Sunday 31 October 2010

Zaeta: European Champions

We just heard from Paolo, the man behind the Zaeta project, that his number one rider Marco secured the Mefo Sport European Championship title yesterday on the Zaeta DT. Marco won the Czech race, and was assured the title when his main rival, Richard Mason, was stranded in Germany with a dead van. We're sorry for Richard because he's done some serious miles, on his own, leaving the UK to contest the Euro rounds, but there can't be many amateur bike racers of any sort in the world that do more miles than Marco Belli. He's competed in 90 per cent of the UK flat track races for the last five or six years, plus raced the majority of the Euro rounds and is instrumental in starting a series in Italy (so maybe he won't have to drive to England so often, which is a shame because the series will miss him). And he pays for it all out of his own pocket (though I think the Mefo Sport series had some prize money this year).

Paolo's message was simple 'First racing season and lot of happiness (much less money but that is ok)'
Congratulations to Marco, Paolo and the Zaeta crew and everyone behind another season of Euro Flat Track. GI

Read more about Marco Belli in Sideburn 3 and more about the Zaeta in Sideburn 5.

Ceci n'est pas une pipe 2

Pete Stanfield's new toy. XS650 street tracker Bullworker'd up to 707. Love the peculiar pipes. UK short track Thunderbikes 2011 Pete? BP

Look, Signal, Manoeuvre

I can't believe I've not seen this before. It's one of those hugely patronising public information films and probably had the opposite effect of the one intended by its makers in 1965. Come on, we'd be the one on the Triumph Tiger Cub hammering round the woods, surely? A great bit of social history - the newsagent's is straight from my youth. Click full screen and select a higher definition - the quality is pretty good. Anybody else spot goody-goody Tom's blunder at about 5m 30s? MP

Happy Halloween

Thursday 28 October 2010

Orders taken

If anyone wants any Sideburn merch taking up to the The Stags Spooktacular in Wigan tomorrow night, let us know by email by 10am on Friday (tomorrow). We're not having a stand, but we can take stuff and save you the postage. Thanks. G

N-130 Basque Country

Picking up Meyer Ranch's comment from GI's roads post, I can vouch for the same road in my top 10. NB it's essential to take the N-130 that goes through Lizartza, a truck-stop village on the old national road. Things to watch out for: post siesta drunks on the wrong side of the road; especially blind corners. It's safest to ride from 12:00 - 15:00 when the natives are tanking up. Also eat lots of carrots as it's impossible to adjust your eyes when wearing sunglasses to combat the blinding sun but then enter a pitch black tunnel at full tilt. Also watch for loose masonary / rocks that litter the road after storms.
I went to Pamplona in 2000 with 3 biking friends from Amsterdam, and my wife to be. A Guzzi, a Laverda SFC, and the then brand new Ducati MHe. The dead-weight of the Guzzi got me trounced on the mountain section. My testicles are not large enough to run with bulls (or my survival instinct logic is adequately developed enough to realize better).
What's the name of the intoxicating crushed ice drink consumed locally by the jug full? Possibly related to Hemingway's Death In The Morning? More of the same please. BP

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Hell Riders

Nothing to do with motorbikes, but this is my favourite ever book. It's the story of the British cavalry, the Light Brigade, a military blunder, during the Crimean War, brought about by the fact the two generals in charge hated each other and wouldn't talk to one and other. More than anything it's a tale of unquestioning bravery.
As Tennyson wrote:

Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred

Above all that though, it's just a great read. It doesn't try to be clever, it tells an amazing story, giving real quotes from the cavalrymen of the time (as reported in The Times). And the Light Brigade, the 17th/21st Lancers, are the ones who have the 'Or Glory' badges. G


I have a new monthly regular writing about roads for Bike magazine. I'm treating it as a column rather than a guide to the road. It's fun to write and the mag has commissioned Adi Gilbert/99 Seconds to illustrate it. It looks great. Feel free to suggest roads I should try. They don't have to be long or great, just memorable for some reason. GI

Gaining speed/confidence

From our friend Danker of the Sang Froid Riding Club, Oregon. What a trooper.

An update from the Pacific Northwest: Saturday was an excellent motorcycle day! A big group of us went up to Woodland, WA to race vintage motocross with the Hammer & Tongs guys. The track was awesome and the weather was perfect.
Then we all loaded up in the afternoon and drove to the Oregon State Fairgrounds for Indoor Flattrack Racing! We all ran our vintage mx bikes with knobbies, except for three friends who had raced a 100mile cross-country race in the high desert of Eastern Oregon--they ran their modern dirtbikes. Also, Travis brought out his RT360 that he's been building--hopefully he'll send you some pics soon--and beat an XR750!

Anyway, I had never done it before (except on a CT70, which kinda doesn't count) and got a slow start on the first race--but got in the groove, passed a couple of dudes and was gaining speed/confidence. UNTIL going through a corner, perhaps a little tighter than I had been, my foot hit something solid and twisted back against the footpeg of my DT250. POP! Look down and,
oh my--my boots pointing the wrong direction... Bummer, spiral fracture of the tib and a great big break on the fib.

