Saturday, 31 July 2010

Hocking Leathers...

Spotted on VFT...

1979 Factory Honda Team Leathers - Authentic leathers worn by Rick Hocking in 1979. Very leathers he was wearing when he won the 1979 Santa Fe Short Track National.
Helmet and leathers $3000

Friday, 30 July 2010

King Dick

Not as universally handy as a Leatherman in combination with a Specialized mountain bike mini fold-out EMT Allen key set, in my 'don't hit the road without it' tool kit, but my King Dick, established in 1856 is my most prized piece. Just the weight of it is stimulating. There is virtually no slack in the jaws. I painted one side day-glo so as not to loose it fumbling in the dark at the roadside (no idea why both sides didn't get the treatment). You can pick them up for a couple of quid at car boot sales, this little fella is only a few inches long, but they make a big whoppas too. BP

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Ommer Um!

The first live speedway I ever saw was in about 1975 at Dudley Wood stadium, home to the Cradley Heathens from 1947 till 1995.

Cradley was a great team operating in the heart of England's Black Country, an area to the west and north of Birmingham so-named because of its long tradition in the relatively mucky industries of iron, steel and coal mining. The town itself is called Cradley Heath (not to be confused with nearby Cradley, the towns having a decided but 'amicable' rivalry) and was especially famous for chain and nail-making, much of which was carried out into the early 20th century by women in their own back yards. This history of forge-work in the area inspired the team's oft-used hammer logo and the war cry 'Ommer Um' (hammer them).

The Heathens were hugely successful and had ardent supporters who'd turn out to what was a pretty basic stadium to cheer on superstars such as Billy Hamill, Greg Hancock, Jan O Pedersen, Erik Gundersen, Anders Michanek and Californian glamour boy Bruce Penhall (see Sideburn #4). The list could go on...

However, at the end of the 1995 season the Heathens were forced to leave their home of almost 50 years thanks to the owners wanting to sell the land for housing. They struggled on for a year as an itinerant club, but it had to end. The good news is that this season the club has been revived under the name Dudley Heathens who entered the National League, where they're currently sitting in second place. It's great news, but the fight goes on to find a new home and in the meantime, 'home' fixtures are run alternately at Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Not ideal, but a start.

The club deserves all the support it can get and I'd love to see the Heathens racing again back where they belong. It's a team with a great history in an area of the country that truly loves its speedway. MP

Spanner Doily

The consequences of not having an on-site shed, means our kitchen table is taking a battering every time I get my tools out for any DIY or motorcycle maintenance. A handy doily like this crocheted by Nathan Vincent could save me a lot of French polish and domestic agro. BP


According to (my ignorance) Wikipedia:
The Hummer was a motorcycle model manufactured by Harley-Davidson from 1955 to 1959. However, the name 'Hummer' is now used generically to refer to all American-made single-cylinder two-stroke Harley-Davidson motorcycles manufactured from 1948 to 1966. These motorcycles were based on the DKW RT125 [DKW was the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer in the 1930s], the drawings for which were taken from east Germany as war reparations after World War II. RT125 drawings were also given to Britain and the Soviet Union as war reparations, resulting in the BSA Bantam and the MMZ M-1A Moskva, later known as the Minsk.

This cheeky tiddler is a 1954 Model 165(cc). BP

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Beezumph snaps 2)

Here's Gary Nixon, Grand National Champion in '67 and '68 and all round flattrack and roadrace legend at this year's TR3OC Beezumph. The 'bike is Steve Cook's Redline T140. The frame and motor may have history with Mike Kidd. The period style paint scheme is Steve's own. I particularly like the joke shop eyeball used as the tank mount bung.Redline Engineering were an offshoot and competitor of Trackmaster, set-up by Lynn Kastan who used to weld for them. He went on to achieve fame and fortune making BMX bicycle frames. On Trackmaster oilers, the top tube oil tank runs from the steering head to the swingarm pivot. On the Redline frame, the tank tube runs from the steering head to the seat rails. The Redline has a rectangular section swingarm whereas Trackmaster used round tube.
Gary didn't ride due to the impact of advancing years upon his old injuries. However, he aided Don Emde to give a fascinating talk, illustrated by some great period photos, about the Trident / Rocket triples raced on the dirt (I'll try and persuade him to contribute the material to a Sideburn article).Don took to the Anglesey track riding Rob North's ex-Dick Mann North "Lowboy" framed '72 Daytona bike which Rob brought with him from the US for the event. The photos show Rob examining it after an outing in Don's hands. It's original even down to dirty marks, a cracked windshield and fairing damage, done when Dick came unstuck on some oil. Rob's afraid to loan it to the AMA museum in case they clean it!!!!Bye for now Alastair McQ

