Thursday 30 September 2010

When GI met Valentino Rossi

Do you ever get so excited about an idea that you can't talk properly because your mouth is grinning so much? Well, that's what happened when Michele the editor of GQ Italia rang to say he'd like me to interview Valentino Rossi for the cover story of his next issue. Er... OK!
I flew into Milan, met up with Michele, then drove four hours to Pesaro, just ten minutes from Rossi's home in Tavullia. The next day we went to a great photo studio and prepared everything. There was a whole team there: Michele, James the photographer, Amber his assistant, two lighting guys, the fashion editor, the assistant fashion editor, a make-up fella, a driver and me. Oh, and two catering staff.
There must have 80 different outfits, 40 pairs of shoes and boots, 100 ties, 40 belts and three fake moustaches. The vast majority of it remained unused. Valentino turned up 45 mins late. This is pretty much on time for him. He did the photos over the next two hours, then we carried out the hour-long exclusive interview. Mat Oxley told me this was quite a big deal because VR stopped doing one-to-one interviews before the season started and Yamaha cancelled all the ones he had booked in because (I'm guessing) they didn't want him talking up Ducati (the only thing any of the bike mags would want to talk about). But Michele and Valentino go way back and he agreed to do this.
The cover line translates (roughly) as:
'You're not having my scalp!
When you are hurt and young can smell your blood, they get the courage to attack you'
The magazine comes out on the newsstands tomorrow. Go buy ten. He's quite rude about a certain Spaniard.
Behind the scenes photos below. GI
UPDATE: I should remind everyone that Valentino gave us permission to run an exclusive English version of a story he wrote for GQ Italy. It's in Sideburn 4.
En route. Check out the shadow.
Valentino in a smart Gucci suit being shot by James Mollison. More about him at a later date.
I don't know for sure if these are Valentino's two favourite magazines, but I think it's safe to assume.
A present for VR.
VR's stuff. Lid, one-off Ray-Bans, Blues Brother keyring. iPhone.
'Okay, but no tongues.'

Honda CB500 Phwoarr

We get a fair few Seventies Hondas in Rome, although many are the CB400 Four, which has never done much for me. But we spotted this lovely the other day. Tommaselli clip-ons, rearsets, original four-into-four pipes and go-faster seat. Love it. MP

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Scunthorpe This Sunday

Calling all Northerners: The last race of the 2010 season is this Sunday at Scunthorpe. Hopefully my riding will have improved from the last two rounds so I won't be the person who put the ***t in Scunthorpe.
Directions here.
Practice from 11, racing from 1. GI


Our friends at bike luggage masters Kriega have just been in touch to say they have a new website up and running. They've used an old shot of me on the Vyrus with my trusty Kriega R25 rucksack.
Go to G

UPDATE: I forgot I had this shot of Kriega's fantastic hauler.

Performance Machine DT

Dirt track racing wheels from Performance Machine. Nice. G
UPDATE: The Red Max Speed Shop are UK agents for these wheels.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Lawson coming to the UK

Nope, Fast Eddie isn't racing in short track (but David Aldana is), he's coming over as guest of honour of the Classic Mechanics Show at Stafford. If that wasn't enough to entice you, Sideburn is having a stand in the main hall. We will have an exclusive T-shirt on sale for the weekend only and hopefully some other new merch too. We'll also have the world's best Triumph Streettracker and Project FT500 on the stand. The show is October 16-17. GI
Photo: The Rider Files

Hoarder magazine

I don't know how he did it, but Mark, who created this fanzine, crawled into my head and made Hoarder from my memories. Each issue of the colour photocopied fanzine focusses on a different shoe box full of detritus he never threw away. Different issues have different themes. Some are 60s girlie mags, other are 1990s indie music fanzines, another is a shoe box full of hang tags from clothing. I have about 15 shoe boxes full of 'memories' too. As Mark the editor states.

'Any self respecting visual obssesive knows the golden rule – don’t throw anything away.hoarder magazine exists to document the mountains of stuff the superflake studio cannot bear to throw away. old tickets, football cards, fanzines, hang tags, stickers, magazines, flyers … name it superflake saves it. One man's litter is superflake's cultural-can’t bear to part with it-debris. superflake says, ”fuck the ‘life laundry’ dullards!'

Hoarder magazine is from House of Superflake. I think he limits each fanzine to a run of 33 too. I think there might be online editions too. How very 'now'. G

Monday 27 September 2010

David Aldana to race in England

Just had some fantastic news from Boastie. David Aldana is coming to the UK in 2011 as a guest of honour of Short Track UK.
Lots of details need to be ironed out, but we're confident enough that it's going to happen that we want to start the buzz. We don't know dates or venues, but it'll be at the beginning of the 2011 season. These are all possibles/probables.

A David Aldana Sideburn night, like the Chris Carr night.
David Aldana FT Experience school before the race weekend
David doing demo laps/racing (he wants to race!)

