days of classic motorbike bliss.
Fanatics began arriving on Friday morning—and by the top of the present on Sunday night an estimated 85,000 attendees had handed by means of the venue.
The Barber Museum homes greater than 1,600 bikes over 5 flooring, however for the Classic Competition, the moto goodness spills over onto the encircling grounds. This 12 months’s highlights included a BMW fan zone with a ride-in bike present, open to any BMW that rode in by itself energy.
Revival Cycles hosted it, providing a spot of their Handbuilt Present to one of the best BMW in every class. The combo was fairly eclectic, starting from a BMW R1200GS with a sidecar to an R90S café racer, full with lovely silver and gold leaf accents.
Elsewhere Vahna Journal and Triumph curated a group of 20 customized and basic Triumphs on the ‘Isle of Triumph.’ Guests may scan a QR code to vote for his or her favourite bike; my vote went to the mint One in all a Thousand-made 1977 Jubilee Version Triumph Bonneville 750.
If that left you impressed, you could possibly wander over to the swap meet space, which boasted over 500 distributors from throughout america.
Whereas some festival-goers have been in search of that elusive half to complete a venture, others have been shopping only for the sake of curiosity. And in case you have been and not using a venture, there have been loads of collectors who have been trying to promote partially-built and full bikes too.
The swap meet generated such a buzz, that the social media was brimming with attendees making an attempt to attach with sellers after the occasion.
Whereas the camp areas and parking heaps are usually not formally a part of the present, it pays to stroll round along with your eyes open. Barber’s Classic Competition boasts a few of the widest choices of any motorbike present I’ve been to. From extremely personalized mini bikes to a tenting space devoted completely to classic Nortons, there’s one thing for everybody.
It’s greater than only a huge conglomeration of basic bikes although. Attendees to the competition who have been trying to advance their information may additionally soak up quite a lot of seminars. Matters ranged from ‘Superbike: An Illustrated Early Historical past’ hosted by Kevin Cameron, John Owens, and Matthew Miles, to old-school pin-striping with Michael Swain.
For these in search of just a little extra pleasure, the American Historic Racing Motorbike Affiliation was on website with its classic race collection. The weekend noticed 600 riders throughout 40-plus classes take to Barber’s 2.38-mile [3.83 km], 17-turn highway course.
These fortunate sufficient to stroll by means of the paddock have been handled to all kinds of bikes. From fashionable liter sportbikes, to classic Ducatis, BMWs, and Nortons that show that classic iron nonetheless has a lot to supply.
There was additionally a ‘Proving Floor’ demo space, the place marques like BMW, Ryvid, Indian, and KTM had literal truckloads value of bikes to test-ride. Most of the demo rides have been booked effectively prematurely and one may simply spend a whole day testing the latest choices.
Should you’re contemplating attending the Classic Competition subsequent 12 months, journey is simple. The Barber Museum is 15 miles from the Birmingham airport and two hours from Atlanta, Georgia, making it straightforward to get to. Barber does an important job with scalable occasion costs too; attendance begins at $35 a day (with out admission to the museum), and youngsters beneath the age of 15 get in without spending a dime, guaranteeing the following era of gearheads.
On-site tenting is on the market for an extra payment for many who prefer to be near the motion, however there are additionally quite a lot of lodges in Birmingham, simply 25 minutes away.
My greatest remorse was not giving myself sufficient time to take all of it in. I may simply have spent three days within the museum alone—however with the competition combined in, I may have stretched that to per week. Should you contemplate your self a fan of classic bikes, go forward and add the Barber Museum and its Classic Competition to your listing of must-attend occasions.
With due to BMW Motorrad USA | Photographs by Tom Gosselin