Sideburn 36

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フ ラ ッ ト ト ラ ッ ク #36 £7



Sideburn is published four times a year by Inman Ink Ltd

Buddy Custom Cycles’ 150cc Trackmaster tribute, read more from p32

Editor: Gary Inman Deputy editor: Mick Phillips Art editor: Kar Lee Entertainments officer: Dave Skooter Farm Poet/Test rider: Travis Newbold For advertising/commercial enquiries please email: sideburnmag@gmail.com ©2019 Sideburn magazine ISSN 2040-8927 None of this magazine can be reproduced without publisher’s consent

sideburnmag@gmail.com Sideburn 36 was created in the first two months of 2019, the magazine’s 12th year of existence. It was made with the help of this relatively small, but hugely enthustiastic bunch of talented folk: Dimitri Coste; Jon Wallace; Briar Bauman; Oliver Brindley; Taaron and George at Roeder Racing; the Okie Dokie organisers and racers; Ryo T; the Have Fun!! crew; Takashi Urashima; Tom at ForkCo; all at Mooneyes Japan; Kyle Archer; David Death Spray; Scott Rounds; Ryan Quickfall; Thor Drake; Todd Marella; Doug Stewart; Mat Oxley; Larry at NYMC; Ian Ellenwood; Colt Wrangler; Pete Stansfield; Reshad and all at Vintage Rides; the fine people of Sri Lanka; Dave Bevan; Tom J Newell; Joel Lardner; Brink, Bonzorro, Geoff, Leftie, Julian and the rest of the HRCS/Okie Dokie tourists; John at Braking Point Images; Carl CFM; Lenny Schuurmans; the Mablethorpe Sand Racing Club; and our incredibly loyal and wonderful advertisers. Please support those who support the scene.

Dimitri Coste

Cover 1: Cheetah by Dimitri Coste Cover 2: Cheetah Savanna by Kar Lee

SIDEBURN 37 will be published in May 2019. To subscribe go to sideburn.bigcartel.com

@sideburnmag

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PARTS AND ACCESSORIES FOR HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTORCYCLES SINCE 1979

A BIKER’S WORK IS NEVER DONE

Pick of the month SuperTrapp XR Style 2-2 Exhaust Systems Get it at wwag.com


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FLAMIN’ GROOVY

25 years with a Trackmaster Ducati

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MONSTER

Boulevard bike turned into an ADV animal

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EAST MEETS WEST

... goes left. Cover story of wild bikes from Japan

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EVEL INSPIRATION

How a failed jump led to a successful approach to life

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OKIE DOKIE RACE Illustration: Joel Lardner

Reportage from Japan’s biggest ever flat track race

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FERNIHOUGH The ripping yarn of a 1930s record breaker

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PART CAVEMAN

See See’s Indian FTR 1200 hooligan

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ALL ELECTRIC, NO BULL

Colt Wrangler’s battery-powered street tracker

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96

Confessions of a modern rag and bone man

The editor exploring Sri Lanka on an Enfield 350. Jealousy included

PETE STANSFIELD

LUSH

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BACKFLASH IN BLACK AND GREY Dutch tattoo back story

Regulars

16 Interview: Briar Bauman 22 Get Schooled: How to work the outlaw race circuit 106 Project Bike: Honda sand racer 108 Racewear: Todd Marella 111 Sideburn merchandise 112 Death Spray Inspiration 114 Trophy Queen

sideburn #36

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’ n i m Fla 25 YEARS

50r0ts

s ta

ONE DROPPED VALVE

Groovy four paintjobs

One owner TRACKMASTER

DUCATI Words Doug Stewart Photos Jon Wallace

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GREW UP in Stockton, Kansas, which has one of the oldest half-mile dirt tracks in the USA, at the Rooks County Fairgrounds. My dad had us up in the stands when I was just two or three years old, watching the flat track motorcycle races. I started riding motorcycles when I was very young and picked up my first race bike when I was 17. I raced it locally at a few of the half-miles and TT tracks for a couple of years until college and work got in the way. All the tracks that I raced at back then were less than 100 miles from home, so it was easy to find a track to ride on. I started racing on a Suzuki 125 and then moved up to a Yamaha 250. I finally made it on to a 750 twin after a 15-year break. I had always wanted to ride a big twin flat tracker on the half-miles and did that when I jumped back into the sport. I picked up a 750 Triumph in a Trackmaster frame in 1989 and started racing the VDTRA circuit full time in 1990. I raced that bike right through to the 1994 season until I pretty much destroyed it in a bad crash at Stockton, the track I first watched at as a little boy, in August '94. It was in fall of the same year, while I was healing up after the crash, that I started building this Ducati. My brother, Ryan, had tracked down Reno Leoni in Lodi, NJ. We got this legendary Ducati tuner/builder to build us two very strong motors that came out of Ducati 860 GT street bikes. Ryan sent his motor out to Ray Hensley at Trackmaster in California and Ray built two custom frames just for these engines. These were the only two of these frames until two years ago when I had Trackmaster, by then under new ownership, copy my frame so a friend of mine in Switzerland could build an 860 GT street tracker over there. We certainly were not the first to build Trackmaster Ducatis, but I only know of two that were built in the 1970s. One of those bikes has a full cradle frame like a regular Trackmaster and the other was a modern-style frame

I BUILT THE BIKE AROUND THE DUCATI ENGINE PURELY OUT OF WANTING SOMETHING THAT NO ONE ELSE HAD

that uses the engine as part of the frame structure. I spent the winter putting the bike together until it was race ready. I was pretty much healed up by March of 1995 so I packed up and headed to Daytona to give it a try. I quickly realised that the geometry was not quite right. Because Ray had to set the engine back in the frame, to make sure the front tyre would clear the front cylinder when the forks are compressed on rough tracks, meant the wheelbase was about 2in (50mm) too long. So, I had a friend, who is a great welder, build a jig and cut the swingarm apart. The swingarm's front cross-brace was made smaller and moved as far forward as possible. This got the wheelbase down to 55in (1397mm) which is pretty good, but it still wanted to stand up in corners when I was getting hard on the gas, which is a bad habit to let your bike get into. To cure this, I fitted a set of adjustable triple trees I picked up from our local suspension pro, himelf a fast racer, Davey Durelle. I built the bike around the Ducati engine purely out of wanting something that no one else had. I’ve owned an XR750 but only raced one a handful of times. I sold mine to a friend, Brian Anderson, who raced it when he was a junior and expert on the AMA circuit. XR750s need a lot of maintenance to keep on the track, but the Ducati motors are fairly easy to maintain and can run several seasons without a major overhaul. At one point I was racing mine at least 25 weekends a year and many of those events were double-headers. My bike has hundreds of starts on it and only one major blow out in all these years. It dropped a valve at Knoxville, Iowa, on the half-mile and that led to this major overhaul and restoration. Hands down the biggest problem with building this bike has been finding the right guys to do the major engine work, and that has only become worse as time has gone by. Reno Leoni moved back to Italy shortly after he built our engines new the first time, and several of the guys that I had been using in Denver


Groovin’

Hanging it out in Erie. Below that, the Ducati as low as it will go on the blue groove

No snoozing

Launching at Erie, Colorado, 1998, with Triumphs, Nortons and Yamahas

Import

The only vintage V-twin on the grid that wasn’t made in America

Memories

One of Doug’s favourite shots, racing at his hometown track in Stockton, Kansas

Sturgis

Short tracking in South Dakota

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Still looking good after a quarter-century of racing and at least one major crash. The bike's held up pretty well, too


and Colorado Springs have since passed away. So, I sent this engine to Martin Brickwood Performance in Montreal, Canada, for this recent overhaul. Guy Martin [not that one] is the owner and race engine builder and he really knows what he’s doing. Montreal, a four-hour flight away, is not quite like dropping the bike or engine off in downtown Denver like I was able to do in the past. This bike has always looked pretty clean, with the nickel-plated frame and nice paint jobs. I’ve had the same flame paint scheme over the years but with three or four different base colours. I’ve always taken a lot of pride in showing up with good-looking motorcycles at the track. If it ever goes down (again) I will just make it look good again! The Ducati and I like smooth, blue-groove tracks and tracks like Norton, Kansas, when it had one to two inches of loose stuff on top. I love a shallow cushion, but always struggled in the deep stuff like the Ruidoso Downs mile or Del Mar mile when it was deep and rutted. My hometown track at Stockton is one of my favourites for all the obvious reasons. Going back to Kansas and running the county fair races at Colby, Hays, WaKeeney, Norton and Stockton is a great time and the track prep is always superb (thanks to Paul Covert). I’ve been lucky enough to ride many of the cool race tracks around the country over the years and a well-prepared half-mile will always be my favourite. Travelling around the country, I really liked riding in Iowa at Knoxville and Davenport; Circleville, Ohio, half-mile cushion; Oklahoma City half-mile at the fairgrounds was fun when Ronnie Jones was putting those events on; St Augustine, Florida, was probably the smoothest half-mile I have ever ridden on. Too bad they paved that track (for car races). Barberville half-mile outside of Daytona was always fun, so was the Ocala, Florida, short track. I really like TT tracks like the one in Cambridge, MN, the old Erie TT track north of Denver, and the old TT track at Sturgis. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some others. I won one of my three Colorado State championships on the TT track when the Ducati was brand new. I haven’t ridden much for a couple years, but I’m looking forward to riding a few events this summer on the Ducati. This new engine has a ton of horsepower and it will be a blast to open up on a half-mile. The constant attention this bike receives at tracks around the country is always rewarding. There have been so many times when some guy would be walking by, stop in their tracks and say, ‘What the hell is that?’ Lots of fond memories.

(clockwise from above) Doug Stewart, never a man to field a shabby racer; twin-cradle Trackmaster frame built to order; pipes fabbed by Doug; a pretty bike, but no show pony. Note his toe on the brake pedal controlling traction

SPECIFICATION Trackmaster Ducati

Engine 1976 Ducati 860 GT; bored and stroked to 1000cc; rebuild by Guy Martin, Brickwood Performance, Montreal (rebuilt crank, new conrods, pistons and valves; dual-plug heads ported and polished with oversized intakes; transmission rebuild); XR-style starter nut on right; Mikuni 36mm flatslide carbs; handmade stainless headers by owner; SuperTrapp silencers; exhaust coated by PermaChrome coatings; digital electronic ignition by MHP Ignitions; Speedcell battery. Chassis Trackmaster frame; aluminium Trackmaster-style fuel tank; adjustable triple trees; Durelle suspension; First Klass Glass seat with Saddleman pad; paint by Don at Painted Dreams in Elizabeth, CO. Weight 320lb/145kg (wet)


IF IT EVER GOES DOWN AGAIN I'LL JUST MAKE IT LOOK GOOD AGAIN!




Who? What? When? Why? Where?

Briar Bauman Interview: Gary Inman Illustrations: Ryan Quickfall

You’ve signed to the official factory team, making you one of the Indian Wrecking Crew for 2019, but what was your first ever motorcycle race? One Christmas I asked for a motorcycle. A few months later the Ricky Graham Memorial was coming up and my mom felt that we should go and try it out, so that was the first one, in King City, California, near my home town in Salinas. It was a cushion short track and I raced a Honda XR100 and I remember taking last that night by a long ways. That was the beginning of my racing career. It was in 2003 and I was seven years old. Neither of my parents raced, but my mom had been to the races when she was a teenager in Monterey, watching guys like Doug Chandler. When did you turn pro? In 2011. I raced a Honda 450 at the Sacramento Mile. It was a good first race and I took fourth [in the Pro Singles class behind Mikey Martin, Michael Avila and Shayna Texter]. Rod Lake Racing was my main sponsor at the time, but my parents were still taking care of a decent amount of the bill. Rod has helped me out my entire career. What has been your most memorable win so far? Lima in 2017 was obviously a big one

for me, with it being my first Twins race win, but it’s hard to go against Williams Grove [in 2018] where my brother, Bronson, and I went one and two. That is such a rare task, it will go down in history. So it is definitely between those two.

And the worst? I’ve raced a lot of Kawasakis throughout my career. One in particular was a tough one to climb on to every weekend, but I went for it anyway. I don’t want to say more than that.

What’s your favourite race track and why? It’s hard to pin down just one. I really like the Peoria TT, because of the jump – or jumps now. I feel like you have to have some rhythm to get through the sections quickly. Also the whole environment is great, driving down into the bowl every year. But I’m also a big fan of Lima. You really get to let it hang out. At the point we get to Lima we’ve usually been on a bunch of one-line clay half-miles. So getting some cushion and being able to ride anywhere on the track is great. Sacramento, when prepped right, will probably always be towards the top of my list. It’s in my home state and one of the coolest tracks we get to ride.

There has been a huge migration to the Indian FTR750. Is it better than the competition and if so, why and how? I personally don’t feel it is even a comparison. Indian did their job of building a flat track motorcycle better than anyone else could. It works better for me in every way.