More details as things get set. G

Sunday 26 September 2010

How To Look Good Dirty

Mutton dressed as lamb psychological fashion that started on English TV with Trinny and Suzanne has now been taken to the next level by Wan Gok. I wonder if he'd come to our next short track meeting and give us some up-lift.
Why is it that the Japanese; like these fellas from Field Day,seem to manage their wardrobes so much better? BP

XR750 on UK eBay!

This is my road registered XR750 which I bought off the track in 2004 from a guy called Marcus 'Skid' Link (if your out there Skid I trust you are keeping well).
It is a 1978 motor in a Lawwill Frame and swing arm set up, the forks are WP, it has a slammer 4 speed gearbox and has titanium Valves, Cosworth pistons infact all the race toy internals of the late 90's race bikes.
I put a front brake on which I made, a number plate and upgraded the ignition from Motorplat to PVL which is a much smoother spark delivery system, I have tucked all the electrics under the rear wheel into a box and made a carrier for the ignition coils so that they sit smartly under the tank.
The heads have twin plugs, are 'Bathtubed' and have 'D' ports, I ran the bike for a couple of years and then in 2006 I shipped the motor over to California where I had a complete rebuild from the crank up with all new internals, bearings, rebore, new Carbs the lot by Jim Kelly of Jim Kelly Racing.
I have Jims report, dyno results (high 80's) his parts used and labour schedules, after having it returned I have leaned out the jetting and knocked back the ignition timing for road use. (It would take no more than a few hours to retune for race use).
At the moment it is running on brand new Avon Road tyres, I had taken the Goodyear Eagle II's off as you get a wobble from them on the road, obviously the buyer will get both sets of tyres along with all the sprocket sets, the 2 exhaust systems shown, the two petrol tanks shown (one is Alli and one is Fibre glass), all the old internals that were sent back with the fresh motor and any other odds and sods associated with the bike.
The bike has a Starter Adaptor 1/2" drive and comes with the electric Hand held starter motor, it will run and bump on a slope or on the flat with a friend.
Its only claim to fame is that Jack Osbourne rode the bike on a promotion video for his Adrenalin Junkie show.
The bike is MOTed until June 2011 and the tax runs out the end of November.
Please note that this is a Race bike, it is not a show bike and although I have it on the road it really comes into its own when raced.
I am selling this bike for financial reasons, the wife needs the money! If you choose to keep it on the road you will have lots of wow moments and it will be very noticed everywhere you go.

See it here eBay. Thanks to Mike C for the tip-off. But, what's the difference between no reserve and putting up a a starting bid of £10,000?

Kawasaki S1 from Canaduh

Hi from Canada,
I love your guys blog, cool bikes, good people, makes a guy wanna go out and do wheelies. I wanted to show you my 1975 S1 street tracker i built, it started life as a hillclimber in the mid 70's. St least the engine did. When my father sold our 30 year old kawasaki shop I held onto that motor knowing one day i might use it. well its 10 years later and i finally got around to building something.
I did the whole project for a little over $1000 CDN. I had to find a rolling chassis, thenIi basically bolted a bunch of parts on it that I had laying around. Solid aluminum bars, 2004 YZ250 clutch cable and Works Connection perch, Husky WR250 pegs, and old dusty Carlisle tire i found in my father in law's barn along with a '74 Yamaha TY250 seat. S3 carbs, ported top end, and one mirror to look for cops!
It's a blast to ride! This winter it's going to get a 350 top end and 3 on one side chambers.
Anyway hope you enjoy what very few of us are doing out in Alberta, Canada. "peace and wheelies", Aaron.

Saturday 25 September 2010

Austin's Yam

As once raced by Anthony Co-Built (when he first put a toe in the short track water), now tarted up by the mighty CFM. G

Friday 24 September 2010

Size Does Matter

Computer woes are the modern day equivalent of God testing Job, and in this techno dependent age, I receive those lightning bolts fairly frequently. My G5 Mac has been living on borrowed Sunday school time since SB#3 so it was Godsend that it lasted just until SB#6 was completed - crashing daily even when only one program was being used at a time. But then I realized apart from vital commercial photo work and Sideburn stuff that was backed-up on Lacie external hard drives, I had 75.59 Gigabytes of music = 14,795 songs (half of which was irreplaceable), some important emails, and assorted files which were not. Oh Damnation. So I did a few quick Hail Marys and went to the überhip down town Apple store. Miraculously they managed not only to give the spent piece of used jet trash a jolt of Frankenstein life, but keep it powered up just long enough for me to download the left-overs on to a second Lacie external hard drive. Praise be to the Lord!
My new system is a MiniMac wired up to a 24" Eizo screen.
It's fanfuckingtastic. BP

Danuvia update

New from Peter in Hungary that the Danuvia road bike is closer to completion. Read more about it in Sideburn 6.
Photos courtesy of Totalbike Hungary
Danuvia boss Vlado has great taste in decor (that's the free poster buyers get with every copy of Sideburn 6).

