2019 Barber Vintage Festival In Photos

The popular racing weekend through Nick Ienatsch’s eyes.

As we drove Bouncing Betty the motorhome from Philadelphia to Birmingham for the final 2019 AHRMA race, Brian Smith asked me who I was looking forward to seeing the most. Impossible question to answer! A huge part of AHRMA’s pull is the social aspect of hanging out with a bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts: racers, riders, tuners, builders, track crew, and fans. It’s an all-motorcycle world and Barber’s Vintage Fest is heaven to those of us in love with two-wheeled motorized transport so the only answer Brian and I came up with was, “everybody.”

This installment is done through the lens, aimed at not just your entertainment and enlightenment, but to fuel that motorcycle love.

Brian Smith worked overtime to get Bouncing Betty, his ex-Halestorm motorhome, ready for the trip from Philadelphia to Barber. She saved this record-setting-hot weekend—the air-conditioner ran full time.Nick Ienatsch
If racing a vintage bike is great, transporting that vintage bike in a vintage hauler is out of this world! This is Chad Pecchi’s ride for his 1986 FZ750 Next Gen Superbike.Nick Ienatsch
Due to my AIMExpo schedule, I couldn’t get into Philly until the night before our departure, but by that time Brian had collected the Speedwerks’ NSR250 and it was tightly secured in the trailer and his wife Karyn had stocked the motorhome for us. It sure is great to have capable friends!Nick Ienatsch
I’ve raced out of the back of a pickup, and I’ve raced out of Brian’s motorhome. The motorhome is better! Especially when Mr. Smith gets going in the kitchen. Both Brian and I had back-to-back races late in the day, mounting our bikes with temperatures in the high 90s with humidity to match, so we took special pains with our diets and liquid intake. Thanks Karyn Smith for the healthy food!Nick Ienatsch
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I saw a major oil spill on the hill leading to tech inspection! Better to have it in the paddock on the way to tech than out on the course. Let’s guess this bike failed tech?Nick Ienatsch
“Hey, what’s that knocking sound?” We wondered about it for the first 500 miles in Betty and then discovered the right front shock absorber had popped out of its lower mount. Some careful airjacking and tool use put it right. Sometimes just getting to the track is a challenge.Nick Ienatsch
AHRMA Barber has a pro race with $10,000 on the line, and it always attracts some extreme talent, AHRMA’s own “alien” class in and among us amateur mortals. Scott Russell rolled in from Atlanta to ride a Boulder Motor Sports Pierobon to a tight second place behind Geoff May on his EBR, followed home by Steve Rapp. Lap times were Superbike quick and would have put May or Russell close to the top five of MotoAmerica. Scott is seen here with Tom Wilbert who put his own Boulder Motor Sports Pierobon on the top step of the Sound of Thunder 2 podium; Wilbert will wear the number one plate in that class next year, as well as in Formula Thunder.Nick Ienatsch
“Hmmm…that header pipe might rub,” Motocourse’s Chris Boy mused when he saw the new custom pipe on my friend Brian Smith’s Ducati Paul Smart Replica. Well, Genius Boy was right…in the heat of battle as Brian was making a pass around the outside of Turn Two, the pipe lifted his front Pirelli slick and washed him into the gravel. “You had been sparking the whole race,” competitors told him after. Titanium makes a pretty show.Nick Ienatsch
Brian Smith (left) and Bill Brown traded podium steps on the weekend, making it an all-Ducati-powered show in Battle of the Twins 2 since Mark Reynolds won both days. Motocorse built Brian’s Duc while Boulder Motorsports prepped Bill’s Peirobon. Many younger riders finished behind them. At AHRMA, racing makes friends.Nick Ienatsch
Also noteworthy was Saturday’s second-place Brad Coleman on his well-prepped and quickly ridden Ducati. Speedwerks’ Honda grabbed third- and second-place trophies at Barber and was a joy to ride.Etech
The 1990 Honda NSR250 street-based bike in Supersport trim fits neatly into AHRMA’s new Next Gen Lightweight Superbike class that has a fascinating variety of motorcycles. We eked out two wins at NJMP a few months ago and were relatively close to Randy Sullinger on his Yamaha FZR400 (181x) at Barber. But we never truly challenged him for the win on Saturday or Sunday. Randy and I are the same age, 58. Tucked in behind us on Sunday was Andrew Mauk on his Honda 500 Interceptor.Etech
Looking for a fun project? Build an AHRMA bike! I’ll file a full report soon, but here’s a glimpse of the front end for a Next Gen Superbike Yamaha FZ750 that’s on the work bench. Louis Ferrari and I are re-loving [Brad Dirnberger’s FZ750 Superbike] (https://www.cycleworld.com/13-years-waiting-yamaha-fz750-superbike-nick-ienatsch-tuesday/) with world-class help from guys like Ben Fox (who machined the brake and wheel necessities), Chris Geiter, and Bryce Prince who are doing our engine work. Louis has crew-chiefed Prince for the last two years and is an impressive car and bike builder in his own right. Good rider too. We hope to split riding duties on this “BDR 110%” Brad Dirnberger Replica (fans said Brad rides at 110%).Nick Ienatsch
With the loss of AHRMA kingpin Cindy Cowell, the association had to find its footing after her death. Great people have stepped into the gap and nobody expected it to be easy. Cindy was a powerhouse of knowledge, psychology, and problem-solving. The new AHRMA group is working to improve registration, tech inspection, sponsorship packages, racer communication (sponsor meeting seen here)…improving efficiency without losing the family atmosphere we all love. The main point I noticed: Everybody involved has the same goal of providing a safe, efficient, and fun place to race motorcycles on the dirt or asphalt. That means constant improvement, and constant improvement is always at the heart of success.Nick Ienatsch
Bob Robbins (taking picture) is a whirl of motorcycle activity, sponsoring kids, helping Michael Barnes, and racing in a wide variety of AHRMA classes while displaying his Britten in the paddock and on the track. Robbins brought in Mark Reynolds to race Barney’s MotoAmerica-winning Ducati monster and Reynolds beat Brian Smith and Bill Brown both days.Nick Ienatsch
Beautifully done two-strokes were all over Barber, this RD400 as an example.Nick Ienatsch
If I ever get too cocky and sassy, just show me this picture, and I’ll be immediately grounded. File this under “Racing isn’t always pretty.”Nick Ienatsch
One very cool thing to do is attend the Barber Vintage Festival with one or more of the vintage bikes you’ve got stashed in the garage…like this exquisite ELR. Racing is fun, but being a spectator at this wonderful weekend is a no-miss experience.Nick Ienatsch
The three trophies we earned on Sunday weren’t as cool as the Yeti bottles we won on Saturday, but we placed them carefully so when Betty went over a bump they would clang together and remind us of the terrific time we had at Barber. Longtime readers will know I’m a big fan of celebrations. Don’t go through all this trouble and hassle and expense and effort and risk without remembering to celebrate the good times on two wheels!Nick Ienatsch

More next Tuesday!