Friday, 30 April 2010


On the early dirt tracks, before Douglas, before JAP, before Jawa, a Rudge was the motor to have. With a four-valve OHV head and four-speed gearbox as early as 1924, they held sway in all aspects of motorcycle sport, so when speedway hit Britain in the late Twenties, a Rudge 350 or 500 was an obvious choice for those who could afford one. Great logo, taken mainly from the Whitworth company when the two bicycle manufacturers merged in 1894. The first Rudge-Whitworth motorcycle offered to the public came in 1911, making this the 100th year of Rudge motorcycles, though production ended in 1939. MP

Thursday, 29 April 2010

King Cinder

King Cinder was a British drama series made for children and screened in 1977. It was based around a young speedway star, played by Peter Duncan, seen above posing on an upright Jawa, and went down well with the nation's post-school telly watchers. I was 12 and spent much of my time wishing my life away so I could be old enough to ride on the road. Back then, learners aged 17 and over could ride a 250 on L plates and when our hero wasn't hammering his methanol-whippet round the track, he was stinking up the streets on an early Kawasaki KH250, one of a clutch of quarter-litre teen lust objects.

Track sequences were shot at Rye House in Hertfordshire using members of the Rye House Rockets, with a young Bobby Garrad standing in for Duncan. Garrad went on to finish third in the 1978 British Under-21 Championship. King Cinder was often described (I'm sure no punnage intended) as 'gritty', dealing as it did with kidnap, organised crime, Corona pop and tank tops (what we Brits call sleeveless pullovers). It's never been released on video or DVD and as far as I know, the only clip available is the one below. MP

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

More Stafford

I forgot this. The lengths people will go to to attract attention to themselves. And for what? Self-promotion?
Those girls in the Welsh national dress look good though. GI

Stafford Classic Bike Show

Had a great ride out to the Stafford Classic Show last Saturday with Ben Miller and Chippy. We met up at the trucker's cafe at the side of the A1 in Colsterworth for breakfast, sausage and egg sarnie, two cups of tea. I don't have breakfast out nearly enough. What a treat.
£1.29 a litre + 27-litre tank = ouch!
Bumped into loads of people I knew including these two, Dave Skooter Farm buying a Gary Nixon shirt from Julian Ryder. Jules is a legendary motorcycle journalist, author and also British Eurosport MotoGP commentator (along with the excellent Toby Moody). He, for me at least, was the soundtrack to Fogarty winning all his World Superbike titles and for that alone his furry fizzog will always have a special place in my life.
Julian had a stand selling lovely, weird motorcycle collectibles...
Including these pre-advertising era speedway vests. Coventry Bees and Poland, pictured.
Loads of neat stuff on the Davida Helmets stand. Including this Death Spray Custom design...
And Hugo Wilson and Fiddy...
The show is huge, fantastic, packed with owners clubs. Like the Raleigh Owners Club...
... and the CZ Owners Club
...and the Rudge Owners Club
This was parked next to the Wall of Death
Good friends Eastie, Steve DL (making dungarees look surprisingly good) and Capt Simo and Louis.
Mr and Mrs Part in 30 years time?
Anthony Co-Built in 30 years time?
The Guzzi kept up well, didn't let me down, even though I was riding with an Aprilia Mille and Bandit 1200 (they obviously could've left me for dead, but the Guzzi didn't embarrass itself). Sun shined all day. Can't beat it. The next one, the Classic Mechanics Show, is in the Autumn. Same place, many of the same stalls, but a bit more focus on post-60s stuff. And Eddie Lawson is guest of honour. G


With a 3 ton flywheel made of granite, it takes a lot of effort to get each new issue of Sideburn cranked over and started. With zero market research when we bolted #1 together, we weren't even sure if we'd have enough material or readership support to make it to #2. Gloriously we have both in abundance. The logistics of kitchen table publishing are draining, so it's always good to get the first commission under way with healthy fat blue spark.James Chappell will be illustrating another legend for SB#6; Gene 'Burritto' Romero. This is a still from On Any Sunday, of Romero's road racer in the pits. BP
Question: Any reason why Romero spelt Burritto with 2 'T's?

Zaeta by Oberdan Bezzi

Oberdan Bezzi creates concepts of bikes in production, hoping to improve on what is out there, he also mashes up brands and resurrects old bikes and manufacturers. He's turned his talents to the Zaeta. The road bike (with Z plate) looks too conventional to us, as a concept, though with those chunky forks it would look good in the flesh. The race bike is above it.
Paolo, the man behind Zaeta, says is going to make the road-going Zaeta a little less of the traditional street tracker look when the road bike surfaces.
Below is Bezzi's Yamaha 250 V-twin street tracker. That's the Virago motor, right? Thanks to Fordy for the tip-off. G

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Sammy at Willow Springs

More from Sammy Halbert, yeah I wonder why Jared Mees try to take him out...