Very bad news

We're consciously upbeat on the Sideburn blog, there's enough bad news everywhere else for us to be peddling it too, but I couldn't not post the terrible news that Frank Boast, Pete's dad, was killed when a car knocked him off his Ducati earlier this week. Franco (as I was told to call him) was a lovely fella. I saw him countless times at the short track races, where he'd be helping Pete and Jackie with the bikes and making the meeting happen. I also saw Franco virtually every time I went to Cadwell, as he'd there watching the racing or helping mates.
It was always great to see a dad and lad still doing so much together. He really was a bloke who'll be missed by everyone who met him.
A service will take place at Washingborough Crematorium, Lincoln on Thursday 30th Sept., at 11.10am and all are welcome. GI

Rev Magazine, Portugal

I dig Rev Magazine from Portugal. A big-hitting independent from my old friend Vitor Sousa. They publish good stuff and photos like the lovely Irina with her Davida. GI

Running Adjustments

Correct me if I'm wrong, I think this is 1932, Jimmy Simpson fettling his 500 Norton International Model 30 - judging from the architecture and the Shell sign, in Sweden or Norway???
My multi-adjustable Laverda Jota bars (then fitted to my Guzzi) once came loose ridding the big dipper of Paddock Hill, Brands Hatch. While still on the move my index finger had to double up as a 10mm Allen key. BP

Thursday 23 September 2010

More from the Lowbrow Holeshot

I was at the Western Reserve races you just featured. The hog ran in the streetbike class (of 2 bikes) and he actually ran it pretty hard, dragging floorboards! We all thought it was a good laugh, but were concered in that he almost was a candidate for the ambulance several times each time out and that would delay the already long program until a new ambulance arrived.
I was riding a little TTR125 #4F in the pitbike class and am looking for a proper cheap bike for next year. Good fun.
The #41 in the yellow gear who goes like hell is Ricky Marshall, and that's a National #41. He's not a national campaigner over funding now, but still goes like a raped ape... Roger

Photos courtesy of Rick and

I don't have any tattoos...

But if I was going to get one, this is the top of the list. G

Honda FTR223 for sale in England

It's a late model with the single front downtube, not the duplex frame. Thanks to Tom for the tip-off. On eBay

Wednesday 22 September 2010

An Age of Superheroes

This book is so good I have to hide it or I don't get anything done. Mat Oxley is my favourite writer (working in the subject motorcycles). He's been covering GPs, at the tracks, since the 1980s, as a rider he nearly won the Suzuka 8-hour, and did win a TT (250 production class), and he's even written for Sideburn.
For this book he interviewed Schwantz, Rainey, Lawson, Doohan and Gardner - the Superheroes who wrestled the most vicious road racing bikes in history. He also raided the archives of the best GP photographers of the era. The interviews form captions for the incredible photos. I pick it up, idly, then force myself to put it back down 35 minutes later having not done any work. It contains more than those five superheroes, though. There are amazing images of Randy Mamola, Kenny Roberts, De Radigues, Cadalora, plus the bikes, girls, team kit...
Put it on your Christmas list. And our mate Kar Lee did some illustrations for it too.
Amazon are selling it cheap. GI

Aidan Collins: UK Short Track Champion

Aidan Collins clinched the UK Short Track title in style when he won a brilliant final at Rye House on Saturday. Aidan's from a fast family, his dad Les - who comes to every race with him - was nearly World Speedway Champion, his uncle Peter was 1976 World Champion.
Stylish rider and a nice fella, he had some backing from the HM Plant Honda team and repaid them. Congratulations. G
Photo: Tom Whiting

Lowbrow Holeshot report

From Steve...

Went to the Lowbrow Holeshot last weekend at the Western Reserve Motorcycle Club. Man, what a setup this club has: 1/4 mile short track and some dirt trails up in north-eastern Ohio. Surrounded by farms so I guess the neighbors don't mind a little noise.
I went to look at the grids and was amazed to see 30 races. Three-Zero. Quads, young tykes (4 year olds look awfully cute on minis), 50cc class, modern dirt-bike, vintage, money-paying, etc. They even had a speedway class (smell that Castrol-R), which you never see in the States. The money classes were super competetive (and had the largest grids) and them boys know how to ride. Some guy on a HD Fat Boy in the Streetbike class showed his skills too (he only crashed once but got right back on).

The Lowbrow folks had a table selling shirts, hoodies and mags. I saw a few people walk away clutching issues of Sideburn. The party they had afterwards was low key drinking and what not. Low key until the burnouts began that is. At one point the club guys backed their diesel pickups onto the concrete picnic area to show the folks how to really do it.
Luckily a lot of the early crowd was of the Lite-beer drinking variety. Once the party really got started the kegs [of Hobgoblin Strong Dark Ale] disappeared fast. I was def. appreciative of a quality ale being a beer-snob myself; I thought I was destined for Bud or something.
Definitely a night to remember.

What!? No one thought it was a good idea to take a photo of a hero dirt tracking a Fat Boy?