Four Locals Win Feature Bike Races

Pictured left to right: Jerry Duke/1967 Ducati 350, Tom Longshore/1976 Honda MR 250, Terry Wright/1974 Suzuki TS 185, Tanner Ellett/1973 Kawasaki F11, Chris Henson/Technician and enthusiast.  

BIRMINGHAM – Barber Motorsports Park and Museum in Birmingham has hosted the Barber Vintage Festival for 16 consecutive years.  It is one of the largest vintage motorcycle festivals in the United States taking place this year October 8-10.   Over 50,000 fans attended this year’s event that featured racing, swap meets with hundreds of vendors, live concerts, bike shows, and numerous other attractions.   The massive museum on site is home to 

over 1,600 historic motorcycles from 200 manufacturers.

This year four riders from the Shoals area entered the classic bike races during the event, and each placed first in his respective class.

Jerry Duke began working on his 1967 Ducati 350 almost seven years ago. He has been competing in American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA ) races for the last five years.  Jerry won his race.

Chris Henson, a technician and vintage motorcycle enthusiast at Longshore Cycle Center, encouraged Tom Longshore to purchase a 1976 Honda MR 250 in 2017.  Chris and Tom worked many hours to fully restore the bike, painstakingly going over every part on the motorcycle.  Tom won his race. 

In 2018 Chris Henson talked his coworker, Tanner Ellett, into restoring a 1973 Kawasaki F11.  Chris had found the bike several years earlier and agreed to give it to Tanner so he could restore it. After a couple of years of on-and-off work, the bike was race-ready.  So was Tanner.

Terry Wright, a frequent customer of Longshore Cycle Center, became interested in racing vintage bikes as well.  In October 2020, Chris Henson discovered a 1974 Suzuki TS 185 that had been laying on its side for years in a yard near Russellville.   When Chris found the Suzuki, he called Terry who had owned the same model 50 years earlier.   Terry was excited with the find and thoroughly restored each component, bringing it back to life.   Terry rode to victory as well.

The off-road competitors found this year’s races to be especially challenging after the four inches of rain the property received right before the event.  Jerry Duke won his road course event against an extremely talented field of racers. 

And just think, all four of those bikes were headed for the scrap pile just a few years ago.

Congratulations to each of these men for working together and capitalizing on such an amazing once-in-a lifetime opportunity.