Tuesday, 22 July 2014

When Thor Went to Elma

Last weekend, the GNC series visited Gray's Harbor, Washington for a half-mile race. Our good friend and fellow Dirt Quake USA organiser, Thor Drake of See See Motorcycles went along...

I packed up the ol’ Purple Hog with the bare escentals; tent, sleeping bag and Polaroid camera. No plan in place, just a destination, 130 miles north of Portland to Grays Harbor Racetrack in Elma, Washington for the half-mile AMA GNC dirt track race. My little lady was on a separate trip with her family, coincidentally on the way. I met Tori in a logger bar about halfway to Elma. I roll up on my old leaky Harley, she jumps out of a car, we both load up on the Harley and hit the road. I wonder if this made any sense to the bar keep? 

The sun was shining and was about 85 degrees out, almost perfect conditions for a nice little jaunt up the coast. Leaving the house I had some sense to pack a leather coat knowing full well that in the Pacific North West the weather can change at a moment's notice. Exactly what it did about 20 miles away from the track. In an almost comedic way a black cloud wrapped its arms around the general vicinity of Grays Harbor, living up to its name apparently?!

As we made our way up the hill a slow mist coated us in a chilly blanket. Tori and I arrived at the turn off to the track, I saw some familiar faces headed the other direction. This does not bode well, I think to myself. Still holding on to some lick of hope we pulled into the parking lot. A guy in a golf cart rolled up and said, “Race cancelled.” Just to be sure, as though it was some surprise, I asked again. You mean to tell me the race is cancelled? “Yup” 
Tori and I set up camp in the field next to the track. We cracked a cold one and strolled over to say Hi to group of old timers, Some you may recognise.
They told us it was going to be dry in the morning and with any luck they will be racing by 1:30. 
We woke up at the crack of 10 the next morning to the sound of the intercom followed by some unmistakable V-twin engines. A quick “pack em up” and we purchased our $35 general admission tickets. We watched some practice, the Pro Singles and the Big Twins bouncing around the banked corners. Sammy Halbert #7 throwing down the fastest lap. 

A brief intermission gave me a chance to stop by the pits and say Hi to Brad Baker and Sammy. For whatever dumb reason I alway get super nervous in the pits, and this time was no exception. I was stumbling for words and spilling my drink all over myself while trying to take pictures. 

The races started promptly at 1:30 The first race was the Pro Singles. Jarod Vanderkooi yaking the win. Behind him local nice guy, Davis Fisher, in 3rd. Ryan Wells. Davis always gets a little nervous when he has to talk on the intercom. Poor guy choked up pretty good but rode one hell of a great race.

The main event for the Pro Twins followed. Sammy was in pole position and jumped out to an early lead. Pacing the pack for the first half of the race. He was caught about mid-race by both Bryan Smith and Jared Mees. Smith led the race for the next 6 or so laps and was passed right at the end by Jared Mees. Sammy and Brad scrapped for 4th and 5th. The top riders all aboard the HD XR750s, with exception of Bryan on his Crosley Kawasaki. Man, I love flat track racing. 
Tori and I jumped back on the hog and split southbound for a warm shower and a home-cooked meal.
Thor Drake, Portland, 21 July 2014

Monday, 21 July 2014

Serge Nuques: Dirt Quake Hero

A French rider arrived at Dirt Quake, perhaps late-40s but with the physique of a gymnast. He took everything in on Friday night, then reappeared on Saturday in a huge overcoat, pink furry legwarmers and riding a brand new Yamaha SR400.
Anyway, he rode like a demon, rodeoing round, playing with some very good riders, and won his class - Inappropriate Road Bike - in style. This is how he arrived for the podium (photo: Dael Poulter)

During the day it clicked, Serge Nuques is the racer I'd seen in loads of French magazines, racing an R1, dressed as a knight. 

When I arrived home, I went searching for photos. These are just some I found, plus the video. Dimitri Coste knew of him and said he arrives at prestigious Enduro events on old DT175s and smokes everyone. Anyway, he had a lot of fun and we loved having him there.

'In France, I am the only one who dresses like thees,' he explained to me. 'Ere, lots of people dress like this. It ees fantastique!'
 No, he didn't crash...

Below is Serge riding on ice. NOTE: 258km is exactly 160mph.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Bolt - This week

This is going on at one of our stockists, Bolt London, this Saturday. This is what they promise...

There will be photography from Merry Michau and Richard James, new painted helmets from a range of artists, an exhibition and the europeon exclusive showcase of La Rocka, motorcycles from Volts and the launch of new bolt jewellery and apparel. 

The event will run from 2pm till 12, and we have a bar that bucks against london's extortionate pub prices, a bbq from creative curators of taste Platterform - and some very special guest djs on the turntables. it will be a lot of fun. 

Please find the flyer attached and also an instagram version. If you are able to circulate this on your social media that would be greatly appreciated - i want this to be a road block!

Dirt Quake III: All in the details...

