Wednesday, 30 June 2010

More from Lima

From Roger
Gary, Here's a pic of a shameless individual (me) with Chris Carr and his favorite magazine to sell!
In Sideblog's Lima photos which are just excellent, Jake Johnson's Supertrapp leathers are last year leftovers, and have his old #14 on the back too.
Lima was a great race and as soon as my lovely girlfriend Patty sends along the pics I took in the pits, I'll send them along to you. The Triumph of Shawn Baer just qualified on the rough track, and in the main, actually broke the frame [PLEASE SEE UP DATE BELOW]. It separated at the top, just where the front of the seat and rear of the tank meet, and only the swingarm and shock held it together.
Wiles and Halbert rode so well! They just cleared off, and Wiles was overtaking lappers even in his 10 lap heat. They both lapped riders in the 25 lap main, but Wiles was just lights out, keeping a 1/4 lap on Halbert in second and lapping up to about 8th place or so. Looks like the XRs are still the bike on rough cushion tracks, and they still sound the best too....roger
PS The best part of Lima is scoping out all the hot chicks in the pits!

UP DATE from Bill Gately of Bonneville Perforamce:
"the Triumph frame did not break, a weld on the sub-frame broke where it attaches to the backbone. There is a support brace there as well as a stop on the swing arm that would not allow the bike to collapse as the brain trust who reported it intimates. This does not bode well for any reader who was considering our chassis.
Thanks Best Regards

Gay T

How about this as a T Chris? PS love your new leathers!

Bonneville Performance race bike

AmericanTriumph.TV Race Report - AMA GNC Arizona Mile from Geoff Patrick on Vimeo.

Ignore the sample image, this is a good short film (found over at the Triumph Flat Track blog) about Bonneville Performance's current GNC race bike.
Read about Jason's former Bonneville Performance GNC race bike chassis made into a street tracker in Sideburn issue 1 (if you have it or can find it).

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Sunny Guzzler

I had to go to a meeting the other day and it was a no-brainer to go on the Guzzi. The last few years I've been lucky enough to be loaned a brand new bike for 9 months of the year. I've had some beauties, but I turned one down this year for a variety of reasons, but mainly so I could ride my Guzzi. I ended up riding with a 1972 BSA 650 Lighning for a while. We appreciated each other's rides at 60mph.
The red trousers are overalls to keep my smart meeting trousers bug and oil-free. GI

Monday, 28 June 2010

Bell 500 Speed Soul

As mentioned last week Sideburn was sent a new Bell 500 open-face lid to have a look at. Like Barbour (with their International jacket), Bell can say they're not retro, they've been doing this since this helmet was cutting edge.
The shape is the same, but protection (say Bell, is much improved). The padding is thinner, than say a Davida Jet, so the shell's small like an old helmet, but it has American DOT approval (though I don't think that's anything like as rigorous as British BS testing).
Bell say 'Again, this is not a retro, copy helmet. This is a remake of the original Bell 500. Bell invented the EPS liner for motorsports helmets, and the 500 was one of the first to feature this huge advance in safety.
'The new Custom 500 has a surprising amount of technology in it. Bell wanted to retain the slim look of the original Bell 500 while still meeting modern DOT impact standards. A fiberglass shell and a special EPS liner refined in their Santa Cruz California headquarters enabled them to do this. Most modern helmets with this slim, open-face design do not meet modern safety standards and are sold as "novelty" helmets.'
The feelgood quality starts as soon as you pick up the box. It's covered in printed pinstriping, a flat tracker printed on it, open the flap and the Bell Horse Power is snorting at you, then there's a (cheap feeling) helmet bag, a cool label on the strap and the lid itself.
The interior is really nicely made, silky and stitched. The paint finish is excellent too. This design is by Roland Sands and is part of an artists series of 500s. Other artists are Jimbo Phillips and Chris Wood. We'd love to see a Death Spray one.
And the price is good too - about $130.
Go to the Bell Powersports for more info and US dealers.
We'll let you know about European dealers and prices as soon as we get them.