What’s the best bike you’ve ever raced? Why? The Indian FTR750 by far. Indian did an incredible job with the bike, every piece of it. And then on top of that I get to have Dave Zanotti tune it in every weekend. Both sides make it the best motorcycle I’ve raced.

What do you think will change going from the privateer Zanotti Racing outift to the factory team? I will have Dave Zanotti with me on the factory team, so not much is going to change. We will still be doing our same job every weekend to the best of our abilities. Going into the 2019 season, what ingredients does a rider need to be AFT champion? You have to be aggressive, but consistent. Mees is one of the most consistent racers in history, you have to be better than that. Who is the greatest flat track racer of all-time? Ricky Graham. I never had the

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chance to watch Ricky in person, but from all of the videos I’ve seen he seems like one of the most naturally talented racers that flat track has seen. I liked how calm he was going about his racing, but once he was on the track he was on a different level.

Some of the plus points would be hearing what the track is like throughout the day by sharing information between us. Some of the cons would be the competition between the two of us about our racing careers.

What’s the best thing about being a pro flat tracker? I love being able to say I’m a professional flat track racer. There are a lot of things that make it great, but I really enjoy getting to travel all over the country with some of my closest friends.

American flat track is going through quite a transformation, but how have racers like you benefitted? The exposure has grown, for sure. We’re going to different places with bigger populations and getting bigger crowds. That has been really cool.

And the worst thing? I’m not fond of how difficult it can be for a lot of racers to make a comfortable living, but that is part of it. I’d love to see the sport get to the point that the top ten or 12 guys are capable of making a solid living. Given that you and KTM factory flat tracker Shayna Texter are a couple, what are the pros and cons of two pro racers being in a relationship? That’s a tough one. It depends on the situation. We go about our racing programmes so differently that I don’t see one way or the other. I’d say it is pretty neutral. Shayna spends a lot of time taking care of her programme from the managing standpoint, where I fortunately don’t have to do that. I spend most of my time training and preparing for the races physically.

If you had a magic wand, what would you change about AFT? If I could change something it would be to add great teams and available rides to the paddock. I feel like there are a lot of really good

racers fighting to make it to the track every weekend, which is tough to see, knowing that most just want to make as much of a career out of racing as possible. I have $1000 to bet on the 2019 AFT championship. Should I put it on #14? I’m not much of a betting man, so that’s a tough one to say. I can be a bit loose at times so maybe not the best idea.



BORN ON THE DIRT. BUILT FOR THE STREET. Inspired by the championship winning FTR750 race bike. The FTR™1200 sets a new standard for American motorcycling.

A2 version available on FTR™ 1200 base model.

@indianmotorcycleuk

@indianmotorcycleuk


Professional rider. Closed course. Do not attempt.

INDIANMOTORCYCLE.CO.UK



How to work the outlaw race circuit For the third consecutive year, Oliver Brindley is gearing up to trade home comforts in Doncaster, England, for an extended road trip, racing in the USA. One of the best flat track racers to come out of the UK, 20-year-old Oliver has already shown potential to be a serious contender in the AFT Pro Singles class, the only Englishman to ever do so. Oliver’s prime focus is chasing the AFT Championship, but there can be considerable downtime between events. Luckily, there are plenty of non-AFT races a pro can hit. They range from state and county fairs through to motorcycle club meetings. Those not sanctioned by the AMA have collectively been given the ominous moniker of ‘outlaw’ races. Almost all offer prize money in their Pro class and some have niggling similarities to fairground prize-fighting and pool-hall hustling. We asked Oliver for the low-down on working the outlaw racing circuit.

READ A MAP

Non-AMA/AFT races tend to attract privateers, rarely the big factory guys. It’s an opportunity to make some money and get some valuable competitive riding time. There can be several outlaw races going on every weekend, so wherever the next AFT race is, I’ll look up where the nearby outlaw races are and usually pick the one with the biggest Pro purse. Little clubs thrive off getting the top guys to show up. They host their biggest race of the year on the back of the nearest national race. It’s usually a day or two before the national and they put up a decent amount of money, hoping they can attract a stacked Pro class. Usually, there are two classes that are paying out, Open Pro and Pro Singles. I always enter both.

LOOK AT THE PURSE

Prize money can differ wildly from $500 or less to over $5000. If it’s a race with $5000 for the win you can expect some real fast guys. These races are unsanctioned, so money is shared out differently at each race. It could be $5000 to win, $2000 for second, $1000 for third and then maybe $100 back to sixth place. It’s around $50 in race fees, so I could be driving out with $3000. When I look at an outlaw race, if I think I can at least get my money back by qualifying for the main event, maybe a little bit more, then I consider it worth doing. I’m there to be a professional motorbike racer.

LEARN WHILE YOU EARN

It’s not just about winning money. I don’t get to fly home after the national and ride motocross all week. These outlaw races are my training. When I’m in the US, I don’t practise, I just race. I don’t have enough money to hire a track or even for fuel to get to a practice. A small outlaw race might organise a pay-to-practise session the night before, but I just do the race and possibly earn some money and not have to pay out. I have to add it up: tyre usage, wear and tear on my engine... On limited resources, is it worth it? OK, you can put in loads of laps and test different things but actual racing is the best practice you can have.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Last year, I got a bit ridiculous trying to hit as many races as possible. I was in Michigan and drove to Ontario, Canada, for a night race. It was a 12-hour round trip and I came fourth and made some decent money. The Pro race finished after midnight, I drove straight back to Michigan through the night, parked up at the track, slept for two hours then raced again. That time I had someone to help with the driving, but you can tell whether somebody wants to drive or not and at the end of the day it’s me that wants to go there.

BUILD A NETWORK

I have an older RV and last year spent over 200 nights in it. I have a bunch of friends that allow me to park in their yards, hook up to their electricity and use their bathrooms. The network grows steadily, through Instagram, as more offers of places to stay roll in. I try not to overstay my welcome and move on after about two weeks. I’ve stayed longer with Woody Kyle, my engine tuner, in Florida. Woody and his wife, Judy, are like grandparents to me. They really look after me, especially making sure I get fed. My dad comes over two or three times during the race season, depending on his work schedule. He tries to make the big races but couldn’t go to The Springfield Mile last year, when I made the podium. He tried to watch it at home on the internet but fell asleep and missed it!

TRACK INTEL

Recently I’ve been fortunate enough to have a friend of mine, Charlie Vanderlaan, work with me. I met him in my debut year in Daytona. He grew up at Lodi and knows flat track like the back of his hand. With Charlie, I do my homework. Is it a cushion track or a groove track? Is it grippy or slick? I have a stack of different tyres, different brands, compounds, cut and uncut... There are no tyre rules at outlaw races; you can put sauce on them if you want. If you aren’t running the best tyres for the job, it’s a waste of time turning up. You can be faster than everybody but if someone has a tyre that’s 2/10 of a second quicker per lap, you aren’t gonna beat them.

YOU’LL RUFFLE FEATHERS

I’m friendly with the AFT racers, you see them regularly, but show up at a small outlaw race and there will be some backstreet guy holding court. It’s his local track and he thinks he’s better than anyone. Then some guy from across the sea starts putting it to him... you can definitely feel the heat.

BE SELECTIVE

There are tracks that I never want to revisit. Sometimes you turn up at an outlaw race and the track looks downright dangerous. They might be offering $300 prize money and there’s not even an ambulance or medics on site. It’s hard to say no when you’ve just driven five hours, but you should think twice about racing. On the other hand, there are tracks where you might win $50 but are so good you’d give anything to ride them – a track like Sioux Falls.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

As a foreigner, I make sure I have good health insurance. I don’t know what would happen without it if I got hurt. I know American guys that race every week and don’t have it.

Words: Dave Skooter Farm in conversation with Oliver Brindley Illustration: Ryan Quickfall

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Intro: Gary Inman Words & Photos: Kyle Archer

Monster I

FIRST GLIMPSED this bike on Instagram (honestly, where else?) blasting along an Australian beach, skimming a southern ocean like a stone. Its owner, Kyle Archer, aka @sledtilldead, had left a comment on a Ducati hooligan bike Sideburn had posted: ‘Very nice, but will it ever see dirt?’ I was immediately attracted to this healthy cynicism, clicked on his name and clocked the photos of the longlegged Monster doing stuff Monsters don’t normally get roped into doing. I was in love, l-u-v. Kyle takes up the story…

Thunder on the fire road. Encountering fellow trail riders and leaving them slackjawed is all part of the Monster fun

THIS BIKE was built slightly ad hoc by Bill Wilkin of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, when he decided to turn his 2000 Ducati Monster 900ie into a proper dualsport bike. The original concept, and the CNC’d parts, are all his design and fabrication. The Ducati was then sold, rebought, sold again, then sat rusting in a back yard for two years before I saw it for sale deep in an adventure bike forum. I couldn’t believe my luck. This was my dream inspiration bike and it was going cheap. It was also now a total basket case. I decided to sell my Monster 620 to my best mate (who continues to ride it on the dirt with me) to buy the 900ie to rebuild and improve. The two of us spent the next couple of months completely rebuilding the bike from the motor up. The engine is a direct evolution of the motor that powered the Cagiva Elefant 900 to victory in the Paris-Dakar rally [in 1994 with Edi Orioli, his third of four], so I knew it would handle dirt riding without drama. The main reason I wanted a Monster ADV bike was because of the engines; they’re reliable, sound great, give decent fuel economy and are relatively powerful for the weight. The total wet weight of the bike is under 200kg (441lb), so we beat KTM in building a V-twin sub-200kg ADV bike. It’s probably more reliable too... I believe it’s by far the sexiest adventure/dualsport bike around and it outperforms pretty much all

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(top row, left to right) Blasting down Teewah Beach, November 2018; This still is taken from Kyle’s GoPro footage as he lies on the ground with broken ribs; Sunset at Mt Mee during a threeday camping trip (middle row, left to right) Testing new fork seals at Mt Nebo; Sledhammer event in the Glasshouse Mtns; Kyle at home fixing some wiring issues next to his 1974 Kawasaki KZ650; Rare onroad shot (bottom row, left to right) Thumbs up at Clear Mtn; Couple of dirt Monsters. It’s hard to belive the small one is a full-size 620 Kyle had previously owned and modified; Life’s a beach with the Brisbane Desert Sleds; Exploring with Chris Janzen and his modified MT-03


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of them off road and does pretty well on the highway too. Another reason is that the massive size of the bike works well for me at 6ft 3in (1.95m) tall. Most other bikes I’ve ridden have felt a bit small, so this suits me well, even if it is potentially a bit top heavy. Third reason is the exorbitant cost of modern ADV bikes. The total cost of this bike – rebuilding, registering and everything else – comes in at under 5500 Australian dollars ($4000/€3500). The main modifications to the bike are the new front end, they’re Marzocchi Magnum forks in custom CNC’d triples and a KTM Adventure 950 swingarm with an Öhlins shock. Those custom-built Excel wheels currently have Motoz Tractionator Desert tyres front and back. They’re terrible on wet roads but paddle sand and dirt brilliantly. New side plates hold ‘mid’ pegs, which also act as support for the swingarm bolt, so the stresses on the swingarm don’t crack the engine case. A small but effective bash plate was fabbed up in my workshop and a number of cosmetic additions and improvements were added. I mainly use the bike for fire-trail and single-track riding on the weekends. There’s nothing like roaring a big V-twin on the dirt and surprising other enduro riders when they see it roll around the corner, wondering what the hell it is! It spins the wheel with every throttle turn, and the high compression often slides the rear when decelerating. Fun! I’ve done a few two- and three-day trips on dirt tracks with a light camping load and had a great time. The hardest test it’s been through was a trailblazing trip I did from Neurum, Queensland, toward Camp Somerset. It was fully off-track riding through rocky, grassy terrain, and towards the end of the ride the bash plate I made had suffered multiple hits, but held up fine. I cracked the front rim, but it was still rideable. That wasn’t the only crack, as I ended up falling off the bike on a hill climb there and fractured

three of my ribs landing on a rock. I had no choice but to ride the bike 50km out of the bush back to the hospital that afternoon. I’m 32, but in my twenties I spent five years cycling solo, self-supported, 35,000km around the world, camping most nights. I did every continent bar Africa, gaining experience in everything related to adventure touring and ignited the natural progression from bicycles to motorcycles. I was then in the army for a few years, lived in Japan for a couple of years, then returned to Brisbane where I’ve been saving money to pay for my Iranian fiancee’s visa (hence not being able to afford a normal adventure bike). The negatives of a Monster ADV bike would be the lack of a rear rack, the tall weight and the 15-litre fuel tank. I’d rather have a bit more range, but that’s why I have two Rotopax jerry cans I can strap to the trellis frame. If I did it all again, I would design a more sturdy mounting point on the frame for the rear shock, an underseat/tail fuel tank and more steering angle by offsetting the forks in the triple. Two upgrades I have planned for it now are a slimmer KTM enduro-style seat (with wool cover for touring) and a rally navigation tower and fairing for raid racing (if I ever get the courage for that). If I had to round this up with the bike’s strong points I’d say, undoubtedly, its power-to-weight ratio, the massive clearance it has for rockhopping, the striking good looks... and it sounds mean.