Having never had the benefit of formal training--Chris Carr, where are you?--what was I doing wrong? Is it foot out, toes up? Toes down? The footpegs on the DT stick way out; are short pegs the way to go? I had a blast and want to run again--but definitely don't want a repeat. As I sit here eating painkillers, I'm thinking about getting one of those trophies!
Cheers, Dan

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Spritz by Fritz

We were sent a DVD to review, so we passed it to our friend Al at Skeleton Chop Shop blog. Al is a welder, fabricator, pinstriper and custom painter, so we thought he'd have a better idea of how good the DVD is. Here's what he reckons.

How to Paint your Motorcycle at Home
Spritz by Fritz

In this DVD Fritz takes us on a trip to a show quality paint job. On the journey he covers, in great detail, all the processes from basic to technical in a friendly and easy to understand manner. He covers prep, sanding, prime, paint, gold leafing, lettering, candys, flake, fades, pinstriping and polishing. I’ve painted a few bikes from home in my garage and wished I had seen this DVD 10 years ago! The only slight downside is Fritz could do with a camera man. Every five minuets he has to mess with the camera. I first heard of Fritz when he was painting for Indian Larry so you know he’s going to be good. Fritz speaks to us like we're his friends standing in his garage, this gives the DVD a real good vibe. I would recommend this especially if you have never painted before. Buy it here
Al Williams

Summer Memories by Audrey Beauchamp

Old cine film shot by Audrey Beauchamp, Rex's wife. Just beautiful. Loads of details and style for a period I, for one, don't often see. I think a lot of it is at the Astrodome.
Big thanks to Boastie for the link.
How many riders can you name? Can anyone fill in the gaps of where these tracks are? GI


Here's my take to the best of my recollection about who the riders are and where in this 1973 footage:

I don't know the first half mile track, but here's who's coming back into the pits: 76 Frank Gillespie, 62 Corky Keener, 64 Gary Scott riding for the Triumph factory, 84x Eddie Wirth, 22 Terry Dorsch, 15 Mike Gerald, 88 Tom Rockwood, 80 Kenny Roberts
riding for Yamaha, and of course Rex Beauchamp is 31 on the factory H-D.
The first two indoor venues are the Houston Astrodome, the short track and then the TT. Add to the list 31z Rick Hocking, who along Mike Gerald rode the Astrodome races for Honda. 7 is Mert Lawwill, 9 is Gary Nixon, 4 is the great Bart Markel,
both multiple grand national champions. And I thought I saw #14, which would be Cal Rayborn. All legends.
Coming down the outdoor ramp is 69, TT specialist Sonny Burress, and future champ and present AMA dirt track director is 72 Mike Kidd.
The second Astrodome add 12 Eddie Mulder (you can't see his number, but it's his leathers). #6 is 1972 Grand National Champion Mark Brelsford, and I think this is the first or second year of year of the AMA assigning single-digit numbers only for
former GNC riders. (I also applaud Mike Kidd for recombining the gnc races back to a single combined grand national champion #1 rider again, apologies to Sammy Halbert for not getting to wear it while they were separated).
The outdoor half mile is the rescheduled Terre Haute, Indiana half mile which I was at. #11 is Don Castro riding for Yamaha, 13 Dave Aldana, (coming to Britain per your blog) may have been a factory Norton rider that year. 45 and16 are Canadian brothers Dave and Doug Sehl and 38 is Chuck Palmgren. A few years earlier, there were three Palmgren brothers racing with National numbers at the same time: Larry #5, Chuck, and Denny #16...pretty cool).
The last indoor is at some arena, and notably in the pits is #4 Markel (not the Triumph guy you see first, but right after in the red hat). The young blonde guy with the bare knee sure looks like a young Jay Springsteen, and in the Suzuki jacket is Gary Nixon, who rode for them at Daytona in 75 I think, so this film may not be all 1973.
A great piece of GNC history, thanks for sharing....roger.

From Will Stoner, 202F

I can add this: The indoor is the Michigan State fair Coliseum in Detroit. I’m almost sure I was there. I will try to figure out the novice numbers. I’m not convinced that’s Springer and I’m almost sure that’s not Nixon in the Suzuki jacket.
I’m pretty sure the cute girl is one of Dee (Dee’s Leathers) Johnson’s daughters, probably the one who is married to Randy Goss. Also, I don’t recall Springer ever having a big scar on his leg.
By copy, I will ask Dick Leonard number 70X, who was most surely there about who

Monday 25 October 2010

Steve's Spondon Sportster

From Steve in the North West of England

Ok. Here goes...!