Lima half-mile photos

Henry Wiles in a pea gravel wave.
Looks like most of the gravel disappeared by the end of the night. Wiles, Kopp, S. Halbert, Mees and Johnson.
Imagine trying to qualify out of this bunch. 51 riders are trying to make the 18/19 rider main through the heats.
Kopp and Lloyd Brothers Ducati
Smith on the Werner/Springsteen Kawasaki 650. How tough does this bike look?
Wiles was untouchable all day. Fastest in practice, fastest in qualifying and won the dash for cash.
Jake Johnson. I thought his team was Zanotti, not Supertrapp this year.
Steve Bonsey
Wiles getting squirelly
Matt Weidmann
Dustin Crow styling.

Photos: AMA Pro Racing

Sunday, 27 June 2010


Douglas DT 500 flat twin, as used by Fay Taylour in the late twenties. The champion's weapon of choice. What elegance. This catalogue shot from the great Flick collection of Bubbles 44. BP


Wiles wins again

Lima half-mile: Wiles from Sammy Halbert from Matt Weidmann (who was on an XR750 not the Wood Rotax twin). Bryan Smith on the Kawasaki was fourth. The Ducati, two Suzuki and the Bonneville Performance Triumph all made the main. GI

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Welsh Outback

Having done a U-turn on the French dream, I have mourned the reality that I will never have a widow-maker hill-climb in my own back garden, ever since. But late on Thursday afternoon I got this email from Co-Built Anthony...
Hey Ben
I have a great adventure planned for tomorrow. It involves an early start and a lateish finish, following the trail of an enduro, and 1960's tea rooms in the Black Mountains of mid Wales. I had planned on going with a mate from Swindon but it looks like he can't make it now. I have two bikes prepped ready to go; a CCM 604 and a Yamaha WR250, and I am looking for someone who is available at short notice. If this is your cup of tea and you can get away from work and family duties for the day at short notice let me know. Anthony

Hell yeah! (even though it's my wedding anniversary). So up at 5am, and just 50 minutes from Bristol I'm in Abergavenny, where I dumped my car and met up with Anthony in his van. A few minutes later we're standing on our footpegs, hacking along twisting B roads and bunny hopping up sheep tracks into the back of beyond, while most of civilization is still asleep.On the descent from Y Dâs, there are some 3 foot high rock steps on a sharp corner. Anthony broke his thumb here on a previous trip, and up above the berm there is a plaque to a rider Richard Thompson, who died there of a heart attack. It's 8 o'clock in the morning and I haven't even had my wake-up coffee yet.The CCM didn't approve and began a threatening rattle. we had a poke about with the Leatherman but couldn't remedy it so decided to proceed with abandon.
The Welsh Two Day Enduro starts from the lakeside in LLandrindrod Wells. It's like a seaside town but without the sea. There are 700 riders, from factory teams to farmers, it's a 150 mile loop through luscious landscape. Anthony knew a few of the riders having competed himself 8 times previously. The idea was to short-cut across the middle and watch the leaders come through their various special sections and make frequent stops for icecream.Antique "wing-ning-ning" Huskies, and SWMs twin-shocks compete alongside the latest and lightest modern bikesWe bumped into Nick Ashley, who has also competed several times but was a marshal this year on a Gas Gas. I just so happend to be wearing my trusty 18 year old Nick Ashley Trail Master jacket.On the way back the WR started cutting out. The only thing we could trace it to was a low water level in one of the two radiators which meant it was over heating. It wasn't until Anthony took the cap off (and the vacuum was lost) that water started pissing out of a small hole hidden away on the back side. As it had been a hot day we had plenty of water with us so we could keep it topped up - but it still kept cutting out. Our two injured donkeys limped on and made back to civilization.Anthony thanks for yesterday, it has gone straight into my 'Top 10 of Great Motorcycling Moments'. My bingo wings are still aching. BP