Willow Springs - Eddie Mulders WCVDTS
Round 1 4/25/10

We came down a day early for the practice day at Willow Springs Raceways Flat Track and unloaded our new Harley that our good friend Vinny bought for us from one of our sponsors; Scott Powersports. I felt really fast on it first time on the track. That put a big smile on my face, there is not many things that I enjoy more than riding my Harley around this banked 3/8 Flat Track.
We put Jethro on our very fast J&M Framed Honda 450 as this is one of those tracks that is just small enough that a single cylinder 450cc based motorcycle like most the guys ride is competitive with the big V Twin Harley that I would be racing. The Harley weighs about 100 pounds more so it takes a lot more strength and endurance to go fast for the entire 20 lap main event but I have been training so hard I felt confident I could do it.
I was able to win my heat race going away and was really enjoying myself. Jethro finished 2nd in his heat race so we made a couple adjustments to his ride and he was ready to step it up for the main event.
A big thanks to Rod Lake, Eddie Mulder, Digger Helm and everyone else who contributed to the $2500 five lap Dash for Cash. I started on the inside pole with J. Mees and J. Wood to my right among others. They were both riding singles and looked pretty good winning their heat races so now it was time to see who had the most speed for five laps. I got a decent start but so did Mees and for some reason he tried to pinch me off by swerving left at me right away but I wasn't gonna let that slow me down so I charged the little space he left me on the bottom, drifted in front of him sideways and wide open shooting a huge rooster tail at them and took off. I rode as hard as I possibly could and had one scary moment as the front end washed out and my legs were flailing off the pegs but luckily I still had the gas on and pulled through to take the win.
Next up for us was the 20 lap pro main event. When they threw the green flag I dropped the clutch and got a little cross rutted and off balance so I was about the last one off the front row and someone from the back row even showed me a wheel, so I went into turn one banzai style from the bottom and drifted up almost into Mees who had the lead, I somehow came out of the first turn in second place, followed Mees into turn three and got to watch as he went in extremely hot right thru the bumps and up the racetrack right out of my way handing me the lead. From there I put in some really fast laps and started to pull away. Mees ended up breaking so I had a huge lead that I managed to the finish. Jethro was running the best he had been all weekend but unfortunately the bike quit for some reason while he was in a battle for fourth.
I couldn't be happier to win four in a row now at Willow Springs, it took me a few years to figure out how to win here, but now I really have it dialed and can't wait to come back. I have now officialy won a big race on all four of our Harley Davidsons and have won at Willow on three of them.
Thanks for the support! Talk to you next week.
#7 Sammy
(Janice Blunt Photos)


Historic milestones aside, 1977 was also special for the Suzuki PE250, dolphin shorts, wedge sandals and Minilite wheels. BPphotographer unknown

Monday, 26 April 2010

1st Annual XR Meeting

More Amman Valley news. Be great to see a bunch of XR street bikes there. G


It was fantastic to see so many Sideburn logos at King's Lynn. Thanks everyone. G

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Why they call him Slammin' Sammy

This is from Slammin' Sammy Halbert. It's an example of indoor short track at its most uncompromising. He's doing something with Randy K for Sideburn 6.

Hi Gary,
Thought you might enjoy this youtube video I linked to my latest race report.
I spoke with Randy a little about doing the story, sounds cool I will try to brainstorm up some ideas of what I want to say in it.
Thanks, Sammy

Subject: Halbert Bros. Race Report
I just wanted to send out a little race report while I have a chance here. We are south bound on I-5 right now headed to Willow Springs Raceway for round one of Eddie Mulder's West Coast Vintage Dirt Track series. Its a great track and always brings out some of our sports best so look for an update next week or check for updates from the track.

4-17-10 Kent, WA Sho Ware Center

Mickey Fay presented "Extreme" Flat Track motorcycle racing at the Kent Sho Ware center, it is a really nice facility and I was excited for the opportunity to race in front of my friends and family for a large purse. We were racing on the polished concrete surface of the arena and there was also Quad racing and freestyle MX for halftime entertainment.
The track was by far the biggest and best indoor concrete track I have ever rode and everything started out great. Everyone would get one chance to set their fastest lap in qualifying and I was really happy to set the fast time because I have not done that in a while with the old style qualifying format of just one chance at one lap. Jethro qualified in the third position.
The heat race didn't go so well, I started on the inside pole which is a huge advantage on this type of track, I got the lead but for some reason didn't have the grip I had earlier and Joe Kopp passed me for the win sending me to a semi.
Jethro was able to get the holeshot and win his heat race but it seemed he wasn't as hooked up as before so something was going on with our set-up and we would have to address it in a hurry.
I was able to win my semi to make the main event and felt a little better about my set-up but in the four lap Dash for Cash Brad Baker was able to get by me for the win. With all the friends and family here I really wanted to have a better showing and my chances didn't look good going into the main event as Kopp was on the inside pole and looked to be tough to beat. While I was outside against the wall generally not a good spot for an indoor concrete track. Well if you can spare 6 minutes out of your busy schedule please click on this youtube link of my helmet cam from the main event and see how it goes down.

