Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Dirt Quake USA - CHOPPERS!

We make no secret that the choppers get top billing at Dirt Quake, whichever side of the Atlantic it's held. The heroes with long forks and fishtail pipes didn't disappoint at Sideburn x See See x Harley-Davidson promoted Castle Rock race.

Riders from the USA and Canada took part on heavily modified Harley, Yamaha, Triumphs and some spindly, automatic deathtrap ridden by Portland legend Kenny Bobcat of Moto Galore.

Check out a full class of TWELVE chops racing at Dirt Quake V, King's Lynn, 16 July. More info at dirtquake.co.uk. G

All photos: Yve Assad
Shortly after this photo was taken Kenny did a celebratory seat bounce that sent his machine into an evil wobble and threw both his feet off the pegs onto the floor. He managed to ride it out.
The only bike the Mt St Helens MC tech inspectors had real doubts about, mainly due to the pipes. They let it through anyway. Viva Dirt Quake.
Eric had great dirt track style, even on a chopper, elbow high, hips twisted, toe out...
Hand-shifting in practice. The guy in the poncho was spotted nine hours later jumping the camp fire.
Ashley from Canada stopped off on his way back to Vancouver after a six -month road trip with his wife and baby daughter is an old van pulling an older Airstream, with an even old K-Model Harley shop on a rack on the back. He won a prize in the chopper show then raced the same bike. Class act.
Most of these photos are from practice. The final was under the floodlights. Dirt Quake USA's Chopper final came after a few very heavy crashes in other races, a couple of which needed medical attention. The Castle Rock track was perfect on Saturday night, very 'racey' and superb to race on, allowing experienced riders to push hard and really slide and spin. However, it would let the inexperienced ride up a point, lulling them into a Mert Lawwill fantasy, before catching them out if they took liberties with too much throttle, and not enough body English (read Chris Carr's  superb guide to flat track body English in Sideburn 25). 

I had a quiet word with all the chopper riders in the staging area before their final, as the paramedics gumball lights strobed the track picking up one hapless hero. I wanted to remind them that no one wanted to see them leave the track in an ambulance. I pointed out that they'd already put on a great show, and that they should enjoy themselves. After my pep talk one of the rider's wive or girlfriends appeared, semi-freaking out, telling the riders how frightened she was and, I'm paraphrasing, telling her fella not to be a dick. I think I put it better, but whatever, it was a good race and no one fell off. Result. G

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Dirt Quake USA Style Contest presented by Fox Shocks

So it's just one week since the campers started packing up and rolling out of the third edition of Dirt Quake USA and the Sideburn x See See x Harley-Davidson two-wheeled party was a success. There were a couple heavy crashes on track and a couple of morons ignoring the 5mph campsite limit (one of whom got disciplined), but considering how many races, on how many inappropriate motorcycles, how many people determined to whoop it up, how many camp fires and people haring around, and how much those Pacific North-Westerners drink, well, it was super-cool.

Part of the Dirt Quake USA mix is the style contest. It's kind of a jump contest, but judged on style, not height or distance. That means appropriate bikes, anything with more than 3in of suspension travel, get marked down. Oh, and the crowd judge it by cheering.

The contest is over the Castle Rock TT jump, it's long, few of these amateurs can clear it, anyone ballsy enough can enter and the winner walks away with a $1000 token to spend with Fox Shocks. Any guesses who was the crowd's favourite? G

Photos: Yve Assad

It's been an odd morning

It's been an odd morning. I was woken at 4.30am by my wife saying 'There's someone trying to get in the front door with a key.' It's light in the UK at 4.30 in the summer. I run downstairs and someone was still trying to get in the door. I slam on my side of it to show someone's home, but the key is still wiggling in the lock. I go in the front room, but can't see the person because our house has a porch and they're hidden within it. I bang on the bay window and shout, but the person doesn't look or seem to hear me. I rush to the back of the house, pull on my trainers, unlock the door to the garage and pick up the chrome slash-cut tailpipe I took off my Harley Sportster, then open the door to the driveway and walk up the side of the house to the front door unseen. The guy is still trying to unlock our front door, but I'm behind him. I grab him by the shoulder and pull him away hard, shouting 'What the f*ck are you doing?'

He tells me he's made a mistake, and seems to want to talk to me. I'm not in the mood. I push him out of the front garden and tell him to eff off and get walking. He doesn't want to. I repeat myself. Get going! He still wants to talk, He asks what my problem is. F*** off! Now he's says he's going to ring the police. He's spent five minutes trying to unlock my front door at 4.30 on a Sunday morning and he's going to ring the police. I tell him I'm waiting. It seems like the exchange goes on for five minutes, but it's probably less. I'm in the middle of the street now, in pyjama bottoms and trainers, with a rusty exhaust pipe in my hand. I can smell the booze on the other guy. Everything is in my favour. I'm not big, but I now realise I'm bigger than him, I'm also angrier, more sober and armed with a heavy piece of metal. I'm not a fighter, but I'm more ready now than I've ever been in my life to get into a fight. Still even at this point I'm sensible enough to know I want to avoid it and any consequences, so I bare my teeth and show him my front two are missing, perhaps letting his pickled brain conjure up how I lost them and come up with something bare knuckle-related. Eventually he walks off shouting at his piss-stained shoes.

I go back in the house, get dressed then walk back out looking for him, to find out where he lives and to make sure he doesn't have any ideas about walking back putting a brick through the window. I see him walking back up the street. I stand behind a parked van so I can watch him, but he can't see me. He's swearing to himself. As he nears our house he gets louder and swears at the house, but keeps walking, so I follow him.