Pack it in. Pack it out.

.. ................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EXFIL-48 is the perfect backpack for speedy getaways on two wheels or two feet. Our first backpack’s one main and two secondary compartments feature heavy-duty nylon zippers for speedy access and rugged dependability. High-visibility orange lining inside these compartments make finding small contents easier. A single compression strap around the bag’s mid-section does double duty as a mounting strap for securing EXFIL-48 on back rests and sissy bars. Nylon webbing with reflective weave on the bag’s perimeter provides tie-down spots for securing bedrolls or other gear. A handy, built-in tool organizer compartment and internal fuel/water bottle pouches make this bag the perfect traveling companion both on and off the road.

W W W. B I LT W E L L I N C . C O M @ B I LT W E L L


人生は短い。 さあ

East meets west Mondays ain’t so bad... Words: Gary Inman Photos: Dimitri Coste


さあ楽しもうぜ!!

goes left

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早 く 走 れ >

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Look confused and someone might help us. Geoff, Brink, Bonzorro and Gary hatch a cunning plan


Konnichiwa

We meet in the lobby of the Cerulean Tower Hotel at 7am. Geoff ‘Co-Built’ Cain and I wander across the polished marble floor pulling our wheelie bags full of heavy riding kit, both acting like sharing a double bed in a room the size of a McDonald’s disabled toilet cubicle for the previous three nights was the most normal thing in the world. James Hard Luck is already there, sat hunched on a leather cube. He looks homeless, even more homeless than usual, and is talking as if he’s being filtered through Google translate: ‘I was fighting a rat at four in the morning,’ he tells us. Dimitri Coste appears, Leica around neck, the skateboardriding Yves Saint Laurent. Brink and Bonzorro appear from the restaurant, croissant crumbs falling from their laps, looking freshly scrubbed and wellrested after a night between the Egyptian cotton sheets of this upmarket accommodation. We’re on a mission to ride other people’s race bikes.

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Fresh from 4am rat-fighting, James Hard Luck’s aura grants him space on the crowded commuter train


ハ ブ フ ァ ン !

Hi, we are on the train to Kawagoe We nod and walk to the station. I have a note in my pad, written by a man called Kei at the Mooneyes Hot Rod Custom Show in Yokohama the previous day, telling us the train line and stop we must reach. Shibuya station is just five minutes’ walk away. It offers under- and overground lines. I ask, in English, a middle-aged station employee which line we need and he answers, in English. A Japanese tourist trying the same in their native tongue anywhere in the

world may as well talk to a guinea pig for the amount of sense they’d get back. We climb on the first of two trains that will take us from Tokyo to Kawagoe. As we roll through the suburbs a message arrives on my phone. ‘Good morning!! I’m Inuchoppers Kei, Cheetah’s friend. Are you sure today’s photo shoot at Kawagoe?? Some friends come from far, so please give reply’ I type, ‘Hi, we are on the train to Kawagoe.’

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ヨーイ、 ドン


Arrival

Exiting the station, in a town none of us had heard of, we stand in a huddle waiting for someone to take the initiative. We spy a taxi rank below us. An elderly driver jumps out of his blue Toyota Crown Comfort and waves another cab over. I point to the handwritten note in my pad and the driver smiles. ‘Motocross!’ It’s close enough. 15 minutes later we turn down a dirt road next to a river. There is a couple of vans and a very small, dark oval cut into the dirt. Kazuo Fukuda of Buddy Custom Cycles is already there with his punk rock son and four bikes. Keiji Kawakita of Hot-Dock is there too. An aluminium picnic table is unfolded, drinks placed on top for us to sit while we wait for more vans to arrive. We don’t have to wait very long. This December trip to Japan was a gift to myself disguised as work. The catalyst was Brat Style’s Okie Dokie race, that would be held two days after the world famous Mooneyes Show in Yokohama. The show had been recommended to me for years, but choppers aren’t really my thing, and from the coverage I’d seen and the Western ‘faces’ who were invited, that seemed to be the main thrust of the event’s two-wheeled content, so I wasn’t in a rush to go. But, throw in a flat track race and the balance was tipped. The show turned out to be full of inspiration, just

Brink surveys the Kawagoe oval with Buddy Custom’s Trackmaster-themed 150 poised for action

ンッ!!︎

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Two spaghetti-like lengths of tubing slice diagonally,mimicking the path of a karate chop to the neck like friends had told me it was, with far more variety than I expected, but the vast majority were Harley chops and pre-1986 models. Within it all was an island of flat track bikes. The sign in the middle of the display read ‘Have Fun!!’ (the double exclamation mark is theirs, not mine). There were the Yamaha SR500 framers you might expect, but also Buddy Custom’s trackerised flathead Harley WLR45 (which you’ll see in a few pages time) and a row of handbuilt 150cc framers, all different except for matching ‘horizontal’ motors and 17in wheels with dirt track race tyres. Dimitri had already been in touch with Cheetah, who seemed to be the driving force behind this new concept, five-footand-change of Japanese master bike builder who had worked for other repected firms, including Hot-Dock and Jurassic, before striking out on his own. He has become a globally recognised name, in our insular little world, creating a pair of pre-war V-twins – a Harley and an Indian – that have toured the world, being raced by Cheetah himself on dirt tracks in the USA and Europe. And the diminutive rider raced them hard, despite each being worth more than a brand new FTR750, simply because Cheetah loves flat track. Each builder who has embraced the Have fun!! ethos has a different take on the concept, due to money, skills and influences. And we got to ride nearly all of their wonderful creations.


DUCK TAIL

The bike built by Toshihiro ‘Duck Tail’ Watanabe has two spaghetti-like lengths of tubing that slice diagonally, as if mimicking the path of a karate chop to the neck, before curving under the little Chinese motor and returning back to the headstock, just below where they originated. The tubes are 4130 chromoly, the stuff the best flat track frames are made from. Duck Tail even made the 7N01 aluminium alloy swingarm from scratch. The quality of work is exceptional. The tetradecagonal (that’s 14-sided) petrol tank is reminiscent of Eddie Wilbanks’ 1977 Ducati-powered flat track bike. ‘You are the only one who noticed,’ says Duck Tail. He is no newcomer to flat track, he has a big-bore Yamaha SR500 framer, and it’s obvious he understands flat track geometry. This is the first outing for most of

these 150s and Duck Tail is immediately on it, pushing the bike hard to the ground and braking deep. He offers me a chance to ride his spotless machine. The bare metal bike immediately feels comfortable. The ergonomics are perfect for me. Within a few laps I’m bouncing the left peg on the track surface. When I shared photos of these 150s on the @sideburnmag Instagram feed people went mad for them. I think a lot of the attraction is their nonthreatening demeanour and people assuming they are cheap race bikes, but that’s underestimating them. Unless you’re an experienced chassis builder, creating a bike like Duck Tail’s would be expensive. Other than the Chinese engine, no corners have been cut. Daytona shocks, Brembo brake, a Yoshimura YD28 carb. So good.

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水 平 エ ン ジ ン


The editor getting some on Buddy’s tiddler ‘Trackmaster’; Kei’s boots match his bike

INUCHOPPERS

Kei Tashiro’s Inuchoppers 150 looks far more shedbuilt that the others, and feels it. Whereas the other guys have hit the bullseye with their set-ups, the little brown bike is still in need of a good shakedown, and that’s what this Monday in Kawagoe is all about. Like all the others, Kei’s bike is powered by a 150cc Lifan, a Chinese copy of a Honda engine. For some reason I was surprised that these Japanese bike builders would use a copy of one of their own country’s products, but why shouldn’t they? Not every Brit rides a Triumph, or every Italian a Ducati or Moto Guzzi. Kei explains he’s an amateur builder, not like the other guys here. ‘A friend let me borrow his welder and use his lathe. I’m very grateful to my friends. I did most of the work in my backyard. This frame was welded on the ground without jigs, but it’s no problem, because it’s only going to turn left,’ he jokes. Kei says the frame is a combination of his own work and Honda 50 engine mounts. The tank was sent from Italy by his friend. It’s from a Tohatsu Runpet 50 (which is now officially my favourite name for a production motorcycle). Forks are aftermarket Honda 100. The wheels are from a Suzuki SMX50. The word ‘Inu’ on the homemade tank badge means ‘dog’, because Kei loves his Weimaraner.

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フ ラ ッ ト ト ラ ッ ク

Check out Cheetah’s over, under, inside, outside frame; left: mechanical rear disc brake


CHEETAH SAVANNA

Cheetah has built a pair of 150s for the Have Fun!! class, calling them Savanna and Magnum, but only has Savanna with him. Both have their own style and very different frames and tanks. Following the build on social media, it seemed like he’d created the bike in less than two weeks, which, for someone like Cheetah, is no big deal, but to someone like me, is mindblowing. The bike has some recognisable influences. Cheetah chose to go rigid, rather than fit a swingarm. The chromoly frame and alloy rear axle plates are in the style of Sonic Weld, the defunct American framemaker. The in-board tank looks like it was inspired by an early speedway tank. The tail section is the last foot or so of a Harley cruiser fender. The long, stripy seat gives the bike the playful feel of a 1970s sand bike, like an original Van-Van. One thing I love about Cheetah’s bikes is he often mixes his own beautifully fabricated or

machined parts with very naively applied paint, like the daubed rims on Savanna. And it works, but I know if I tried that kind of paint on a bike I owned it would look terrible. The main cycle parts are a cocktail of small-capacity Honda components. Wheels are XR250 motard 17s with Maxxis tyres. Forks are TLM200, modified. The rear brake is a rare Airheart mechanical disc operated by a rod and lever, not hydraulic pressure. And the bike works, boy does it work. Within a few hours of riding it, Cheetah can slide it with the bar end on the track and lift the bike back up, end the slide and power down the straight, a trick he learnt from Japan’s best flat track racer, Masatoshi Ohmori. I don’t know how closely Cheetah replicated a Sonic Weld, but it immediately feels well balanced. There are no surprises. Get on and slide.

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Like Cheetah, Buddy has some quirks, like lettered seats, that few others could make work

疾 風 迅 雷


BUDDY CUSTOM’S BABY DYNAMITE

Looking like a Japanese George Clooney, Kazuo Fukuda has two stunners at the track this December morning. His 150 is a Trackmaster replica, complete with the company’s simple rhomboid logo stuck on the downtubes. If Trackmaster had ever built frames for Honda 150s, that is. All the work is Buddy’s, including the replica tank with its pair of dinky Monza filler caps that Fukuda-san says mimics Don Castro’s Fiberglas Works racer (featured in SB7). The seat has distinctive hand-painted words and phrases, laid on by Buddy’s friend, Takashi Urashima. The bike, nicknamed Baby Dynamite, uses the same SMX50 wheels as Kei’s brown bike, and Shinko tyres. I couldn’t put my finger on the cause, but I didn’t feel as instantly happy with the set-up of the teeny Trackmaster as I did with the Duck Tail and Cheetah bikes. It was less predictable in the slide, more snappy.

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HOT-DOCK SPEEDWAY 250 Crashing the mini flat track party is the group’s friend, Keiji Kawakita and his 2014 Kawasaki KXF250 one-of-a-kind speedway bike. Instead of building a new tubular steel frame to mount a modern MX engine in, like Pete Seaton did with his groundbreaking Formula 2 MX-powered speedway bikes we featured in SB16, Keiji deraked the original alloy frame to work with one-off speedway-style leading link forks. The result makes the mutant motocrosser look like it’s T-boned a truck. Keiji also retained the swingarm, but shortened it and made a pair of long tie-bars that fasten between new mounts at the very rear of the swingarm and near the rear tank mount. Keiji

made all the bodywork from sheet alloy, before finishing the bike off with everything you’d expect to see on a speedway bike: swinging footpeg; low titanium pipe with a fat silencer; low-rise MX bars mounted to a sheet-metal top triple clamp; rear fender loop; 21/19in SM Pro wheels and zero brakes. More used to building influential Harley customs and the American V-twin road racers, Keiji admits that when it comes to speedway ‘I’m a beginner’. It’s great to see someone so respected in one field throw himself into something new. Today, he’s not letting strangelooking Europeans ride his newly finished experimental bike. I don’t blame him.

