On the weekend of October 5th, the 13th Annual Barber Vintage Festival welcomed fans from all over the world to its iconic track in Birmingham, Alabama. Among the crowd of almost 100,000 were Damian, Marcelo and the MotoDoffo crew. Damian, who came ready to race, shares with us his experience at the Barber Vintage Festival and how it felt to ride on the famous pavement.
Last we left off, Damian managed to finish in the top 5 on his underdog Honda CB 175cc! Now the final race of the day approaches. Will the Doffos make it to the podium??
Our last race of the day was the CB160 race. Shawn and I had fixed the problem with the CB160 racer and all we could do was hope that it held together for the four-lap shoot-out that is the CB160 Race. The start of the race is done Le Mans style, which means the bikes are parked on one side of the track with the engine off and the rider is on the other side of the track opposite their machine. When the green flag is thrown, the riders must run to their bike and push the bike unassisted to bump start the motor. Given that the race is a vintage series and many of the riders are also vintage, I typically have a bit of an advantage. My father was in position 7 and I was in 8th. We lined up across from our bikes and I could hear my heartbeat in my helmet as we anticipated the green flag. The flagman started to wave his arm and I broke into a hard sprint towards my bike. One, two, three hard shoves and throw a leg over the seat, pop the clutch and nothing! I frantically begin waddling and popped the clutch again trying to get the motor to come to life. After what seemed like an eternity, the motor came to life, I gave her full throttle and barreled down towards turn one. A couple of passes and a few turns later the field began to settle down and the shoot-out was on!
I had a racelong battle with Joe Koury, a vintage Honda authority and an excellent racer. We battled back and forth for the last podium position lap after lap. Joe made a brave move on the brakes into Charlotte’s Web, and as we charged towards the Museum Corner I was just trying to match his pace. We drag-raced down the back straight towards the Alabama Rollercoaster corner. Up and over the blind crest I was right on his rear tire with only 3 corners left. As we approached the last two corners I knew it was now or never. I carried a little bit more speed in the penultimate right turn, and as he swooped to his right to set up for the final left turn I saw my opportunity and dove underneath him. We blasted out of the last corner and it was a white knuckle drag race to the finish line! I beat him by only 0.4 seconds!
I am lucky the GoPro is mounted so far away from my helmet because it would have captured the screams of joy as I toured the Barber track for my final time that weekend. My father had a racelong battle as well and finished inside the top 10 in 9th position. I was honored to share the podium with two very fast racers, one being the current National Champion and the other a previous National Champion.
After the excitement of the race wore off, the threat of Hurricane Nate became a reality as the day wore on. The clouds began to get heavy and the humidity level continued to climb. AHRMA and Barber officials made the right call to suspend all racing for Sunday. It was a shame to not be able to race one more day, but nonetheless we had an amazing three days of racing as father and son and that’s all one can ask for!
To see all of the action right from the racecourse, take a look at Damian’s GoPro footage that captured all of the excitement! Until next time, ride safe everyone! Ciao!