Saturday, 22 October 2016

John Harrison: The Early Years, pt2

As we explained ahead of part one of John Harrison's look back at his early biking years, his attitude and style caught our eye at DTRA races, so we invited him to share his thoughts on the blog. We're glad we did, and here's his latest instalment.

I was really lucky when I turned 16, because I coerced my mum into getting me what I reckoned was the best moped of the lot, a Fantic Caballero. She wasn't best pleased when my O level results came through a while later, though.
It was a proper little trail bike. High-level pipe with a natty heat shield, knobblies, enduro-style pouch on the tank, satin black with Italian stripes and raised, polished guards. Most of the lads went for FS1-Es or the rather more sluggish four-stroke Honda SS50, but me and my mate (who got me onto bikes with his BSA Beagle) both had Caballeros and never had trouble outrunning the other mopeds. The rings went at 3000 miles and it blew tail light bulbs weekly, but that was worth living with. We rode them down to Cornwall for a week's holiday and I thought nothing of riding 50 miles each way to visit my girlfriend every weekend. Great off road, too. My ride to work took in some green lanes so it saw plenty of trail action.

At 17 I traded it in on an RD250C Yamaha, but I couldn't keep up with the repayments and had to let it go after nine months or so. Still, I had it for the fabulous summer of '76. A lovely, good-quality bike. I've liked Yamahas ever since.

Pics of the RD and Caballero from the internet, they're not my bikes.
A little later I bought a clapped out 250 Bultaco Sherpa and rebuilt it. I had the frame nickel plated and replaced all the knackered bits.
But, much as I love trials I'm no good at it and trials bikes are not much use for daily transport. So I bought a DT250 that had been stripped down and used as a common basher. Luckily, the road equipment had been kept so I put it back on and it was a fun road bike, really rideable. I'd love it now to convert for DTRA racing.
This is the only picture I've got of it, peeping out from behind a project that inevitably never got finished. A friend and I went halves on the Capri,  which was going to be a high-steppin' gasser with a straight-tube front axle. We got as far as the chassis and bulkhead work seen here, and bought a flip front and a (supposedly) hot small-block Chevy before running out of steam. JH 104R

Friday, 21 October 2016

Worms To Catch

Long-term Sideburn supporter and regular columnist, Guy Martin has a new autobiographical book, Worms To Catch, out this week.

Wait a minute, you're thinking. Didn't he have an autobiography out a couple of years ago and a follow-up called When You Dead, You Dead?

Well yes, but Guy lives life four times quicker than everyone else and these autobiographies are long-form diaries of one of the most interesting, daredevil, hardcore lives being lived anywhere in the world. This one includes the behind-the-scenes stories of the Wall of Death record, Land Speed record attempts, Transit van at the Silver State Classic, the 2400-mile Tour Divide mountain bike race, Dirt Quake and much more.

The books are available at all good book shops, online and some British supermarkets are doing deals on them.

Not only that. The cover of this soon to be bestseller was shot by Sam Christmas and taken from the Sideburn 26 shoot of Guy's Rob North wall of death bike. Buy Sideburn 26, then buy Worms To Catch.

Guy's own Guy Martin Proper website is selling an exclusive version of Worms To Catch that is personally signed by the rider and had a cover illustrated by Ryan Quickfall. G

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Jason's CB750

Our old mate Jason is selling this wonderful CB750. It has the best of everything (with the exception of the tyres...). Yoshimura pipe, Mikuni/Yoshimura TMJ carbs, Fontana front drum brake, finishing by Old Empire. It's a stunner.
Price £14,000.
Email us at dirt @ if you're interested.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Flat Out Friday: The Bikes

I flew out to Flat Out Friday in Milwaukee, earlier this month. The race was debuted on the Friday before the Mama Tried Custom show in February this year. A crowd of 7000 turned up to the inaugural event making it bigger than many AMA Pro National races. The organisers were buoyed by the success and decided to organise another race, in October, not tied into the show.

It was a risk, but there was a massive entry, hometown company Harley-Davidson partnered the event and livestreamed it online, through their facebook, with Dirt Quake racer Chris Wiggins and US mover/shaker Leticia Cline anchoring the very professional looking coverage.

With no show in town, the crowd was down on the Mama Tried weekend, but there was still a strong 3000 or so locals, which is nearly double what the US Superprestigio attracted in Las Vegas 11 months before.

The track was a tight syrup track, concrete with sticky, sugary syrup from Dr Pepper sprayed and left to go dry. It was just big enough for good racing even on heavyweight bikes.