レ ー シ ン グ


Hot-Dock reinventing the wheel in a sport that is as resistant to change as flat track

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Lose yourself in the details of this groundbreaking handshifter. So good ‘they’ would ban it

BUDDY CUSTOM’S HARLEY WLR Period correctness be damned. Buddy Custom Cycles’ Harley WLR rewrites the rules when it comes to handshifters and is all the more exciting for it. Kazuo made the chassis, with chromoly tube imported from the USA, and based it on the oil-in-frame, sidemounted monoshock C&J XR750 chassis the factory Harley team have used. ‘I have been riding side-valve 750cc Harleys for over 20 years. I like rigid frames, but I thought, What if I had a suspension? So I put a side-valve engine in my hobby flat track machine.’ The answer to his question was, perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘With suspension I can drive at a higher speed and with less risk.’ What would the knitted jumper-wearing, handshift revivalists make of the Buddy bike? I do know Kazuo

rides it hard, fast and with a style that would go on to make him an instant hit on the way to winning his class at the Okie Dokie Race the next day. The 45 engine has an Enfield Racing cam based on the later KR750s; larger intake valves; lighter conrods; S&S flywheels and W&W pistons. Kazuo explains he could have easily stroked the motor to increase capacity, but ‘I wanted to try it at 750cc, because the WR and KR fought with 750cc.’ Despite their reputation for finicky unreliability, the yellow bike uses a Linkert MR4 racing carb, but Kazuo has machined it ‘for increased accuracy’. ‘Power comes out cleanly from bottom to top,’ he continues. ‘If it is well maintained, it will function properly.’ Kazuo’s WLR is like no 45 I’ve ever seen and I adore it.


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全速力のまま向 The Have Fun!! crew aren’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before. Americans and Brits have been making mini-framers that look like slightly scaled versions of full-size framers for years, but when all of the Japanese-built bikes line up, either on the polished concrete floor of a Yokohama exhibition centre or paddock of a dirt track, they become a formidable pack. They’re cheeky, but have an attitude and aggression to get themselves into and out of trouble. Two of the original Have Fun!! bikes couldn’t make it to Kawagoe: there were six at the Mooneyes show. Even if all six had been in attendance their total cylinder capacity would have been less than my hooligan Sportster engine. An early start after a heavy weekend; six mates negotiating a foreign train network following the twoline details of a scribbled note; a group of Japanese amateur racers extending the hand of international flat track love; a lot of trust and a tiny short track in semi-rural Japan. Sweet dreams are made of this and the Monday at Kawagoe will go down in Sideburn folklore as one of the great occasions in the magazine’s history, a day the Europeans who made it out there will remember for a very long time. Have fun!! Don’t just say it, do it.

Homeward

エンスト


向きを変えろ!!

Back to the station for the train to Shibuya. We’d be back in Kawagoe the very next day for the Okie Dokie race




How Evel inspired me

Words & Photo: Larry Morris

25

MAY 1975. It’s not easy to remember a specific day last month, let alone nearly 44 years ago. Unless of course it was a day when your life changed forever. When suddenly, permanently, everything changed. 22 November 1963. I wasn’t yet born when JFK was shot; everyone who was old enough remembers exactly what they were doing and where they were. Same thing on September 11. Not merely ‘memorable’ or ‘important’ days, time has a habit of replacing those with newer ones. A monumental day. Those are the days that change trajectories. For a nation as well as an individual. That’s what 25 May 1975 was to me. Monumental. One year earlier, nine years old, my mom shipped me from the Jersey ‘Riviera’ on America’s east coast to live with my dad, in Liverpool, on England’s west coast. They had been divorced about a year and my mom was not equipped for raising three kids on her own, especially the wrecking-ball middle child, yours truly. Mortal enemies when they split up, my mom knew better than to tell my dad she was sending me to England to live with him. There was no way he would agree. So she waited until the wheels of the plane were off the ground to tell him. And then moved away to a different address he didn’t know. To say I had difficulty adjusting to a rough section in working-class Liverpool, where the largest employers in the area were the Albert Docks or nearby coal mines, is putting it mildly. I got the shit beaten out of me seemingly every day, purely for the laughter such taunts of the ‘wank’ (instead of Yank) always generated. I was not particularly adept at fist fighting. Just running my mouth. Result: I got the shit beaten out of me even more. That is, until the 25th of May 1975. Even when you throw in Scotland and Wales, Britain is a small country. Back then there were only three television channels: BBC1, BBC2, ITV. In the weeks prior, I kept hearing about some nutter from America who was coming to Wembley Stadium to jump buses on a motorcycle. I’d been to Wembley with my dad to see Liverpool FC play. At that time, Liverpool were the kings of Europe and Wembley was the country’s Sistine Chapel of Soccer. I couldn’t get my head around some guy from America coming to jump over buses in there. It made no sense to me. Like the rest of the country however, I was transfixed. You couldn’t walk into a fish and chip shop or a newsagent without overhearing people gaggling about it. The event was lavishly promoted and the British lapped it up. Even more so the Yank. I devoured all of the TV and newspaper coverage. I wasn’t among the ‘colour me luckys’ inside Wembley that day. Like every other lad I knew, I saw it on telly. By the time Evel made the jump, it seemed like the entire country felt as nervous as he must have been. OK, maybe a bit less.

Then, like a comet, it was over in a flash. And just like a comet landing on your house when you’re watching telly, it was MONUMENTAL. Evel used to say that his jumps were perfect, it was the landings that occasionally didn’t go as planned. His landing at Wembley brings those words into sharpest relief. Not only was that nutter crazy enough to attempt such an unconscionable feat, it’s what happened immediately afterwards that had such an effect from that day forward. I can’t count the number of times I’d seen footballers on TV getting stretchered off after being kicked in the knee. What I still have a hard time processing is a man with a broken pelvis and assorted cracked limbs insisting on standing up, rejecting assistance to do it and then giving a speech to the 80,000 inside Wembley and millions and millions throughout England and the rest of the world outside. ‘Keep your word. Stay in school. Stay off drugs.’ Mic drop. Wearing the stars and stripes and jumping an Americanmade Harley-Davidson. The British were especially fond (and proud) of their Triumphs, Nortons and BSAs back then. All of the ass-whoopings. All of the vicious treatment, day after day, that I suffered in my school; all of the shame about myself for not fitting into my own family in the ways of happiness I’d so often seen in other families; all of the awkwardness of feeling like an outcast because I was different. Gone in a flash, like a comet. It was like a geyser of emotion, effectively the biggest, ‘Oh yeah, FUCK YOU, you prancing limeys! Where’s your daredevil?’ They could talk the talk, but it was the American who walked the walk. And when he fell he stood up. My attitude changed. I felt proud. Evel Knievel made me stand up tall. And it made the entire world look at me differently. The stunt cycle set became the (still) must-have toy. I feel weird saying this, but I suddenly became somebody. I’m 53 years old now. That day courses through my entire life. Not just the ramps made from cinder blocks and plywood I had to jump my bicycle over, time after time, day after day. Not just repeatedly asking myself, ‘Why not?’ I’ve lost count of the number of times others have thought my goals were somehow stupid. I learned not to care what they think, to truly test what I think. Do I have what it takes to put it all on the line? Why not? I’ve crashed. Boy have I crashed. I’ve crashed cars, marriages, motorcycles, businesses... you name it, I’ve crashed it. But I stand back up. I don’t know how not to. And today, after a life mostly spent in a business suit, I’m more often in a motorcycle racing suit, as the owner of New York City Motorcycles. My first real hobby – motorcycles – came not long after that May day that shall live in infamy, as Franklin Roosevelt famously said. My hobby has been running amok ever since. That is how Evel Knievel inspired me.

H H H H H H H H H H H H H H


AUTHOR’S NOTE

It is tempting to deify Evel (the daredevil) as superhuman. His imagination for achieving the impossible was matched by a singular testicular fortitude to follow through. Certain death be damned. Whether he made the landing or not didn’t matter. He gave us his word. He would make the jump or hurt himself trying. The hard-headed determination that made him fly would later reveal Evel (the flawed human) – unhealthily self-absorbed and unable to control deep narcissism and rage – at his worst, manifest in non-sporting use of a baseball bat. While Knievel was healing from his most recent round of injuries in 1977, the book Evel Knievel on Tour was released. Written by Knievel’s promoter for the Snake River Canyon jump, Shelly Saltman, the book painted an unflattering picture of Knievel’s character, alleging that he abused his wife and kids, and used drugs. Knievel, with both arms still in casts, flew to California to confront Saltman. One of Knievel’s associates held Saltman while Knievel attacked him with an aluminium baseball bat, declaring, ‘I’m going to kill you!’ Knievel repeatedly aimed blows at Saltman’s head, who blocked the blows with his left arm. The victim’s arm and wrist were shattered in several places before he fell to the ground unconscious. It took numerous surgeries and permanent metal plates for Saltman to regain the use of his arm. On October 14, 1977, Knievel pleaded guilty to battery and was sentenced to three years’ probation and six months in county jail, during which he publicly flaunted his brief incarceration for the press. Knievel lost most marketing endorsements and deals, including Harley-Davidson and Ideal Toys. With no income from jumping or sponsorship, Knievel was eventually declared bankrupt.

H H H H H H H H H H H H H 57





OKIE DOKIE RACE >

Words: Gary Inman Photos: Ryo Tsuchiyama

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T’S DECEMBER IN Japan, and, incredibly, T-shirt weather. The flat track gods have shone on Kawagoe’s tiny short track. Organised by Brat Style founder Go Takamine and his partner, Masumi, this inaugural Okie Dokie Race follows the template of Dirt Quake, Hell on Wheels, the Born Free Stampede and other 21st century races that place participation and inclusion at the top of their mission statements. Reflecting Go’s personal tastes, the event is aimed at older bikes. It seems monoshocks are barred, so the most modern bikes

in action are 1990s Yamaha retros. There are classes for choppers, handshifters, singles, twins, women, an open class and hooligans, though hooligan racing is yet to catch on here. Japanese flat track had become almost dormant, since the Field Day series folded following a serious accident, and Okie Dokie might be the biggest ever flat track race in Japan, in terms of entries. Now, thanks to the Have Fun!! crew and Okie Dokie reinvigiorating the sport with the emphasis on beginners, Japan has a great foundation to build on.

RIDE IT, DON’T HIDE IT One of the most pleasing things about flat track is how many hugely expensive bikes turn up to race. Two grids of 1940s handshift bikes came out of the woodwork for Okie Dokie, including this Zero Engineering 1942 WLA that was ridden hard by Mack… Collectors be damned!


WARDROBE MALFUNCTION I’m not some stick-in-the-mud recreationist, but Monster Energy motocross pants should never be seen in the same postcode as an Indian Scout Bobber

NOT TOO SHINY TO RACE Genuine XR750 with a 1990s boombox exhaust silencer and what looks like an H-D frame. It set hearts racing

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KILLER ZEE Kasuo Arai, of aircooled Kawasaki specialist Blue Thunder, is more used to racing old Zeds at Pikes Peak, but brought one of his street bikes out for the Hooligan class. He took it home in the tiniest pick-up truck in the world


FOCUS Okie Dokie was many racers’ dirt track cherry pop. It’s the bike sport you can jump into with both feet (as long as one of them has a hot shoe strapped to it)

MRS BRAT STYLE Masumi helped organise and run the event, flagged off some of the races and went on to win the women’s class

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HIGH MIDS, WHITE PIPES Perhaps there’s a race going on behind Kousuke ‘BakaMusuko’ Fukuda in the Chopper class, and that’s what people are looking at, because he smoked everyone. And he’s the son of Mr Buddy Cycles, so he’s been taught well

SAVED IT! Plenty of riders discovered the risks of letting ambition write cheques their talent couldn’t cash, but somehow this guy saved his shovel from an expensive highside


HOT SEATS In the days before Okie Dokie, I kept bumping into European and US visitors who all said that Go was loaning them a bike to race. I wondered where he was getting 20 bikes from for all these visitors, but the solution was three riders on each bike in different classes. It was a fun race, so it didn’t matter too much that Co-Built Geoff (550) and Shaun Suicide Machines were racing borrowed SR500s in the Hooligan class. That’s Roland Sands behind on Brat Style’s H-D 45, shared by even more riders

WHAT CAN I RACE? What have you got? This SRV250 raced against an all alloy XR750 (and won…)

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WINNER Kazuo of Buddy Custom Cycles raced a rigid flathead in the handshift class and took a hard-fought win, running a line in what cushion there was. Here he is with legendary Japanese photographer (and part-time announcer) Shogo Nakao

ALL SMILES Masumi on the top step, Go couldn’t look happier. Okie Dokie left everyone grinning


Lewis Leathers Ltd

Universal Racer Jacket Mk2

JACKETS TROUSERS BOOTS GLOVES BAGS GOGGLES ACCESSORIES



FERNIHOUGH How one man fought BMW and the Nazis to become the world’s fastest motorcyclist

Words Mat Oxley Photos: Mutschler archive, Stilltime Collection

E

XW

RIC CRUDGINGTON FERNIHOUGH was an English racer who made his name in the 1920s, rattling around England’s Brooklands speedbowl. When he lost interest in going around in circles, Fernihough was drawn to going as fast as possible in a straight line – he wanted to become the world’s fastest motorcyclist. But Fernihough’s ramshackle record-breaking efforts were a world away from his great rival, the German Ernst Henne, who had the apparently unlimited resources of BMW and the support of their Nazi masters. Tall, thin and short-sighted, Fernihough graduated in chemistry and engineering (or brewing fuels and making motorcycles, as he preferred to call his studies) from Cambridge University. His career was driven by thousands of painstaking hours in his workshop, next to his house on the Brooklands Road, plus good-natured charity, with George Brough, founder Of Brough Superior, and a few others helping out with new and used parts. ‘Ferni was a great character who knew that putting an engine together with dirty hands lost two miles an hour or so,’ said fellow Brooklands star Woolly Worters. Charles Mortimer was another visitor to the Brooklands Road workshop. He marvelled at his host’s working

methods to get the most out of his JAP-powered Broughs. ‘Ferni was a good rider and brilliant engineer and tuner. He took a 500cc cylinder head, cylinder and piston, fitted them to the bottom end of his Excelsior single, then took the bike into Brooklands to check its performance over the measured half-mile,’ wrote Mortimer. ‘When he had obtained the data he needed, he stripped the upperhalf again, made the next set of modifications, before reassembling and re-testing. This process continued until he was completely satisfied he had extracted the utmost. The upper-half was then removed and placed on a shelf; the entire process being repeated with the second top end. Finally, both top ends were placed on a JAP crankcase, producing a very sweet-running 1000cc V-twin. ‘Ferni was a very careful man by nature and his moneysaving sometimes verged on the ridiculous. He would go on wearing the same suit of clothes until you could wring a quart of Castrol out of it. And each rag used for engine cleaning was washed and dried ready for reuse. And he didn’t allow his helper, Francis Beart, to use rags; Francis was limited to newspaper. And if Francis asked for more paper, he was told he was being too extravagant and that one newspaper per day should be more than sufficient.’