He walks maybe half-a-mile, weaving from side to side as he walks, then turns left. I jog to catch up, turn the corner and see him leaning with his forehead against a large tree at the side of the road. I walk up and put a hand on his clammy shoulder. It takes a second for his addled brain to work out who it is, because I'm no longer naked from the waist up or carrying a large piece of metal.

'What the f*** do you want?' he wonders, then starts apologising, I put my arms behind my back to show I'm ready to listen. He asks if I accept his apology. I say I do and tell him I'm also sorry, I was angry because he'd scared my wife. He tells me he's from Portugal, he's lived here nearly ten years, he loves England, his name is Riccardo and he voted to leave the EU because it's a failed experiment. He also tells me where he lives. I check when I get home. He lives 0.8 miles from our house, in a semi-detached house on a narrow cul-de-sac. Ours is detached on a two-way wide road.

Like I said, it's been an odd morning. G

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Lima Half-Mile

Get over to Fanschoice.tv to watch one of the most exciting races on the AMA Pro calendar. This year the Lima Half-Mile is being promoted by Jared and Nichole Mees, that means they've put up the money to make this race happen. And, I think, it's a sell-out.
Mees is in blistering form, he'll take some beating. If Brad Baker's factory Harley can actually finish a race, he's a good bet too. G

Psychomania


Dave Bevan delivers another superb essay on a less-than-superb movie. In Sideburn 24 he discussed Stone, for Sideburn 25 he had turned his attention to British B-movie, Psychotronic.
Acquaint yourself with this biker/amphibian/occult Seventies schlock by buying Sideburn 25 for just £6 plus post. G

Friday, 24 June 2016

Dirt Quake USA sticker packs

We have some Dirt Quake USA sticker packs designed by the most excellent Toria Jaymes of Stay Outside Studio.
5 vinyl stickers in a custom made package.
£4 plus postage.

Check out this sticker pack and others at patch, badge and sticker department of sideburn.bigcartel.com

El Rollo Report

This post is now over two weeks late for a variety of reasons, one being that I inadvertently deleted it after nearly finishing it. The other being Dirt Quake USA, new magazine, book to write, Greenfield TT to race...

Anyway, A couple of weeks ago the excellent Wheels and Waves festival of stylish motorcycling took place in Biarritz. Every year the event has developed, introducing the Punks Peak hillclimb a few years ago, the Village dealer area and, for 2016, Vincent and the Southsiders wanted to introduce a flat track race. They contacted Sideburn to help make it happen.

The Wheels and Waves organisers employed Spanish motorsports promo company, Fly Group, to create the track and staff the event. Fly Group are more used to running international MX events and spectacles like Red Bull X Fighters, but both agreed they wanted some grassroots dirt track involvement and expertise and that's where Sideburn came in.

Wheels and Waves has expanded from a 2-3-day event into one that runs from Wednesday to Sunday.  The El Rollo flat track race was set to open the event on Wednesday. I arrived in Biarritz on Tuesday evening. It was the first time I'd been back to Wheels and Waves since 2013 and there seemed to be more bikes in town on this Tuesday night than at the height of the 2013 event. It really has grown massively. That growth has led to the organisers using venues all over the basque region. This year more happened in Northern Spain than in Biarritz.

The El Rollo race was held on a brand new track formed within the middle of a mile-long horse track at San Sebastien's Hippodromo. On a good run the track was just 40 minutes on the autoroute from the centre of Biarritz, but the motorway often gets chewed up with lorries stuck in the toll booths and at the border. I had been loaned a fire-breathing BMW S1000XR for the couple of days I was in town. This is the unholy alliance of S1000RR superbike engine and R1200GS ergonomics. Wicked machine. I met up with UK DTRA regular Frank Chatokhine, his mate Treust and the Bike Shed's Ross Sharp who were all racing. I followed their van and we were the second racers to arrive at the track, shortly after 8am.

There were slightly too many cooks with Fly, various Southsiders and Sideburn all trying to make the right decisions and sometimes standing on each others toes, unintentionally, but for a first event, on a track that didn't exist two weeks previously, it went pretty smoothly. The classes could have been organised a little better, but the Southsiders had specific ideas on that and it was a fun race. Riders came from all over the world and seemed to enjoy themselves. Everyone deemed it a success and it was good to be a part of it.
Early arrivals - Cristian from Yamaha, Ale from Deus Milano and Jason from Leicester. Jason's tasty TR6C.
 Neat Yam 500
 And another
Thor from See See was a guest of Harley-Davidson. He rode the gorgeous Shaw H-D Mert Lawwill replica harder than anyone should be able to.
Tasty Trackmaster Triumph had just been imported from the US.
 BMW beast
 El Solitario's girder fork Zaeta.
 Sideburn 21 cover bike, Olivier's 1949 WR racer.
 Roland Sands was over racing one of his Indian hooligan bikes. Read all about them in Sideburn 24.
 Jason, ready to race. He was second vintage race bike in the combined race bike final.
 Hugo from Blitz and Treust.
 Road legal XR750 from Italy - Wild Hogs/ Holy Freedom team.
 Yamaha Faster Sons promo girl. Notice the Sideburn logo on her shirt arm.
 Jacopo Monti on the New Brutalist KTM 690 Duke we featured in Sideburn 21
 The setting was glorious. The weather baking hot.
 I got to race Go from Bratstyle in the Faster Sons Yamaha race.
Marco Belli race this Yamaha XSR700 twin. He and Thor had a hell of a race, Marco just edged it. Here Marco is getting a man hug from an emotional Jason.
 Good bikes, great people, fine times. Thanks Wheels and Waves. G