UPDATE: As Mick says in the comments - If you're only seeing a very narrow version of the video, right click and opt to watch on YouTube and it'll open in another window.

A Proper Education

Shortly after the Dead Sea Scrolls were published in 200BC, Ladybird Books started producing their own handy series of books. The staple of all school libraries in Britain. Not a boring doorstop encyclopedia, but a handy pocket book covering every subject from Needlework to Pets. The 'How It Works' series was my favorite. Those cut-away drawings of engines had me all hot under the collar years before I discovered my first flesh-based pornography crumpled up under a hedge beyond the Rugby pitch. I found these two from 1973 and 1968 in a local junk shop this afternoon, and was happy to pay several weeks pocket-money more than their original price of 15 pence. BP

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Daddy When I Grow Up...

...I want to be a tattooist. Jan Paul; who works at Rob Admiraal's parlour in Amsterdam, tattoed my 3 1/2 year old daughter's signature on my chest. She took 9 seconds, he took 2 hours. BP

Astro on US eBay

From ace photographer and Sideburn contributor, Nick Clements.

'I hope you are both well.
Check out this bike..

You'll have to be quick though, the auction is nearly over. It reminds me that someone called Pepe got in touch to say they'd started a Bultaco blog. GI

Friday, 23 April 2010

A Festival of Flat Track

There are another seven UK Short Track races this year, but if you only make it to one make sure it’s Amman Valley on May 29-30.

This is the first joint race between the UK Short Trackers and the European MEFO Sport racers. That means there will be the cut-throat semi-pros on their modern DTX (modified 450 MX) bikes, the slightly less bloodthirsty Thunderbike class full of framers and modified street bikes, PLUS the All-American Twin Class over from Europe. These are all big, fast, powerful V-twins. There are 1200 Sportsters in dirt track frames, modified XR1000s and XR750s. They’re going to haul on the Welsh 500-metre oval.

Everyone involved wants it to be a festival of flat track culture, so anyone who turns up on a street tracker, or even with one on a trailer or in a van gets in half-price. There’ll be prizes for the best of show, best budget build, best engineering and best paint.

There are two days of racing. Well, a night and a day. The Euro round and All-American twins are on Saturday night. Plenty of UK racers will enter the Euro race. Saturday’s racing starts at 7pm.
Plus there will be a bar in a marquee and food on-site, plus camping available.

Sunday’s racing starts at 1pm. This is a full UK meet with added crazy Euros ensuring it will be, we reckon, the biggest flat track race ever held outside America.

Adults £10 per day or £18 for weekend including camping. OAPS £8 per day or £14 for the weekend, Children (12 to 15) £3 per day or £5 for weekend, Under-12s go free.

More details to follow.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Project FT Update

Lots happening on the FT front. EBC have kindly made us a custom front disc. Carl at CFM fitted some Yamaha TDR250 forks he had to replace the worn-out stock ones. We kept the stock wheel and triple clamps. We didn't want adapter plates and couldn't find a disc off the shelf. So we had a 320mm disc made to suit the fork legs with a centre to suit the Honda wheel and offset. Great.
EBC say 'The cost is £187.73 for a floating discs and for rear £107.73. Lead time is normally 3-4 weeks through the summer months and shorter through the winter period.'

EBC also supplied a replacement rear disc as the original one had more grooves than a James Brown LP.
We also bought a Yamaha R6 front caliper off eBay, for £45, that'll bolt straight to the TDR forks. The FT's going to be a beauty. GI

This Season I'll Be Mostly Wearing...

Eyjafjallajokull an Icelandic volcano blows up and world jet travel is crippled over night. It sounds like a bad pulp fiction intro. The reality is I'm marooned in Amsterdam indefinitely. There are certainly worse places to kill time, but I've got a young family in tow and we've run out of nappies. And my son shits for England (anybody within a 50 yard radius can vouch for this). Schiphol, one of the busiest airports in the world is eerily tranquil. All the departure - arrival boards are blank. Plenty of time for window shopping. BPGrey suede lederhosen, green motocross T-shirt at Lab13.

Green Goddess

Shawn Murray goodness from Rocky Mtn 59 blog. Nice Sporty
Thanks to Garrett B for the tip-off. G

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Chopper Dave's Casting Company

A compact package of goodness arrived at Sideburn HQ the other day. Chopper Dave casts his own parts, and while a lot of it is for American twins (that I haven’t got) these fantastic footpegs can be made to fit anything. The Death or Glory pegs are going to be adapted for my Guzzi. They cost $80 plus shipping. The Race Only points cover is going on the back of my LDV.
It even came wrapped in the sex ads from his local paper. 'TS 8.5 fully functional'. God only knows what that means, but I don't want any of it.
Thanks Dave. Get your stuff from Chopper Dave’s Casting Company.

And read Jeff Wright (of Church of Choppers) writing about Dave’s bike in Sideburn 5. GI

Royal McQueen, Bologna

Paolo of Zaeta told us about this Royal Enfield specialist in Bologna, Royal McQueen. They look like theyr'e having fun.