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In other words, Fernihough was a skint, eccentric, obsessive boffin, who had to survive any way he could. He offered all kinds of services at his workshop, from supplying complete JAP engines to regrinding cylinders. He sold fuel to passing motorists from a pump in his driveway, which just about kept his car in petrol if he drained the pump feed pipe into a can after each sale. By April 1935 his first, unblown Brough was ready, mostly built up from leftovers. The engine used JAP’s punchy speedway cylinder heads, two carburettors and one Lucas racing magneto per cylinder. First time out at Brooklands he broke the standing-start lap record. Three months later he broke the flying lap record. And in September he beat all-comers – two wheels and four – at the Brighton speed trials. His greatest victim that day was John Cobb in his 450-horsepower 23-litre Napier Railton. However, whereas Cobb got a cheque for £100, Fernihough went home with £30. Fernihough knew he could do better if he could get his hands on a supercharger. But how to acquire such an expensive bit of kit? More charity, of course. Car-racer Henry Laird gave Fernihough a Zoller supercharger. Fernihough found it a devil of a job to get his supercharged JAP engine running right. Balancing both cylinders was very tricky, with one usually running too weak, the other running too rich, which would lead to a lack of performance or overheating and breakages. As usual, he had to use trial and error to get it right, although this time he couldn’t simplify the process by testing each cylinder separately. After hundreds of hours in his workshop and at Brooklands he finally had it running sweetly, using different cams, valve timing and compression ratios in each cylinder. Fernihough returned to Brighton for the 1936 speed trials, where he reached 159 mph – the fastest a motorcycle had travelled in Britain. ‘He got away like lightning and, with his long figure tucked well down, man and machine roared bullet-fashion into the gloom, the war-song of the big twin punctuated by an occasional misfire,’ wrote one observer. ‘This augurs well for his forthcoming attempt on the motorcycle world’s speed record.’ The time had come for Fernihough to take the record back from Germany. He would attend the Reich Records week, where Henne was to give BMW’s fully streamlined 500cc record-breaker its first outing. Fernihough packed his van and set off for Germany, arriving on the Frankfurt autobahn on the eve of the three-day event. Officials of the NSKK (Hitler’s Nazi motor corps) did not welcome him. The whole philosophy of Nazi-backed motorsport was to prove the superiority of German engineers and riders. Fernihough may have lacked the BMW’s Messerschmitt-style bodywork, but he had twice the engine capacity of the BMW.

On the first morning, Fernihough was told he couldn’t run until the following day. On the second and third days he might have got the record but for an oil leak, an ignition misfire and a burnt-out clutch. Meanwhile, Henne set a new world record at 169.05mph. Undaunted, Fernihough had his Lucas magnetos rebuilt by a friendly local Bosch agent and drove his van, with a top speed of 40mph, the 600 miles to Budapest, where the Royal Hungarian Motor Club was staging its own speed week, on the Gyon road. This time he bettered Henne, but the record wasn’t recognised because his ageing SturmeyArcher gearbox stripped a pinion, preventing him from making runs in both directions. Having driven the 1100 miles back to his Brooklands workshop, Fernihough rebuilt the engine, replaced the gearbox and immediately returned to Gyon. The record was within his grasp, so the plan was to better Henne’s time before the end of London’s Olympia motorcycle show, which would be promotional gold for Brough and JAP. The engine was now belting out at least 100bhp. He reached an impressive 167.8mph mean, but still 1.25mph short of Henne’s record. He returned home empty-handed. In just a few weeks, Fernihough had driven almost 5000 miles, loping along dusty, bumpy, singlecarriageway roads and completed more than 30 tiresome border crossings. And all for nothing. There was one obvious lesson from these failures: more slippery bodywork was required. Fernihough knew nothing about aerodynamics and his first attempt at streamlining – bent and welded into shape by a Brooklands panel-beater – was a disaster. He had no idea why, but it was all wrong, because it shifted the centre of drag dangerously far behind the Brough’s centre of gravity. He was playing with forces he didn’t understand, which threatened to lift the front of the bike and create dangerous instability. He understood he couldn’t afford a mistake; at 170mph he was unlikely to get a second chance. ‘Your job is to stop a wobble starting,’ he said. ‘If a wobble did start, you would be helpless. Things happen pretty fast at that speed.’ Aware of the importance of what he was doing, if not the science of it, Fernihough took more care sketching out his second streamline. ‘I have had to learn aluminium welding and panel-beating in order to make some streamlining myself,’ he wrote in March 1937. ‘Even if I could afford a panel-beater’s wages, I am unable to engage one, owing to [pre-war re-armament] aeroplane work.’ In the same letter he bemoaned his impoverished quest for immortality – unable to rent a dyno, let alone a wind tunnel. ‘Outside a few enthusiasts like JAP and George Brough, no one gives a damn whether we get any records.’ Having spent the winter tin-bashing, Ferni fired up the redesigned Brough in April and took it for a night-time test run on a Brooklands service road. Ever impatient, he

‘First time out at Brooklands he broke the standing-start lap record’


Previous page: Balls out at Brooklands (this page, clockwise from top) At the 1937 Dutch TT; Comparing notes with Italian rival Piero Taruffi, who also briefly held the title World’s Fastest Motorcyclist, in the late-’30s. The Italians and Germans had fascist government backing, while Ferni was selffinanced; The blown Brough in ’36. Huge twin magnetos are feeding two plugs each to ensure there’s enough spark to ignite the compressed charge

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decided it was time to set course for Gyon again. By now, Fernihough was good friends with the Royal Hungarian Motor Club, who had taken a real liking to this very British adventurer. ‘The Englishmen hit Budapest on 11th April,’ wrote Motor Cycling. ‘And after the tumult and shouting of the Royal Hungarian Motor Club had abated somewhat, Eric suggested that it would be nice if the Gyon stretch could be closed on the 12th for preliminary trials. The cost of closing the road and manning it with the appropriate functionaries was about £73.’ This fee included a number of local gendarmes, who stood at each end of the record strip, with rifles and fixed bayonets. But the gods were once again against him – a storm blew across the Great Hungarian Plain, all the way from the Transylvanian Alps. Fernihough waited hours for the wind to abate, then bettered 177mph running downwind. ‘The Brough, an ear-assaulting streak of shining aluminium, was going like a blockbuster,’ wrote Motor Cycling. ‘Magnificent!’ Fernihough was a fearsome sight as he built speed through a long, sweeping corner before the start of the measured mile and kilometre. ‘He was having to lay the bike into a full bank at 150mph, both wheels drifting a good foot off their line, quite visibly, in the process.’ His fastest run yet was troubled. ‘During that first run the wind stove in the lenses of his goggles until they pressed on his eyeballs, producing partial blackout and giving the road ahead the hazy, flickering look of an Edwardian movie.’ Once again the return run ruined everything: the engine’s final-drive sprocket sheared. Two days later he tried again. ‘At 4.30am the whole light-hearted gallimaufry of gendarmes, soldiers, timekeepers, ambulance wallahs and RHAC men once again assembled at the Gyon stretch and once again the wind was up to its tricks,’ reported Motor Cycling. Finally, the wind subsided and Fernihough was on his way, again haunted by a misfire and fading light, which did make for an impressive last run of the day. ‘Just at sunset he had a run,’ wrote The Motor Cycle. ‘It was a sight never to be forgotten. He was travelling westward – straight towards the setting sun. The machine and he were a black atom, growing ever smaller as seemingly they dived into the inferno of the setting sun. All this to the raucous war-cry of the supercharged JAP on full throttle.’ Once more everyone went back to Budapest, where the Brough’s magnetos were again investigated. Several days later the crew returned to Gyon. ‘This time not a miss! Not a stutter!’ reported Motor Cycling. ‘Up went the revs in a howling cadence to peak. Through the approach curve Ferni laid the blown Brough way over in a steep bank; then she was sliding, sliding…

Would he, could he, hold that slide? Yes, up she came and down the straightaway like an artillery shell! “This is it,” Eric Rowland, Ferni’s mechanic, kept repeating. “This is it.” And it was it. Hastiest in the world!’ Fernihough had finally done it, he was the fastest motorcyclist on the planet. Running without bodywork, because of the sidewinds, the Brit recorded a mean of 169.8mph, 0.73mph better than Henne. It was time to celebrate, as Motor Cycling reported: ‘Back at the hotel in Budapest, in the bottom of Ferni’s suitcase, was a neatly pressed dark blue suit. When a man becomes the fastest rider in the world, the occasion deserves to be marked in some special way. “Tonight,” Eric declared with the excusably portentous air of one who announces the dawning of a new millennium, “I’m putting on sombre suitings and we are going to the Arizona.” Ferni had a particular hankering to see the inside of the Arizona, a rather exclusive joint where they looked down their noses at plus-fours and polo sweaters.’ The merry band’s return to Britain was undertaken in more joyous mood than previous homecomings. ‘Their homebound journey across Hungary, Austria, Germany and Belgium assumed the character almost of a triumphal progress. All the traffic laws were waived in their honour. Mounted delegations from the local motorcycle clubs halted the big Ford van on the outskirts of this or that city, formed out-rider convoys and conducted the Englishmen to sumptuous temples of stomachworship, vying with one another in organised contests of hospitality,’ wrote the magazine. Back in Britain… nothing. Not at Dover, nor at Brooklands. He wasn’t invited to Buckingham Palace, like four-wheeled record-breakers Campbell and Seagrave had been, he had to make do with the occasional visit from motorcycle journalists. As he told one, ‘Perhaps the most unexpected sensation at high speed is that of finding your cheeks flapping against your teeth like a flag in a breeze. The only way to avoid toothache is to suck them in and hold them still. And there are so many other things to occupy your attention. I had one speed wobble – at over 170mph – and recovered in time to laugh at the spectators who were trying to scramble over the roadside banks out of the way of the crash they imagined was coming.’ Sadly, Fernihough didn’t have the last laugh. His record was taken away in October that year by Italian Piero Taruffi and then regained by Henne in the November. Fernihough returned to Gyon in 1938 but died attempting to retake the record. It was 23 April, St George’s Day.

‘The Brough, an ear-assaulting streak of shining aluminium, was going like a blockbuster’

Read more tales of pioneering record breakers in Mat Oxley’s book, Speed: The One Genuinely Modern Pleasure. Available from matoxley.bigcartel.com


PROVEN PERFORMANCE //

Engine / Exhaust / Cams / Intake / Big Bore kit

www.sscycle.com


Part Caveman See See’s Thor Drake harnesses his inner Neanderthal to ‘improve’ the FTR 1200 Words: Thor Drake Photos: Scott Rounds

T

HE YEAR IS almost 2020... more precisely, 2019. Humans have completely lost touch with their animalistic behaviour. We now yell at little black plastic puck things to play music and dim the lights. We poke pieces of glass for enjoyment. Computers have taken over many everyday tasks. People are judged on how many ‘followers’ they have in those little computers… It’s like a scene from Logan’s Run, but is a grim reality. Our urge to find a utopian way of life has directed the human race to rely on nifty computers for solving problems with practical, efficient solutions. Which

is nice, and I’m not one to deny myself the benefits of these things. I am, however, still part caveman, I recognise that about my personality. I love mechanical things for their clever engineering and design, but I also have a yearning for destruction, adventure and the lack of control that comes with it. So, while we are on the subject of control, let’s talk about sensors and censorship… The little things have snuck into new motorcycles here and there to avoid potential problems altogether. They enforce rules before, making it hard, sometimes impossible, to break them.