Except for the pie setting on fire, that all went according to plan.
Great bikes, people, music, weather (except for a little shower that did the track a lot of good in the long run), Colin Furze and his jet bike, wildest podium celebrations ever seen, pork scratching catapult, milk chug...

Thanks to the DTRA and all our helpers on the day who included; the Wigan crew, the Lincoln lot; the DTRa racers who stayed and marshalled...

Thanks to the sponsors...

Bike Social - the biking social network
Krazy Horse - custom cycles, cafe and apparel
Davida - British-made helmets
Racefit - Fine titanium exhausts, hard parts and custom builds
Biltwell - hard parts and helmets
Influx - High quality online motoring magazine
Triumph - Fine motorcycles
Zaeta Motorcycles - exclusive street trackers
Redmax Speedshop - Street tracker and cafe racer parts
Muff Customs - Cafe and bikes builders
Mr Porky - Pork Scratchings!

And, obviously, the racers and spectators.

Caption: Guy Martin, in 1991 Doohan Suzuka 8-hour replica leathers,  celebrates winning the Dash for Mash on his Krazy Horse Sportster by picking out a sausage from the crown of Smash. Meanwhile, Davros, Dirt Quake's feckless commentator, is distracted by a seagull.

Photo: Geoff Co-Built

Friday, 18 July 2014

Riders Ready?

We almost have enough riders to start our own Elsinore.
Dirt Quake III tomorrow!

If you're looking for last minute info - go to Dirt Quake FAQs. We're not answering emails. BP

Thursday, 17 July 2014

24 Hours in Castle Rock

This gentle, indie-inflected film was made by someone who happened upon Dirt Quake USA last month. The filmmaker, Shelby Manzel, says this...

'I don't have a motorcycle or ride a motorcycle, but I spent 24 hours in Castle Rock and it was great. Thank you to all the people I had a beer with and talked to, and the people who got everyone together. I am gonna go to the Nationals and check that shit out due to the great fantastic time I had. Castle Rock is a glimmering outpost of good times, no rules, and happy people ripping around on dirt bikes.'

Do we need to remind you Dirt Quake starts tomorrow? Didn't think so. G

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Oh To Be 6

To have one's life revolve around skateboards, Darth Vader and collecting football cards. What bliss. BP

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

#59 Nick Ashley

A huge cross-section of people race in the DTRA: different ages, backgrounds, occupations and goals. Farmers race against painters and decorators; engineers battle with tilers. Builders, photographers, car salesmen, carpenters, film set designers, airline pilots, mechanics and, in Nick Ashley, menswear designers are all DTRA members...

I bought some of Nick Ashley clobber when he had his own label more than ten years ago, then got to know him through Sideburn (Ben knew him before that). Now Nick is head of design for an upmarket menswear label called Private White V.C. that is almost unique in making all its products in the UK.

Nick has always raced and ridden. He's competed in desert rallyes and enduros and now, also, competes in the vintage class on a Cheney Triumph.

There's an amusing interview with Nick here. With some of the highlights being...

The factory in Manchester was there at the start of the industry, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. The whole of the Manchester ship canal – from Liverpool to Manchester – was built for the industry, but it’s all gone apart from this. I dream of getting a ship into Manchester, filling it with product and sailing it to China – and selling a whole load of clothes there. Then I can die a happy man. Out of the mill, out of the factory and even take the voyage – smoking Capstan Full Strength and drinking rum all the way!

We had interest from the UK and wrote a few orders. Britain is a small place and, as I say, people spend all their money on houses and education. If you compare it even to Italy, there’s a vast difference. People dress beautifully, eat beautifully and have loads of sex. That’s their priority in life. Their economy is knackered, but they’re having a great time. Let’s all move to Italy!

Photos by Daniel Beres

Monday, 14 July 2014

GNC Flat Track in the Pacific North West

We know Dirt Quake USA turned on a lot of people to the joys of dirt track in the Pacific North West. Now's your chance to see how it's really done. This weekend, the GNC rolls into Grays Harbor Raceway, Elma, Washington. This from the official press release...

For the first time in over 30 years AMA Pro Grand National Twins make their return to the Great Northwest! You can expect to see multiple brands on the track including Kawasaki, Suzuki, KTM, Triumph, Aprillia, Ducati, and of course Harley-Davidson! In the 450cc Pro Singles Class you will add Yamaha and Honda to that list.

2013 AMA Pro Flat Track National Champion, Brad Baker, hails from Dryad, Wash. and looks to take the win in his home state. Baker says, "It would be amazing to win this race! I grew up not very far from Elma and won my first ever West Coast National Championship on a 50 there. So the track has a special place in my heart. It's just going to be super cool to race there, whether I win or lose." You can bet that Sammy Halbert is looking for that win in his home state just as much as Baker. Halbert, from Graham, explains, "I'm excited to race my Harley at a National in my home state for the first time ever. It'd be amazing to pull off the win in front of my family and friends. That's exactly what I need right now to get my season rolling."

More info at www.amaproracing.com