Above is one of the organisers bikes, Scott from Fuel Cafe's Harley WL45, hopped up by JRs Cycle Products. It lacked some ground clearance on the tight track and he went down in a shower of sparks. He wasn't the only one to crash due to decking out.
There was a huge field of hooligans, the regular Californians came out en masse, but were joined by plenty of mid-westerners. The Noise Cycles team had three riders.
While The Speed Merchant team brought from out from So Cal.
This fella, one of the Fealy family, rode his Trackmaster twin so hard to win the vintage class. It was a joy to watch.
There was a strong and eclectic brakeless class, with a bunch of Aermacchi Harleys battling with older heavier WL45s and Ducati bevel singles.
 This old boy on a BSA single looked the business, and raced even though he had trouble walking!
 One of a couple of neat Bevel singles. This one is brakeless and rigid. 
 So is this one!
There was a boonie bike class that was great entertainment. Not all of them looked this
One of five or six mint Astros that entered. 

Thanks to the Mikes at Harley-Davidson and Scott and Beth for all the hospitality.

Wisconsin really loves flat track. G

Sunday, 16 October 2016

I never knew they came in boxes

Brand new Rotax ATK 600 motor in box on UK eBay.
Thanks to Ross for the tip-off. Bit expensive for me... G

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Santa Rosa Mile now on Fanschoice

Last month's Santa Rosa Mile was unforgettable for a number of reasons, good and bad. We've covered the bad, now the good. This race was something special. 25 miles of incredible skill, tension and groundbreaking performance.
It marks the beginning of Indian era.
Click Santa Rosa Mile 2016 to watch it, and you really should. G

Friday, 14 October 2016

Icon Trick or Street

We don't really do Halloween in the UK, it's a very half-arsed affair, but the Americans do.

This design is limited to 1000 and cost $260 (in the US). I've never worn an Airmada, but I've raced in an Airframe Pro all year and like it a lot. G

Revival Show

The next show Sideburn is attending is the Revival Show put on by the good folks at Down and Out Cafe Racers. It's on 29-30th October in Rotherham, Yorkshire.

We'll have some great bikes, good tunes and special deals on merch. Come along and support this new show.

For more info go to G

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Dunlop Commit to American Flat Track

The bones of a press release from American Flat Track...

AMA Pro Racing and Dunlop Motorcycle Tires are excited to announce a renewed, multi-year partnership with the recently-rebranded American Flat Track series. Dunlop will hold the exclusive category rights as Official Motorcycle Tire Supplier for the series and will extend their support into the marketing, competition and broadcast efforts over the next three years. 

 'Dunlop has more than proven their dedication to motorcycle sport over the years, and we are proud to expand our partnership with them,' said Michael Lock, CEO of AMA Pro Racing. 'Starting in 2017, Dunlop will put more money into the paddock by substantially increase their contingency. This shows just how much they care about the paddock and how serious they are about joining us as partners as we build a bright new future for the sport.'

Starting in 2017, Dunlop will increase their per-race contingency payout to riders by nearly 300% and will pay contingency in both the AFT Twins and AFT Singles classes. At select rounds for the AFT Twins class, the tire manufacturer will begin to offer two rear tire options, giving each rider the opportunity to select their preferred compound.

Photo: Chris Hinkle/ AFT

Contingency - this is a fancy name for prize money. I spoke to Michael Lock at length recently, for an interview in the next Sideburn, and he says contingency is good for everyone. If Honda put in a load, for the GNC2 class, then other manufacturers are obliged to do the same. I'm not sure I see it that way, but Lock is far better informed than me.
The Dunlop contingency is different, because it is guaranteed. Honda might not win, but Dunlop will. G

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Dirt Quake V by Motor Rausch

See more of the German photographer's Dirt Quake V album. Thanks for the great photos, Motor Rausch.

(above) Sideburn 26 cover bike, El Solitario's Pluto, and Sideburn blog contributor, Hubert 'Marge' Bastie.
Lovely Dimitri on his way to win the W&W Harley class on the gorgeous Shaw's Mert Lawwill Sportster
 Michael Herman's Kawasaki stroker
 Don't forget to get our questions in for the next instalment of Ask Guy
 Dirt Quake virgin, Carl Fogarty
 Sideburn ed remembering to put keep his elbow up
Blog contributor, John Harrison
Richard Rowden and Drogo Michie, plus one of the Greenfield Girls, on DTRA Friday.
 The Stags' Conway Castle, letting his hair down
 Happy punters
 The Brinkmobile
Hubert v David El Solitario