SUBFRAME Both seat and gas tank mount to the subframe. Caveman says ‘Me like one style of frame, make own so looks like main-frame. Now just frame and bolt-on frame – both metal like axe. Me like race chair so me put fibreglass flat track chair on. Me have friend, Ginger, make cow skin race cushion, me thank New Church Moto.’ Thor says The factory subframe is a very clever sub-assembly, made in two cast aluminium pieces that protect the gas tank and is easily removed for replacement if damaged.

ANTI-LOCK BRAKES Safely bring bike to a halt without skidding. Caveman says ‘Me like skidding, so me pull mess of snakes out centre of bike, replace with one snake, help make brake lock or skid whenever him want.’ Thor says This extremely complex mechanism looks like something designed for interstellar time travel. It was removed by unplugging and dislodging from just under the gas tank, by front of rear wheel.


SUSPENSION Factory set-up is miles better than most of the competing models with 5.9in of travel both ends, fully-adjustable inverted telescopic cartridge forks and adjustable Sachs in the rear. Caveman says ‘Me want bounce part less bouncy. Me spend all money on best. No like adjust Sachs much.’ Thor says Penske have a fully-adjustable rear shock that will steady the back end. GP Suspension make drop-in cartridges that help keep the bike steady in race conditions.

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I know, I know, I’m using this stage to tout my silly agenda, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that part of the fun of motorcycles is that they exist outside safe. The ability to overcompensate with sheer muscle or guts is what has brought us to this area where motorcycles have never been more cleverly designed. We have faster, stronger, lighter machines and people are doing things never thought imaginable on them, and yet we still have to work around this notion that a sensor or suggested rule is going to keep us safe. But, as I always say, it’s not the bike that’s unsafe, it’s the rider. Or, it’s impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. So here is where I bring it back to the See See-built 2019 Indian FTR 1200. Indian Motorcycle listened to

the people and put their money where their mouth is. They developed a motorcycle that is quality mixed with design and function for the right price. The FTR 1200 is an all-round great motorcycle, so good it was hard to change until I invited the caveman to join the party. As I mentioned earlier, I like adventure and excitement. So, to the chagrin of the Department of Transportation and entire Indian design team, most of the modifications I made make the bike sketchy at best, harder to ride and way less safe than stock. The following modifications are mutilations by a guy in his garage with a junky set of tools. Most of my R&D is done by overcompensating with muscle and guts. So in the cavemen spirit, I’ll describe each part and what me-caveman think-do.

TRIPLE CLAMPS Stock yokes are designed to offer the ideal compromise of stability and agility. Caveman says ‘Me want turn quicker, so me want less trail. Me ask Roland Sands for his adjustable-offset triple set-up.’ Thor says Factory triple clamps [still fitted for this shoot, but now replaced] are good for road riding but the tight turning of flat track racing requires quicker action by pulling the front wheel back. This will make the bike a bit more fidgety on road.

TIP SENSOR Cuts engine should bike fall over. Caveman says ‘No need for stop bike. When me crash, me want get up and keep going without losing place in line.’ Thor says Located behind the battery in front of the motor, disconnecting it, and relocating the battery, makes the bike look cleaner, but lights the Check Engine warning on the tachometer. Also, you could run into starting issues lengthening the positive battery lead. Solution: remove tachometer and blinking warning light. Voila!


ECU All new bikes have fuel injectors that run super efficiently and good when everything is stock. Caveman says ‘Me no tell, but figure out how to make work.’ Thor says ECU modifiers like Power Commanders will most likely be available shortly after bikes are available. I can’t wait!

WHEELS Factory wheels look good, are light and strong but are 19in front, 18in rear. This, Indian say, offers more tyre choices. Caveman says ‘Me like round things only in 19in so me have Kosman build new round thing for front and back. Me add bigger 38mm Brembo-style twin-piston stopper. Make for better skid.’ Thor says The factory Brembo brakes are pretty amazing, stopping power is more than enough, unless you remove the front brake like cavemen do. Hence the addition of a bigger rear brake.

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Mate! Mate! Half your bike is missi... Oh, hang on a sec. Manu Jouan and his CR450-based cyber-whippet

EXHAUST Headers are nicely designed, while the cat and muffler are massive and heavy but keep the bike quiet and clean burning. Caveman says ‘Me like LOUD, make look fast.’ Thor says Vance & Hines sent a beautiful race muffler that makes the bike sing.

CONCLUSION I thank Indian for making an amazing race horse. I think they should make bikes less restricted by sensors, but as long as there’s a will, there’s a way to make danger!




Words: Gary Inman Photos: Ian Ellenwood

I

T’S 2019 AND European governments have internal combustion engines in their sights. Whether this is for purely environmental reasons or as a handy revenue raiser through daily charges to access city centres, forcing consumers to buy expensive new cars and bikes to avoid them, is debatable. Taxing a ten-year-old motorcycle to ride into London is not addressing environmental change in any meaningful way. But in any case, I actually want an electric motorcycle. One like this, built around a 2013 Zero XU by Colt Wrangler Co of Texas. We had a few questions for the founder, starting with the unavoidable... Colt Wrangler Lyons? Is that your real name? Yes, it’s my full birth name and the greatest gift that my parents gave to me. Especially when it comes to building a brand. I’ve met a couple of people named Colt but not many. One of them is a friend of mine and he was also a bull rider, but now he’s a professional bullfighter. I sponsor him so you’ll see pictures I’ve posted of him on my Instagram page. I’ve met one other person named Wrangler. It’s his first name and he’s also a bull rider. Go figure. Wait. Bull rider? I haven’t been on a bull since 2012 or so, before that I’d been riding fullsize bulls [on the rodeo circuit] from the time I was 15. I just wasn’t as competitive as I needed to be to make it professionally and I wasn’t getting

any better so I called it quits. Rodeo becomes such a big part of your identity, especially as a young man, it can be really hard to let that go. I really do miss the sport and the culture. Back to the bike. Compared to most regular frames the Zero XU’s is quite complicated and not very pretty, did it cause problems to work with? Surprisingly, it didn’t give me any. I thought it would, but I basically didn’t touch it. I cut two small tabs off the downtube and that was it. I recently built a 2018 model with the same aluminium body styling and I didn’t do a thing to that frame. Yes, it is more complicated than your average pre-’80s motorcycles, but I still think it’s less complicated than many of today’s motorcycle frames. Some of the more modern bikes I’ve customised took a lot of modifications just to create simple, straight body lines. There’s a lot going on under all the plastics these days. The Zero was pretty straightforward. If you’re anything like me, and don’t fully understand anything electrical, it’s probably not the best idea to mess with the wiring other than changing the lighting. Really, this bike is a breeze to customise. There’s a lot of things you don’t have to worry about, like emissions, tuning, fluids, control cables... I moved some electrical components, like relocating the dash to the centre of the dummy tank.

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This was the first tank (albeit a dummy one) you ever made. What was the process, do both sides match, and if not, does it matter? I started by gluing together blocks of florist’s foam, the stuff they use to hold stems for a display, then shaping it. From there I made paper templates and traced the templates to aluminium sheet, cut them out and shaped them. Both sides do not match perfectly. I don’t think I’ve been able to replicate anything perfectly twice. The more I do it, the better I get, of course. I’m a perfectionist so it gets really frustrating at times being bound by my amateur fabrication abilities, especially as this was the first time I’d welded aluminium. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m just beginning to learn and that it’s handmade. The whole build took about three months and at one point I had to cut the entire right side of the tank off to start over, after I had already welded it together. I was so frustrated at first, but it came out a lot better the second time around. Also, I was able to do it much faster the second time. I think what matters most is giving the customers something they are proud of. A lot of imperfections that get to me are hardly ever noticed by other people, even if I point them out. Are you surprised not more customisers have embraced electric? Not really. So many of the bikes look like toys and I think people turn their noses up at them, just like I did. I underestimated them and had no interest. The instant torque, handling and super-easy operation really took me by surprise. It’s a totally different riding experience. I’ve customised and ridden a 2018 Zero FX recently and it definitely had more power than the 2013. I’m not sure what other changes have been made but this 2013 XU has Fast Ace suspension and the 2018 FX had Showa. I think affordability is another factor stopping people customising electric bikes. They haven’t been around long enough for people to pick up a cheap, used electric on Craigslist like many of us often do when purchasing motorcycles. But I’m really excited to see what the future has in store for electric motorcycles. Especially for small, grassroots electric bike companies like Zero.

@coltwrangler.co


(clockwise from left) Li-ion battery gives 42ft.lb of torque and 28bhp. Orginal hub was relaced with a 19in rim; a touch easier that riding bulls; minimal liquids, but chain lube splatter is one of them



Words & photos: Dave Bevan

It’s about massaging rusty old shit and making it work again, it’s about building bikes with creativity not credit cards, altering things that were perfectly alright to start with, about autojumbles and barter instead of catalogues and showrooms, spending time not money. It’s about my life as a tight twat.*

*Manifesto from Pete Stansfield’s blog, Eat the Rich UK

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‘I got my first motorbike at 16, in 1969, a 250cc BSA C12 that I paid £17.50 for’


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Y FIRST CRASH, I was about two years old I think. I drove my tin pedal-powered car straight into my poor old nan down the garden, knocking her arse-over-tit... She died not long afterwards come to think of it! I don’t reckon it was necessarily related, though she was a tad neurotic.’ I’m sat in Pete Stansfield’s house in North Yorkshire (Pete the Rich; bike builder/racer, perpetual tinkerer, rag and bone man, archivist, author of eattherichuk.blogspot.com, and also, it appears, serial crasher) listening to him recount his colourful and chequered collision history. ‘I’d never thought much about it, until my mate Tiddles told me that I crashed more than anyone he’d ever met. I thought that was bollocks, until I gave it a bit more thought and realised he was probably right. I started writing them all down once, but bobbed it off because it quickly spiralled out of control, ironically.’ At this point, Pete's wife, Ali, chimes in. ‘One of the first dates he took me out on, we were driving through Malton and Peter kept pointing out ‘his’ fence and ‘his’ tree and so on. When I asked how come they were his, he replied, ‘Well, I knocked them down and had to pay to put them back up, so I consider them mine.’ This former crash-test dummy seems a little out of sorts with the present day Pete sat across from me, whose calm disposition and quietly smiling eyes glimmer with more than a hint of mischief. He reminds me more of some sort of mechanicallyminded minor Buddha than a reckless boy racer, though as the old Four Tops song goes, still waters do indeed run deep, and in this case, wildly as well. ‘I was always into engines and mechanical things when I was a kid, and then hooning about the woods in and on them, which there are plenty of around this part of North Yorkshire. Writing various vehicles off as I went. It was an exciting thing to do when there wasn’t much else going on. I got my first motorbike at 16, in 1969, a 250cc BSA C12 that I paid £17.50 for. I rode it around and to and from school for a year, then sold it on, also for £17.50, which I was quite happy about,’ now he is starting to sound more like present day wheeling and dealing Pete. ‘And then Easy Rider and not long after that On Any Sunday happened...’ I first came into Pete’s orbit via his blog, which from late 2009 when I’d visit for a daily injection of cool motorabilia, Pete’s potted photographic history, amusing musings and parts for sale and trade from his covetable, constantly changing stash pile. A digital crossroads for like-minded individuals and an online trading post in the outback of the Internet. The parts trading and selling has been Pete’s sole income, in one form or another, since he was sacked from his last ‘proper’ job back in

