AMA Superbike Races in Birmingham, AL
This past weekend I attended the AMA Superbike races at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL. On my way there on Friday I stopped by Kennesaw Mountain National Military Park, site of a Civil War battle, just northwest of Atlanta. There isn't much historical to see, but there are around 16 miles of trails; I hiked the one-mile trail to the top of the mountain; it was a pretty strenuous hike, at about a 10-20 degree incline most of the way. The view from the top was pretty incredible; you can see Atlanta to the right in the first photo:
While gearing up to leave I had a pleasant conversation with a gentleman from Cleveland who is retired from the Air Force and rides a Goldwing and a V-Strom 650. From Kennesaw I took back roads and meandered toward Ft. Payne, AL, where I visited Little River Canyon and Falls.
Highway 176 heading south from the falls is a scenic drive; it is very windy and offers several overlooks of the canyon. Along the way is this interesting rock formation:
Upon arriving in Birmingham I headed to my friend Bo's house, where I stayed while I was there; he's a fellow Ninja 250 rider. We had dinner at La Hacienda, a great Mexican restaurant in Pinson.
Saturday morning I headed to the track; unfortunately, Bo had guard duty that weekend and was unable to attend the races, so I was on my own, but I still had a great time. I wandered around the vendor exhibits and the paddock, checking out the race bikes. I met Earl Hayden, father of Nicky (current Moto GP champ), Tommy, and Roger Lee. I saw him in Roger's pit area, and the next thing I know, the fellow next to me yells out, "Hey Earl!" Earl came walking over, and it turns out they were buddies, so they got to talking; I just stood there and listened to them talk; I think Earl thought I was with that fellow; I got all sorts of inside scoop about Nicky and Moto GP! Before wandering off I shook his hand and introduced myself. Cool!
I watched qualifying and the races throughout the day, and then headed back home to Bo's house. We drove into downtown Birmingham and met up with Phillip, a friend and coworker of Bo's. We had an awesome dinner at Jim and Nick's Barbecue and then proceeded walk around downtown, hitting a couple of cool bars along the way. It was a really fun evening, and I really enjoyed exploring downtown.
Sunday morning I headed back to the track. Since there wasn't much going on before lunch, I rode down Highway 25, which is a really fun twisty road. Last year Bo, Tom, and I rode as far as 29 Dreams, where we had breakfast, but this time I rode it all the way down to Vincent, where it meets US231; the whole of the road is twisty and fun. I rode it back up to Leeds and to the track.
While wandering around the paddock I was able to meet Tommy Hayden and got him to sign my hat.
The Leeds police department did a highly commendable job of directing traffic out of the track; following the last race, I was on I-20 within just a few minutes and on my way home. I arrived home around 10pm. What a great weekend! The weather was absolutely perfect, the racing was great, visiting with Bo and Phillip was a lot of fun, and I ate some great food! Couldn't have been finer!
All the photos I took can be found here.