When you think of Alabama and race cars Talladega will likely come to mind, but one of the finest tracks in the country for road racing is right there in Leeds, AL.
About seven years ago I drove out here and visited the Barber museum and was blown away. Once again I am so impressed by the museum, the grounds, and the track. It was fantastic when I first visited and has only gotten better. Now there is a Hampton Inn just a stones throw from the entrance. It is excellent in accommodations and very reasonable in its rates.
This weekend it was full of folks that had come for the Porsche Club HPDE weekend. Talk about eye candy. Many models and generations were represented.
There was a GT3 that could put out 800 hp. I’m sure that made for some exciting track time for the owner.
I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with the folks that were there to enjoy the track and its facilities. It was designed to challenge motorcycles so it is an even more technical challenge for cars to negotiate at speed.
Here are some shots of the participants:
I was also there to revisit the museum so I took some time to do that. The museum building is welcoming from the outside and spectacular on the inside where you have five floors of exhibits to enjoy.
Here is a view from the museum entrance looking back on the long entry road.
Once inside you can easily be distracted by the motorcycles on display and forget the advice you received from the person that sold you your ticket. But it is good advice – start on the top floor and walk your way down.
The elevator is built to accommodate something as big as a car and as a matter of fact there is a race car on top of the elevator car.
When you step out the glass walls looking out on the race track are right in front of you as well as a plethora of motorcycles. Even if you are not an aficionado of two-wheelers you cannot help but appreciate the ones on display.
You might have heard of the automobile brand Pierce-Arrow. Well here is the Pierce-Arrow “Vibration-less Motorcycle” of 1910.
This beauty is the Britten. A small, but creative New Zealand team of engineers designed and built this winner in 1995. The Britten won the British, European, and American Racing Series (BEARS) in 1995. Alas the chief engineer and lead designer, John Britten died later that year. This is one of the ten built.
Here is a 1931 Indian model 403 that was operated by the Los Angeles Police Department:
This is just a taste of what is shown on the top floor and here are some more photos:
Meanwhile the track was busy with cars…
There were more floors to explore:
This is the 2012 Wheelsurf Monowheel. The original design goes back to France in 1869, this latest version is from the Netherlands and will go about 25 mph.
Still more action back on the track…
Its not all about motorcycles either. Here is the Dino Ferrari:
And the Surtees F1 car:
There is an extensive exhibit on Lotus cars that come from the very first Lotus cars onward:
And still more motorcycles…
The bottom floor is rarely open to visitors, but the view is amazing…
It was time to leave the museum…
…and head over to where the Porsche Club was having their HPDE.