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1970-something, working as a salesman for a local luxury car yard of illrepute. Something about a crashed company car (he took both wing mirrors, chrome side panels and all the door handles clean off his boss’s MG, trying to fit between two lorries through a gap just shy of a MG’s width, in the exact same spot he’d previously written off his old man’s Mini). And perhaps some other, slightly more nefarious stuff too, though that is probably best left languishing in the past. In today’s increasingly digital-navel-gazing world of Instagram and the like – portals for style-over-substance instant gratification – Eat the Rich UK was more like the 2000s version of a rambling, photocopied ’zine you might stumble across hidden inside the sleeve of a punk rock record, then spend the following months poring over every little facet and weird detail, connecting the dots and the names and faces of those mentioned therein, which make up a scene and a community that might otherwise pass you by completely. I’m pretty sure I first discovered the old Sideburn blog, and in turn an early issue of this magazine you’re now holding, via Pete’s blog, along with countless other connections and communications, which have often proven much bigger in real terms than the sum of their cyber parts. The time a strange-shaped parcel unexpectedly turned up for instance, when I was recovering from some hassle I’d had with a 4x4 while out on my BSA Bantam. Inside the parcel was a set of mini ape hangers, an Eat the Rich T-shirt, a bunch of EtR stickers and a note from Pete (who I hadn’t met by this point) saying, ‘These are to help get the Banty back on the road, get better soon.’ I later found out that Pete had seen a photograph of the bent Bantam on the Sideburn blog. I still sport

the shirt, the BSA still sports the bars, and Pete’s generosity helped get the bike back on the road and me back on my feet, and the friendships and connections forged back then grow ever more important by the day. Unprompted altruistic generosity is not something generally associated with autojumbledom in my experience, where disgruntled traders become ever more bitter and jaded with each bad trade, bunk deal, and cold, crap swapmeet. But then again, Pete is not your stereotypical grumpy rusty-junk curmudgeon. Likewise, with his easy-going disposition, nor does he fit in with some of the overly serious pseudo outlaws of the chopper world he deals parts with day in, day out. I wonder why, out loud... ‘I dunno really. I think some folks just try a bit too hard... to be cool, to be something that they’re not... to have fun. You don’t need to try too hard to have fun! So much of the bike scene is overly nostalgic, looking backwards at a time that probably never really existed anyway. I’m constantly tinkering because I like to have stuff to look forward to, like the 2019 DTRA season, and this pre-unit race bike I’m building for the first race in April.’ The bike in question is Pete’s current labour of love; a race-fit 1951 Triumph Thunderbird, that he’s building out of a ‘rotten pile of rusty crap’ to campaign in this year’s DTRA vintage dirt track series, and a sister bike to Old Blu, a survivor British chopper of some pedigree, that has been featured in various magazines since it was originally built in the 1970s (this is the first time in its current, actually blue guise) and one of the few bikes Pete hasn’t broken up and sold off in parts. ‘I have sold it before actually, and regretted it instantly, so bought it back when the chance came,’ he says. Not much is sacred around these parts; everything is broken down and sold on, but Old Blu might just be as close to holy as it gets. Considering its heavy history, Pete has well and truly made it his own through its various incarnations under his ownership, including a stint with a reversed cylinder head; high, shotgun pipes sticking straight out behind from the backwardsfacing exhaust stubs and the carburettor dangling precariously from a homemade

(above left) Short shorts, white smoke, big boots, bigger grin – the Zen of Pete (above) The smorgasbord wall


manifold out front. ‘It looked the shit, but ran like actual shit,’ Pete deadpans, though he took it round the track at several Dirt Quakes. The current version is the best yet, and Pete reckons the race bike will be better still. ‘It’ll be a bit like Blu, but better, cos the frame’s actually straight, and the 33-mil Marzocchi forks are a lot smarter than the old Honda forks on Blu, and I’ve built it using some really nice bits, like a four-plug race

cylinder head and hot 3134/T140 race cams, twin Monoblocs, Borrani rims and lots of oneoff handmade bits, so it’ll be faster, and just better... well, we’ll see anyway.’ It’s not just old Triumphs that fill Pete’s days and workshop, and he’s certainly no brand or style snob. At one time or another, you’d be just as likely to find mind-meltingly fast Hayabusa drag bikes parked next to CCM scramblers and full-suspension

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(clockwise from top) Summer of love – Pete’s sister sat on one of the many Tritons he’s owned; Glasses, bowlcut, clip-ons; Pete’s first ride was this BSA C12; No shirt, no shoes, no ccs, no problem for halcyon hippy hols in Greece; Tuff Trump; Mid-’90s look demanded a borrowed dog, borrowed shades, borrowed waistcoat – lilac chop is the model’s own. At least the bull terrier looks like it’s enjoying the experience


(clockwise from top) Could this photo be any more ’80s? Looking like a local radio DJ with the help of a smoking hot Opel Manta, that is having its style cramped by a significantly less tasty caravan on the towbar; ‘What ya rebellin’ against, kid?’ Whatever it is, it’s best done in comfortable slippers; When the going gets weird, the weird break bikes; Pete doesn’t just love and deal in two-wheelers, rallying has been a big part of his life. Imagine the spinejarring crunch that Escort he’s racing landed with

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mountain bikes leant up against 1920s’ Rudge boneshakers, in and among mountains of GSX-R parts, which are the main chunk of Pete’s daily bread and butter. ‘Oh aye, GSX-Rs were the first production race-looking bike you could totally modify and put your stamp on. I just like modified bikes. I didn’t have a chopper for years; it was all cafe racers and clip-ons, but then you start experimenting with high bars and away you go, the next thing. I just like modifying and messing with stuff, making it my own. ‘You go to a classic bike show and there’ll be rows of identical reproduction Gold Stars, all exactly the same, and all horribly expensive, and I just don’t see the point. I like to cobble my bikes together, and then they look like my bikes. Every now and again I get an idea that I’d like a dead standard, practical bike, that I can ride in all weathers without drowning and just leave well alone and be content with, but there’s no point, because I know I’d get something, ride it around for a bit and then starting thinking and tinkering and taking stuff off, and before long it’d just be another one of my bikes! But that’s OK because bikes are meant to be used. They’re not ornaments. ‘Bikes, particularly

n Pete’s eattherichuk.blogspot.com hasn’t been updated since 2014, as planning the next day’s post was keeping him and his over-active brain up at night. He keeps threatening to fire the old thing back up again if it hits a million views. It’s currently at around 933,850.

self-made bikes, are, or should be at least, the most fun thing; the ultimate, exciting, fun thing. But it seems as if [the current chopper scene] has sort of ‘progressed’, or maybe digressed, from the scruffy ’60s- and ’70s-inspired bikes of the early 2000s, to modern takes on the mad show versions of the late ’70s. It’s like with all this backwards looking, the cycle is repeating in exactly the same way it did the first time round, only 30-40 years later on... Up to about ’74 it was great, and then suddenly everything changes to all these really mad things – bikes with no engine internals and superchargers and that, total form over function. And everything’s so expensive now, which will take the fun right out of anything. If you’re conscious of how much or how rare something is, it’s hard to actually enjoy it.’ It takes a lot of energy to be interested in and excited by old vehicles for the best part of seven decades, not to mention a healthy independent streak, several good leaps of faith and a nose for a deal to manage to shape your world around your passions, and in turn make your passions your (and your family’s) life-long livelihood, especially while managing to stay curious and content in a world full of grumpy old junk dealers and wannabe toughguys. I put this to Pete. ‘Well, yeah, maybe...’ he says, with his usual deadpan, before adding with a sly grin, ‘That, and being a tight twat.’



The rhythmic thud of a 350 Enfield carries our man through ten dusty days of serenely stunning Sri Lanka Words & Photos: Gary Inman

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HE THOUGHT STRUCK ME, I’ve never been overtaken by so many tuk-tuks. Then another notion slapped me across the face, Wait, I’ve never been overtaken by any tuk-tuk before! Motorcycle tour experts Vintage Rides had invited me on a tour, any of theirs I fancied. I’d never visited Sri Lanka, and the timing was right, so the box-ticker in me chose that one. There were more adventurous options, over the icy wastes of Mongolia (see SB30) or battling the rock-strewn paths of Nepal, but Sri Lanka served up a beautiful country, great people, varied roads, incredible accommodation and magnificent curry. The island is like a laidback India, its nearest neighbour. The locals live at a level Europeans wouldn’t tolerate, but there isn’t the same poverty as the worst of India. At times the pace was very laid back. When I was overtaken by a young couple on a 100cc Hero Honda, the woman on the back seemingly breastfeeding her baby under her loose top, I was ready to unleash all the Royal Enfield 350’s 20odd horsepower and really cut loose. I got my opportunity on dirt roads and mountain twisties through tea plantations. Thanks Sri Lanka, you beauty.


In the groove. 6.30am, out of bed and straight into dusty riding kit. Breakfast of fruit, eggs, toast, fresh juice, tea. On the bike, ride all day, with long stops at local shacks, lakesides and restaurants, lots of scenery. Then off the bike, normally by 5, give or take an hour. Swim, change, briefing for the next day at 7, always 7, eat, Lion lager or two, sleep, repeat. Dream holiday

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Spending ten long, sweaty days zig-zagging the island on an Enfield Classic 350 made me realise why so many people come home from a trip like this and buy a Bullet. This is the current unit construction version. It’s as sturdy and uncomplicated as a clog. This example had been well used before I was trusted with it and I still had a tear in my eye when I had to hand the keys back. Adventure bikes don’t need to cost £16,000. In fact, you’ll be more likely to adventure if you’ve only got a couple of grand in the game and a bike the local blacksmith can fix

While the accommodation was often luxury boutique establishments, roadside breaks were usually taken in ‘real’ Sri Lanka and usually good. Skinny tree trunk is holding up a fusebox

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Number of elephants seen walking in street

A new Hindu temple being built in a small village. Sri Lanka is big on religion, with Buddhists, Hindus and Christians all living in the same villages. Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, that only reached a ceasefire in 2009, was fought about ethnic, not religious, differences. The reasons didn’t make much difference to the 100,000 dead

For a country so freshly out of a civil war, there seemed to be next to no hangover, at least from a tourist perspective, and we covered a lot of miles. We were there for independence day, and flags flew everywhere, but the island and its inhabitants couldn’t be more chilled

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(above) The road back down from Lipton’s Seat through the tea plantations. You can see two of the pickers. It was a struggle to keep my eyes on the road with scenery like this. (left) At times the pace the group moved at was frustrating. Vintage Rides have tours that demand different levels of riding and one rider out of his depth held us up. This was an intermediate level option and shouldn’t cause any moderately able rider any trouble. In any case, there were still some opportunities to blast along empty dirt roads

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When you see a bloke commuting home on an Asian elephant you do your damnedest to grab your phone from your pocket for a snap. I saw other elephants, legs chained together, carrying tourists. It’s not a good look for anyone involved. (below) Glamping at the Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge, with a view of the Knuckles mountain range


The group was confused when told we had to park our Enfields outside a restaurant and climb into the back of a pick-up truck to reach the Ella Jungle Resort. After ten minutes driving down a cliff, we got in a cable car...

... for the last leg of the transfer to the accommodation for the night, in a deep, jungle valley. This disembodied Mitsubishi engine powered the cable cars. It was quiter than most of the vehicles on the road

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Prayers said while riding on mountain roads and sitting in cable cars Hairpins for days. We climbed and descended mountains countless times. (right) Leaning on a banyan tree, looking at the Indian Ocean. Bliss

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Sam has a coconut. This isn’t something put on for tourists, it’s what the locals quench their thirst with from roadside stalls

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Number (out of ten) of dinners that were curry

(right) Our guide, Reshad, in front of the Diyaluma Falls. They are 620ft above the road and not even the biggest we saw. (below) There wasn’t a second I didn’t feel overdressed, but my Northern European mentality won’t allow me to ride in anything but long trousers, boots and a jacket. Not even seeing this Sri Lankan Benny Hill in bare feet

Lakes, mountains, the smell of banana trees, UNESCO sites dotted hither and yon, the Indian Ocean, mountain-top villages, plantations, plains, rolling countryside. Sri Lanka crams a lot in, and so did this trip


(above) If one of your gods has eight arms and a necklace of decapitated heads, your temples are not going to be beige. (right) Hotels and lodges were incredible. This one is in Kalpitiya. Vintage Rides are EU-based and have been operating Royal Enfield tours since 2006. They offer trips in 12 countries across Asia, Africa and South America, introducing riders to the people and landscapes. This tour is The Roads of Ceylon: 12 days; 870 miles (1400km); available January to April. For more information, visit www.vintagerides.travel

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Mosquito bites amassed on first day



A glimpse into the lives of Lennard Schuurmans’ tattoo flash characters

Rich

Words & illustration: @tattoo.lenny

Fuck my life! Rich had the feeling he was not very popular in his new neighbourhood. It was pure luck he was wearing his chequered, arrowproof vest and helmet. He wondered if he had made the right decision. ‘Loud pipes save lives’ it said on the T-shirt. Trying to be nice never seemed to work these days. 105


Gary can almost taste that 1st place plastic trophy. Did the Sideburn race shirt and goggles make the difference? Only one way to find out, get yours at sideburn.bigcartel.com

PROJECT BIKES The bipolar existence of Sideburn’s sand racer

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HEN I FIRST introduced this Honda 650 sand racer in SB30, I wrote that ‘sand racing is a budget affair for me’. Well, that seems to have changed. I never aim to compete in a full Mablethorpe race season, like I try to do with the DTRA dirt track races. There are too many sand races over the course of their winter schedule and I have a family I want to do weekend stuff with. Still, after four or five seasons of racing, I felt I was a podium-level rider in the Unlimited class, even with a stock Honda 650 bitsa I originally bought for £500. But I was tiring of being

blitzed off the start, even though I enjoyed making up places in the corners, so I contacted Sideburn poet/tester Travis Newbold. Travis runs Newbold’s Motorbike Shop in Colorado. He’s a tuner, racer and Honda singles lover. He said he’d tune my motor if I bought the parts, as a thank you for previous sponsorship. It sounded like it was still going to be budget, so I sent the Honda’s head by UPS. Not long after, Travis messaged to say that once he’d cleaned up the four-valve head he noticed it had a hairline crack, from the spark plug hole. A common Achille’s heel, apparently. He was

Words: Gary Inman Photos: Braking Point Images

reluctant to spend timing porting and fitting big valves in a defective head, but had found a brand new one for sale. That was the moment my sand racer stopped being budget (though, it’s still dirt-cheap compared to road racing). The original Honda cam was sent to Web Cams in California for reprofiling, and Travis ordered oversize Kibblewhite valves, highlift springs, titanium retainers and a Wiseco forged piston. When it all arrived back in England, with the polished and ported head, the piston and barrel were sent to Drake’s in Bradford, Yorkshire, for boring,


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GI’s Mablethorpe Season 45% Joy of 1st place trophy 5% Waterproof socks

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11% Mert Lawwill fantasies

38% Crank seizure disappointment

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while Carl CFM rebuilt the head. The barrel was back in less than a week, then I got on reassembling the engine, with Carl’s supervision, the trickiest part being holding the automatic decompressor while the cam chain and sprocket were fitted. It started first kick and the bike revved so much more quickly. I had never dyno’d it and still haven’t, but it sounded mean and felt fit. I’d already missed a couple of the early-season races, but first time out on the sand the new power was evident, with much improved starts. I was neck and neck with Adam Grice into the first corner, a rider with a tuned 650 who had previously always smoked me.