Halbert Brothers update

Sammy sends this out to sponsors and fans and the like. Thought you might like to read it. See how often these guys race. The next big one is today, Lima, Ohio. We have a really great interview with Sammy in for Sideburn 6 (which is coming along, no release date yet, though)
Sam is 7, Jethro is 69. GI

May 29th
Springfield, IL
TT GNC round 4
I finished second place in my heat at the Springfield, IL TT in round 4 of the newly named AMA Pro K&N Grand National Championship. I placed fourth in the Dash for Cash, then in the main event I crashed on the first lap in the tight right hand corner. I got up and was able to pass five guys over the next 25 laps to salvage an 11th place finish.

May 30th
Springfield Mile round 5
I had one really fast bike for the mile, and unfortunately the crank pin broke on that rocket ship and we could hear it making a bad noise when I was about to go out for my final qualifying session. I would have to switch to my back-up HD XR 750. I finished 3rd in the heat race, but I was struggling to get traction. I made a few big changes for the main event and I quickly found that I changed too much as the bike would go into a high speed wobble down the straight aways. It was a long 25 laps for me, and it was all I could do to hang on and finish 7th.

June 4th
Dairyland Classic
Plymouth, WI
We generally come away with some good results at this slippery short track in Wisconsin. This year was more of a struggle with our YZ 450's. I finished second in my heat race and the other half of Halbert Brothers racing Jethro won his heat race. In the main event Jethro started in second and I was in fourth. Jethro was trying to find a way around Wiles while I was slowly working my way back to finish 8th, I tried a different compound tire than we normally run here and I found that it didn't work too well. Jethro couldn't make it past the blocking Wiles and that put him off line a couple times causing him to drop back to a fifth place finish.

June 17th
Decatur, IL
All Star National Flat Track series round 6
We did this fair race on a Thursday night, it was really nice to get out on a big pea gravel cushion half-mile, I always seem to do well on these types of tracks and I really enjoy riding them. I got the day started off well by pulling a holeshot en route to the win in both my 450 expert and 750 expert heat races. I pulled another holeshot at the start of the 450 expert main event and had a great time riding out front on a fresh track with a nice layer of cushion. I felt like I was wringing the neck on my YZ 450 holding it to the pin halfway into the turn, I led every lap and was really happy to turn around after the finish and see the #69 of my brother who made a pass on Mees late in the race to complete the first Halbert Bros 1 and 2 finish of the season so far.
We didn't spray the champagne on the podium though as we had the premier race of the night coming up next the 750 expert Twins main event. I once again pulled a beautiful holeshot but this time I had to out maneuver Mees in the first turn to take the lead. I had a great time throwing my black HD XR 750 around this track, we call this bike the Vinny bike as our good friend Vinny bought it for us to use. I put it to good use and led every lap but didn't push hard enough in the final couple laps which let Mees close in, I saw him coming on the last lap and luckily I rode a near perfect last lap to seal the deal. Jethro came from the back row to finish 5th.

June 19th
Gas City, IN
GNC ST round 6
This extremely wide and banked short track proved to be very technical and challenging for us. We didn't have the greatest run in qualifying but both Jethro and I were on the front row of our heat races, Jethro finished a close 3rd in expert heat race number two of the night. I pulled a sweet holeshot in the third heat race but was passed by Wiles and I barely held off the next guy to finish second earning my spot on the front row of the main event and a ticket to the points paying Dash for Cash.
I got a decent start in the Dash but was quickly swallowed up by the pack in the first turn, over the next couple laps they shuffled me back to fifth where I finished earning just one extra point for the championship.
I felt like I was struggling just a little bit with my suspension settings, and I just didn't have as much traction as I should, I tried a few minor changes with the suspension and a different rear tire.
It proved to be a tough main event as I didn't get a great start and there were riders all around me trying different lines, we must have been three and four wide at some points. I had a great battle going with Coolbeth for the first half of the race with Jethro slowly starting to pull away using the low line. Then we had a restart, I started in 8th but was able to get clear of Coolbeth and pressure Jethro and Pearson for fourth. I was starting to find a good line by using a combination of the high and low lines I felt like just as I was starting to get within striking distance of Pearson for 5th the white flag came out and I wasn't able to do anything. Pearson had a fast last lap and edged Jethro out for 4th by .06 Jethro finished fifth and I crossed the line in 6th. I felt like we put in pretty good rides and gave it everything we had but we just have a little work to do and some more learning to pick up that last tenth of a second or two on these types of tracks on our Yamaha's. I have a couple idea's on what I could have done differently.