Beezumph snaps 1)

Thanks to Captain Simon for these snaps from Beezumph 19. BP

Monday, 26 July 2010


Let's be honest, some of the UK's speedway tracks are shit 'oles
- or they are built near existing shit 'oles. But Buxton is different. It wouldn't be any greener if it was ploinked in the middle of a golf course. Set in the heart of the rolling Derbyshire Peak District, on Sunday 1st August High Edge Raceway hosts round 5 of the UK short track championship. Practice stars at 11am, racing starts 1pm.
What's more the local delicacy of Bakewell Tart will be served in between each heat race. BP

The Legendary John Noble

Most people who've worked in the motorcycle press in Britain over the past 30 years will have had the pleasure of either working with John Noble, or will have been regaled with yarns about his occasionally (!) eccentric behaviour. Anyone who's read the press will have enjoyed some of the best motorcycling photography out there.

This clip perfectly captures John, to many still known by the nickname 'Selwyn', after the TV character Selwyn Froggitt. The waving arms, impossibly high and exasperated voice, choice language and repeated hitching-up of ever-falling trousers are classic ingredients of any John Noble road test photo shoot. Like all photographers, John is obsessed with the light and, this being Britain, you often have to grab opportunities between banks of heavy cloud. Off-camera is a bunch of road testers failing to act on John's crystal clear signage. Keep your eye on the mobile phone. MP

Black Is Beautiful

Our FT500 is not black; or pink; or purple, but thanks to DSC it is beautiful. Paul Bryant who does a lot of shit hot action photography for Performance Bikes magazine, has now shot the SB#6 cover and feature story of our project bike.

Thanks to Troy Critchlow for the Chains and Black Exhaust prologue. BP

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Teeny Wee

Corlew Triumph Cub. BP

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Mefo Round 5

Round 5 of the International Mefo Sport Flattrack Cup 8 August has been relocated to Slany in Czechoslovakia.

Last Saturday night Marco Belli won the third and last round in Terenzano to become new Italian flat track champion. Massimiliano Andreotti came 2nd, Jan-Willem Jansen 3rd, Armando Castagna 4th.

Friday, 23 July 2010


MO is a quality German motorcycle magazine - I guess it's English equivalent would be Bike magazine (although I can't read German so I can't vouch for the text). This month - with cover by Frank Kletschkus (who shot the 'HOW' story in SB#5), they've printed some photos of mine from last century, of the Mean Fuckers. A few of these photos have been bouncing around the net but this series has never been in print before. There is also a 6 page pull-out poster on thicker art-paper. BP

Viral Marketing Bandwagon

We were sent this 'spy shot' of Sideburn's Project FT on a shakedown test, by Elaine Clap who spotted the bike as she filled up the other day in Lincolnshire, England. 'I'd been reading about Project FT on Sideburn's blog so I was excited to see it in my local petrol station. I had a good look at the Death Spray Custom paintjob,' she told us. 'It's lovely. Very original. The bike sounded very loud, but I was surprised it was the exhaust not the top end making all the racket. They're notorious for rocker wear those old Hondas. They've done well to sort that. There was hardly any oil leaking out of it and the fella who was riding was awfully handsome. I took loads of close-ups of the bike, but our Terry was messing with my phone and deleted all but this one. The handsome chap who was riding it said it would be featured in the next issue of Sideburn out some time in mid-August.'
That's what she said. Word for word. GI

Next stop: Buxton

The day after the Grand National boys race at Calistoga half-mile, Northern California, the UK Short Trackers are at Buxton. Oh yes. Racing from 1 on Sunday August 1.
Directions here

If anyone is going to Calistoga, and it sounds like it's going to be fast, please send us some photos. GI

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Norton Gang

Excerpt from the Rider Files
...George Kerker, Jack Simmons and Bill Manley were better known to their fans, journalists and fellow competitors as the Norton Gang. Rather than run the conventional road racing machines of the era with clip-ons, fairings and rear-sets, the Norton Gang elected to race production Norton Commandos, high bars, low pegs and all. While in retrospect the Norton Gang were simply harking back to the traditional AMA Class C concept (production-based racing) the Norton Gang were consider rebels among the road racing traditionalists of the late 1960s.