But there were problems. The bike was still misfiring and breaking down mid-race. The frustration was almost too much. If I hadn’t just spent so much on the engine I think I’d have parked the sand racer up for good. I even began doubting that the increased power would make much difference to my results. Had I spent I don’t know how much, I wasn’t keeping a record, to come third and fourth, like I had with a stock engine? I chased the problem around the loom, thinking I’d solved it, only to turn up at the next race and have it recur. On CFM’s advice, I changed the ignition, from the stock magneto, that didn’t need a battery, to an Ignitech DCCDI, imported from the Czech Republic, that requires a small LiPo battery. A side-effect was I could lose the stator, saving some drag in the engine internals. Minimal gain, I admit it. While going through all this I found two corroded wires, exiting the pulse generator, that were likely to have been the problem all along. Next meeting, the bike finished all five races, which is crucial for a good result and easier said than done in these harsh conditions. I was riding better than ever, having the power to take wider lines which meant I kept on the gas into the corner. I felt like Mert in On Any Sunday. There is no final at Mablethorpe, results are the points accumulated from the day’s five heat races. Due to the King of the Beach, Steve Lomas, being out with bike problems of his own, I won the class. I felt pretty good. I’d never won a motorcycle meeting before. Not only that, I was having brilliant races with another couple of guys in the class. Rather than trying to reel them in the whole time, we were swapping lines and positions for nearly the entire race. But it didn’t last. The following meeting, the bike misfired and ground to a halt in the final race of the day. I think the battery died, because I hadn’t disconnected it between races. It got worse. A couple of meetings later the bike felt slow in practice,

North Sea at your back, brine creeping into every crevice, but when it’s good, it’s really good

so I checked all the obvious things, like carb and loose wires, but found nothing obvious. Then, in the first race of the day, it seized solid. As I pushed the bike back to the van, all I could think about was the damage that might have been done to my beautiful, 25-mile-old Wiseco piston. The strip down, a few days later, revealed the big end had seized. I’d only just changed the oil, and it had the right amount. The top end looked good and oily, the piston appeared brand new, cam didn’t show any signs of oil starvation. There didn’t seem to be any blockages. Looking over my shoulder as I stripped the cases, Carl was disappointed that there was nothing obvious to blame. I contacted Travis for advice. He reckons that the old motor, with, I guess, over 100 races on its clock, and an unknown life as a road bike before that, had finally called ‘Enough!’ under the increased stress and demands of more power. As I write this, the season continues as my engine sits in 100 pieces waiting for a crank rebuild and new conrod. But it’s going to be on hold until next season, because now it’s nearly spring and that means dirt track time…

CONTACTS AND THANKS

CFMsleaford.co.uk 747rider.blogspot.com (Newbold’s) Wdrake.co.uk Ignitech.cz

Read previous sand racer project bike instalments in Sideburn 30, 31 and 32.

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Racewear

Trusted: Todd Marella came to flat track competition late in life, despite watching at Ascot as a Southern Californian kid. This is the kit he races in at Salem, Oregon 1 Arai Vector 2

Purchased two years ago at See See. It’s the best-fitting helmet I’ve had on my melon. I wear the shield up and my glasses protect my peepers, because after all of the articles read, the wisdom shared, the applied potions and venting positions, the cold indoor air at Salem, mixed with my hot air, makes for Tule fog in my dome. The red Sideburn logo sticker makes me look like I’m smiling, because if I’m wearing it, I’m racing, so I am.

2 Langlitz Crescent jacket

Photos: Scott Rounds; Rick Barbosa (action)

I’ve always liked the way green leather looks, just about any shade: vintage Kawasaki; German Polizei coats… you get it. The diamond stitching on shoulder and elbow patches is gold as a nod to the Portland Timbers [soccer team]. Not pictured is my name, sewn on by Roxan of Range Needlework, Portland. She also made a seat pad for my bike from the same leather. Her work is brilliant. The jacket has saved my hide more than once.

3 Dainese Blackjack gloves

What can I say? They fit me like a…

4 Langlitz breeches

Made in Portland, vintage, and tight enough to remind me not to eat that whole burrito. Purchased from Bjorn Drake, and were featured with him wearing them in SB17 highlighting Salem flat trackers.

5 Icon 1000 Elsinore boots

One of my prized pieces of gear, gifted to me by Nean and Amanda one day visiting Icon’s shop at lunch. I love these boots. I dyed them green, and I think they’re one of a kind.

6 Head ski socks

Name Todd Marella Age 55 Job Construction project manager Hometown Portland, OR Bikes 1974 Yamaha MX250 racer 1979 Yamaha XS650 Special road bike

I’ve worn these socks every race I’ve entered. They don’t slide down my skinny legs at all.

7 Icon 1000 Field Armour compression pants

Aaron Cope is a mechanic on another level. He’s incredibly knowledgeable about all things moto and also an experienced racer in several different disciplines, not limited to road racing, supermoto and drag racing. Consequently, he’s no stranger to moto crashes or severe injury. He also has a heart the size of Texas and insisted I have a pair of these compression pants. They are made of Kevlar and riddled with D30 impact padding located strategically to protect everything between kneecap and tailbone. I’ve been on the deck a few times since I began wearing these, and I swear by them. Thanks Cope!

8 Pre-mix

32 parts high-octane, ethanol-free gas, and one part Maxim Castor 927 twostroke ‘bean’ oil. Smells like perfect internal combustion.

9 Sideburn x 250London race jersey

A gift from a really lovely guy, worn over #10, under #2. My first season at Salem, it was my outerwear. I’ll always cherish it.

10 Alpinestars A-10 roost guard, chest, back and rib protector

Thor at See See once told me that ribs were the number one injury for flat trackers. I’d hate to think where I’d be without this piece.

11 3M industrial ear muffs

If I’m not racing, I’m wearing these to watch races because it’s extremely LOUD at Salem.

12 Tools

Pictured are but a handful of tools I take to any race day, many of which were donated by Wallace (whose XS650 was in SB20) prior to his family’s move to Sweden last fall. They include: pliers; lineman’s wirecutters and safety wire pliers; a 12in Williams adjustable wrench; metric spanners; plug wrench; flashlight; Klein folding Allen wrench set; screwdriver and bits; zip ties; magnetic parts tray (nuts, bolts and screws grow legs and flee) and a ballpeen hammer that was grandfather’s and is 50 years old or better. Not terribly useful, but I like having it.

13 Steel shoe

It’s my second. The first was a fine piece made by my friend, Kelly Manahan, for my first race at DirtQuake USA, three years ago. The toe cap was covered with faux leopard skin, in true punk rock fashion. This shoe was crafted by the fellas at MC Custom Fab in Estacada, OR. It’s fantastic.

14 Burrito al pastor

And a medium horchata… Don Pedro’s is one of many Mexican restaurants or trucks dotted along Portland Road in Salem between the freeway and the track. It’s my favourite and it’s now part of my ritual to stop on race day before I get to the track. ¡Qué sabroso!


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All the classic Despatch Rally challenges plus a new day of games and adventure with optional camping. See you on the front line.

04.05 & 05.05.2019 www.despatchrally.co.uk


Cross Bones long sleeve T-shirt

Silver on black. Artwork by Tom J Newell. ÂŁ32 While stocks last Order limited-edition T-shirts, sweatshirts, patches, badges, magazines, subscriptions, art prints, socks and more

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RUBBER FETISH Delving into the the deepest recesses of artist Death Spray Custom’s inspiration folder and pulling out some gems. This issue, rubber up

Tyres

On the reverse of a 1983 Star Wars 3/4in action figure pack you will see the complete range of figures to collect. As a child, I used to study this for hours. It’s maybe one of the pieces that’s had the most influence on me. It’s just a collection of similar objects, but repetition is a fundemental principle in art. There is something satisfying to the human brain seeing objects organised neatly (google ‘things organised neatly’). In my inspiration file there are many versions of this this principle, but for some reason ATV tyres are one of the things that come closest to that early childhood obsession. Take the image on the top right, the tyres are organised neatly, like action figures, each with their

own identity or purpose, like a Gamorrean guards or Ewoks. The images here are merely basic tools to catalogue tyres for advertisment, mainly online. Which brings us around to the famed American artist Roy Lichtenstein’s Tire (1962). If the name is not familiar, you’ll know the pop art he’s famous for, close-up views of comic-strip panels. I don’t have any of those images stored, but I do have his prosaic, generic painting of a tyre. The sort of image that was used in 1960s print adverts. It’s such a dull yet fascinating painting that is both masculine yet powerless; a single tyre. Which introduces another building block of art theory, pattern, and the most beguiling thing about tyres, the way they look and what mark on the world they leave behind.


Above: Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Tire’ from 1962. His painting ‘Masterpiece’, painted the same year, sold in 2017 for $165 million

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SB: That’s obviously an all-Harley podium, were any riders not on XR750s at the time? SB: Hondas were still bringing it, for sure. They dominated in the late ’80s. Garth Brow rode a Honda that night, for the first time ever. It was actually Skip Eaken’s Honda, which normally would have been piloted by Ricky

GR: We’ll continue to sell and work on bikes and motors here at Roeder Racing and we’ll also be promoting our annual vintage race in Wauseon, OH. Five or six years ago, I was asked to race a vintage bike and do a grudge match (Showdown at Sundown) against Jay Springsteen. No one turns down racing one of their idols! It was a success. Springer and I did the grudge match for several years and I fell in love with the race as a whole. Last year, we purchased it and now run a variety of vintage classes – hand-shift, brakeless, vintage twins, board trackers... This year the Showdown once again features Jay Springsteen and his former Harley-Davidson teammate, Steve Morehead. It’s on Friday, July 19th. For more information visit roederracing.com 5

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SB: This page is all about celebrating the joy of podiums and these great archive photos that sum up so much of the era. Are you lining up a trophy girl at your race this year?

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GR: We’re still kicking around the idea. Stay tuned!

Dust, sweat and cheers 40%

Lima, Ohio 1991 Waist-high trophy 15%

Geena Davis lookalike 30%

Flavour savers 15%

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GR: Yeah, that was the Camel Pro Series. They were great for the sport! During the Camel Challenge year they threw a bunch of money towards the series. They definitely put money back in the riders’ pockets, which was nice.

SB: You’re still involved in the sport, can you tell us about your plans for 2019?

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SB: The branding is pretty subtle in this photo, but I’m getting the impression that Camel might have been a sponsor that year.

GR: LOL, besides standing next to them on the podium, no.

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GR: Well, at that time I was 24 years old and thought I was invincible. I was 10ft tall and bulletproof. Now I’m just bulletproof. They were my peers and I had no fear. I always went out on to the track ready to beat everyone. That night in particular, there were quite a few guys in the running. Kevin Atherton, obviously, and there was Rodney Farris, who came in fourth, and Morehead finished fifth. It was a five-man battle that night.

SB: The Trophy girl looks to be enjoying herself, did you ever get chance to, er, spend time with the trophy girls?

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SB: You’re on the podium with a couple of riders, Carr and Parker, who won, what, 16 GNC titles between them? What can you tell us about racing them at that time?

GR: I didn’t make it on the podium much with these guys, so it was always an honour when I did. I always tried to enjoy the moment because next weekend was another race.

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GR: It’s Lima, Ohio, in 1991 and the track was rough that night. I remember running low, which wasn’t my typical line at Lima. I qualified third fastest, behind Steve Morehead and Kevin Atherton. I got second in my heat behind Chris Carr. I lined up on the front row for the main and I remember Atherton and I battling back and forth for a bit. I hit a hole at one point and my handlebars got bent down and I almost crashed! I was able to hold on to it and pull out a third-place podium finish. I rode my ass off that night.

SB: If you had to guess, what was going through your mind at that moment?

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SB: Hi George, your daughter Taaron sent us this photo, can you remember anything about the night it was taken?

Graham, but he got arrested the week before for drunk driving. Garth finished seventh that night at Lima.

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From: George Roeder To: sideburnmag@gmail.com Date: 26 January 2019 Subject: Roeder Pic


Photo: Roeder Family Archive

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