A glowing report from the W&W Cycles crew who drove their big American school bus all the way from Würzburg in Germany to Kings Lynn, for Dirt Quake IV and then raced their not quite as cumbersome, but equally yellow, Panhead in the Chopper Class against the spritely Guy Martin...
So it came to pass that the venerable Magic Bus FURTHER! was headed for the UK, to see DirtQuake, the one-off go fast, turn left meeting for the friends of mud-tracks, for the 4th time laid on by Sideburn magazine.
It being our second time at the meet, we treat us to our own race class. There’s “Unsuitable road bikes”, “Chopper”, “Street Tracker” and “Ladies” to chose from, open for everything between antique BSAs and hopped up Vespas. And there’s our “Harley Class”, just right for the old clunker we brung straight out of the W&W museum: the Panamericana Pan, built for the 1996 MUD OF NO RETURN mud trip to Panama. There it had been mud-wrestling up to her fatbobs with central American dirt roads, so why not try the old girl on some middle England dirt track? Let’s see what the heap of iron can do on her knobby tyres.
The weather is glorious, and the King’s Lynn, Norfolk Arena fills with 5.000 spectators. The riders’ parade opens the proceedings, and soon the sweet sound of Harleys fills the air. The first race is a hard battle between the Panhead and its rider. The slippery mud is tricky, but the track is drying and our Pan-wrestling rider #80 Weigl is gathering confidence in the ancient rigid chassis. Together with a couple of Evo Sportsters, a hot flathead, 3 Ironhead Sportsters and a rigid framed Shovel they go round and round, to the cheering of a well stoked audience. Family entertainment at its best!
A band is playing TV themes, there’s a kids’ bicycle race, a moped-tug-of-war, the motorcycle limbo contest and Ken Fox’ Wall of Death death defying stunt riders.
Big scare: in the Harley class’ second heat a rider goes down, no chance for the rider behind him to swerve round, crunching, screeching, flying machines, the dust is being kicked up, a collective gasp from the bleachers – the race is suspended. The medical team races to the scene, but after a few seconds the rider gets up, limps to the medical golf cart to frenetic applause and is taken away for further attention. There were no critical injuries on the week end, just a dislocated finger, a broken rib and collarbone and one tooth that went with the gloves during the “gloves off” competition.
Now for the finals: our PanAm Pan is starting from 9th position. In front are the pro riders, Mr. Guy Martin, the TT legend among them on a mean hotted up Evo Sportster with slightly extended forks. The first corner sees a packed field, Weigl #80 pushes the Pan to the inside, gets through, makes good a few places. #80’s experience shows. He rounds up all of the not-too-many horses in her, and makes the best of a package that’s a bit too unwieldy for the corners and too underpowered for the straights. After 4 laps he wills the old girl across the finish line on 5th, Mr. Guy Martin winning the Special Edition W&W Harley Voodoo trophy. Fifth place on a Harley that was built 20 years ago and was dragged from the museum isn’t half bad.
We’ll have to see what we bring next year. The Cuba Servicar of ours looks like it might be just the thing for a hot ride…