Now I am coming into Lima tied for 5th place in points in the Grand National Championship, this is a perfect track for me to get things rolling so I am shooting for the win to get me back in this championship battle.

Next event
June 26th,
Lima, OH
GNC round 7

Friday, 25 June 2010

Bell 500

I've had this helmet a little while. It's a lovely thing, the new Bell 500 in limited edition Roland Sands paint. I went for my first ride in it yesterday. More details soon.
Meanwhile go to Bell Helmets GI

Hobgoblin Enfield

From our mate Dan-Dan the PR man, beer, chance of a free bike, we thought you some of you might be interested. GI

'Wychwood Brewery's Hobgoblin has teamed up with the classic British motorcycle brand Royal Enfield to create an exclusive ‘Hobgoblin Bullet' model.
The craftily crafted Hobgoblin beer brand features on the unique machine, which will be given away free in a prize draw.
Ian Ward, brand manager at Wychwood, said: "The Hobgoblin Bullet is a great ‘one off' with a unique blue paint job and legendary graphics of the Hobgoblin, there was no way we could put a price on it. So we've chosen to give it away to one lucky beer and bikes fan."

Enter here.


This is an Italian track called Giavera. It's the one the Zaeta DT was launched at. It has integral watering, so no need to haul around a bowser. How clever is that? I hope the Leicester speedway track has this (if/when it gets off the ground). GI

Greaser Mike's new leathers

Who could forget Greaser Mike and his beautiful Champion Triumph (though this is his Trackmaster, hey Mike, how many bikes do you have?)? Well, he's ditched his horrible MX wear for some proper cowhide. A wise move. Even the committed vegetarians at Co-Built know it makes sense to wear leather. To finish the look Mike just needs to get some boots that fit under the leathers.
Good luck at the AMA Vintage races this weekend Mike. GI
Gene photo by Dan Mahony.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Hell For Leather

Guy Martin wearing a Sideburn T, typically casual about his near death experience; video via HFL. Wes and Grant must be hot-wired to every news service on the planet what with the speed they pick up bulletins. BP

UPDATE: These T-shirts are sold out, never to be reprinted (we might have one or two smalls (36-38" chest) lurking somewhere. BUT this print is available in hooded sweat. See them here.

Rolling's Hauler

Nice van, nice blog too. Rolling's Japan. GI

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Boneshaker Racing

Because Wednesdays are all about bone shaking and we approve of knobblies on chops. Bike by Benny Thomas of Boneshaker Choppers. BP

Vince Ray

Blimey, Vince Ray & the Boneshakers is playing 18 miles from my house at Mama Liz's in Stamford (that's close if you live in the sticks). Could be fun. G
PS just noticed, two very different boneshaker posts on the trot.

bone-shaker magazine

New Bristol based but internationally spanning, quality bicycle magazine. Double page spread front cover with no contents info, Hmm seen that somewhere before? BP

Yellow Corn Muscle bike

Yellow Corn are a Japanese bike clothing company. Their stuff is as high-end as Kushitani, but emblazoned with random English phrases (see jacket below, shot supplied by Ben Wilson). Then I saw this project bike Yellow Corn built on an interesting Italian blog Framotors. I'm not sure about the chrome graphics, but the shot of the engine in that bare frame does it for me. Inspirational. G