Big attendance in our little state

And no I'm not just talking about the 92,000+ that turned out for the A-day game in Tuscaloosa to see their first glimpses of Nick Saban.

I'm talking about the crowds that seemed to be showing up in record numbers at the Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Superbike Classic. I'll be curious to see what the official attendance figures for Saturday were, but it certainly seemed more crowded than the previous years I attended (although I was unable to go last year.)

I don't own a motorcycle. I don't plan to ever own a motorcycle. But this three-day event is a blast and combines the best of the tailgating world with the twist of a different type of crowd gathering to watch a completely different form of sport. I realize it's not for everybody, but I really enjoy it. And I'm proud to have such a world-class facility so close to home.

I know Barber (and a lot of people) would love to eventually land a MotoGP event here. MotoGP is basically the Formula 1 of motorbike racing with only one track in the U.S. (Laguna Seca in California) good enough to host a MotoGP in the last 13 years - and they've only been able to land that since 2005. If Birmingham could eventually land a MotoGP event that would be a major coup. And it sounds like we have a high enough caliber track to get it. Barber and (particularly) our local politicians just need to get on the same page first. For the time being though, adding a World Superbike competition (not just American Superbike) looks more attainable.

And then of course there's the little matter of 150,000+ people that will be out in full force at Talladega next weekend. I've yet to attend one of these events, but I really would like to go at some point. I'm just hoping the offer from a certain family member (who's a Budweiser distributor in MT and occasionally has access to Budweiser's facilities at Talladega) still stands. If I've got to go, I might as well go in style. :)

And as long as I'm on the subject, there's plans to develop a major racing facility somewhere in the Mobile/Baldwin-county area. While the main oval track would be significantly smaller than the superspeedway at Talladega they are also planning to put in a major road course (as well as several other racing and entertainment facilities.) Add this to Talladega and Barber and that's not too shabby for our little state.


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