Looks like Bill has a paper plate number board? Good man. BP

more Scorpions

A couple more shots from the recent Scopions jaunt, from Disaster Dave (via Troy Critchlow).
Here is a couple of photos....I'm #36. bike 1969 CL350 Honda
flattracker. #3 is my buddy Pinstipper Myk..on 1952 500cc Triumph. and thats motorcycho Norm with the red helmet.. check out norms old Ratfink

Loving the Bell Moto III lid Norm. BP

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Project FT: Last piece of the jigsaw

Yep, the starter motor was screwed. We have, what must be, one of the last NOS FT500 starter motors in existence. It came in the original Honda box and paper. Beautiful. It arrived the other day, CFM fitted it and it works. Deep joy. G

Pedalcycho Tour de France

From our man Chris Watson who will illustrate another story for us in SB#6. BP

'Its been the most exciting Tour in years [finishes Sunday], leaders all very close!
Schleck attacked Contador, Schleck's chain fell off, Alberto Contador attacked Schleck - here for details
Lance Armstrong fell and lost minutes so has given up hope of winning, World Champ Cadel Evans was in yellow for a day - but in the mountains he nearly had to quit in pain as it turned out he'd fractured his elbow in a heavy fall the day before.
Cavendish's lead out man Mark Renshaw was sent home for foul play - Renshaw did a track style headbutting to a rival who was dangerously trying to elbow him off his line - fair enough but then Renshaw dangerously blocked Tyler Farrar who was coming thru on Cav's wheel.'
Ai chihuahua! CW

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


A fetching full-face recommended to me by Driver Chris. Being inquisitive, what do you do? Google 'Free Moustache Rides' of course. This is what the Urban Dictionary has to say. BP

Zaeta appoints first dealer

Get your Italian-powered, Italian-assembled, American-chassised, race-winning road and race bikes from Royal McQueen in Bologna. GI
Photo: Antonio Cellini

Monday, 19 July 2010


Photo by famed surfer Kassia Meador from her forthcoming book.
I'm guessing it was shot on an old Polaroid Land Camera with instant
Fuji FP-100c? Back in the good old pre-digital days, I used to get through a box a minute when I was on a roll. BP

King Kirk's Norton

Don't know if you would be interested in some updated pics of King Kirk Anderson's Norton but here are a few. I tried to get some action shots but all I got were fuzzy pictures of the chain link fence.
After almost 2 years, flat track racing has returned to Wichita, Kansas at 81 Speedway.
Maybe next time I will get a pic of Kirk with the bike. But, being the rock star that he is it's hard to pin him down you know.
Here is the website for the series...

We love King Kirk! Thanks Troy. GI

Filton Flyers

Turns out there is a cycle speedway track 2 1/2 miles from my house. The Filton Flyers have been getting giddy in Bristol since 2006. BP

Short track inspired art

From Louis Mills. Good work little fella. GI
PS Spidwey is my new favourite word.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Stoke People

Sideburn's official DJ, Sir Johnny Alpha of the Killer Diller radio show turned up and played records, drank beer and smoked fags. He was half-cut before the end of the heats.
Sir Johnny's hardware.
Joe, chips. Skooter Farm might be able to perform without chips, but it couldn't cope without Joe.
This is young Alan. A couple of years ago Dave Skooter Farm told me about a fella who had a bunch of bikes, including some flat trackers. He didn't want to sell them, they were just sat rotting. Well, the fella is called Alan. This is his son. They turned up on this dog-rough TT500 framer, young Alan rode like an animal and went home with a trophy for rider of the day. Well deserved.
Austin: Search & Destroy
Trev: Honolulu Trucker
Co-Built camp: Geoff and Kysinia
This is my old mate Michael and his new bike. He sold a GSX-R1000K7 to buy this. He works for Held. They make good stuff.
Nice pipes, Mike.
Austin's mate's crazy tree and 3D fishing lure thing tattoo. Nice socks Austin.
Ben and Rich. Rich looking dapper in DSC neckerchief and Deus waxed cotton.