Spondon aluminium frame with oil tank in headstock and swingarm ( last frame done by
Sweary Bob before he 'retired' ! ) - based on the architecture of the Norton
'Featherbead' frame.
Ohlins shock.
Spondon tank.
2001 Sportster 883 motor bored to a 1200. ( with chain drive conversion )- running a
semi-auto Rekluse clutch.
One-off exhaust done by Asbo Engineering with Supertrapp cans.
Aprilia Mille forks.
Mille bottom yoke with ABM top yoke conversion and ProTaper bars.
One off Excell rims on Talon hubs with cush drive rear ( by Central Wheel ).
Braking front and rear rotors.
ISR radial front brake master cylinder.
Brembo rear.
Brembo calipers front and rear.
LSL headlight and mounting brackets.
Koso digital speedo.
Autogage tacho.
XR750 replica seatunit with pad.
One-off wiring .

Sorry about the long list Gary! I've an even longer list of family and mates to thank for help with the build. Couldn't have done it without them. I was hoping to have it on the road soon but I've got an issue with the chain catching the frame in a couple of places so it looks like I'll have to strip the bike back to the frame to get the job done ! Ah well - it's problems I hope you don't encounter with your build.
Anyway, good luck with that and thanks again for the support.

Deus Bali

Following a tip on Hell For Leather, came across this cute Deus Bali built 1/2 pint - or make that thimble size, Honda CB100 street tracker. BP
UPDATE: We should add that Deus Bali are stockists of Sideburn.

Sunday 24 October 2010


I did get to interview Eddie Lawson at Stafford (thanks Ben). I remembered to take my jacket too. G

Saturday 23 October 2010

Mumbaikers in Paris

We're going to try to get to this on our way to this.
You might remember seeing Thierry's photos on this post Mumbai Chai Racers. G


Bicycles are now more fashionable than olive oil. I've bought a couple of coffee table books recently that promised but didn't deliver. But VELO is a meaty one, published by Gestalten in Berlin, it's a healthy 242 page cross-section and thankfully not over saturated with fixies. It even has works from Sideburn friends Death Spray Custom, Ben Wilson, and future collaborator Stevie Gee. BPThe car wheeled Kitten prototype built by DeGouveia

Friday 22 October 2010

Sideburn's GI returns to Killer Diller

Sir Johnny Alpha's weekly internet radio show is the soundtrack to my life. I listen to the downloaded shows constantly, so it was great to be invited back on for this week's show. And I wasn't as drunk or nervous as last time.
The show's the usual mixture of garage punk, surf instrumentals, gunk punk, Moog freakout, Chatham blues, Nederbeat, hard soul, country-blues and sleaze guitar.
Here's are a list of artists that got played:
Dantes, Citations, Dirtbombs, Makers, Fall-Outs, Thanes, Offhooks, Masonics, Headcoats, Cecil Leuter, Lou Höffner Trio, Rezillos, New Bomb Turks, Devil Dogs, Fingers, King Size Taylor & the Dominoes, Mitch Ryder, Jimmy Stokely & the Exiles, Barry Gray, Huevos Rancheros, Jackie & the Cedrics, Phantom Surfers, Link Wray and his Raymen, Maria Dallas, Jimmy Gordon, Peels, Jay-Jays, AB&C, Vicious Cycles, Stags, Stellius

Download it here. See the tracklist here.

If you like this Killer Diller, you can listen to the previous one I was on here. GI

Triumph T120 Flat Track for sale

On UK eBay. Thanks to Mike for the tip-off. Their spelling mistakes, not ours (for a change).

For Very Reluctant sale due to new project, my Triumph Flattracker built by well known American Flattrack hero Jim Henry, Henry rode with all the greats since the early 60s such as Dick Mann, Gene Romero, Kenny Roberts and Gary Nixon. The bike was built and prepared for Texas outfit 'Team Gulfsteam' and raced in the early noughties in the VDTRA series by Willard Kelly and team members with some success. The bike was prepared for another season but never saw action that year as the rider came off the previous year, broke his leg and was persuaded by his wife to hang up his boots. Consequently she is in Excellent condition and runs beautifully.
Team Gulfsteam were a competive outfit but sadly do not exsist anymore, I had along conversation with Jim Henry last year about this particular bike and he gave me the full low down, which makes for great listening but too much to list. She is a very highly and expensively prepared race machine with all the right bits, in short she is absolutley frightening, and amazingly quick. The frame is a 60's T120 frame and the Engine a heavily breathed on T140 . The list is endless to what has been to prepare the bike but anyone out there who knows about these machines will recognise whats been done. I can be reached on 07887 984845 and am happy to chat about the bike. The bike was imported 3 years ago and has never been registered in the UK so an daytime mot and new V5 will have to be applied for if you want to run her on the roads. I am situated in South Scotland but am happy to deliver the bike for the fuel money.
This is an extremely rare machine and built by one of the best in the business using all the right bits. Im passionate about Flattrackers and really will be so sad to see her go as this is one bike which gets a huge crowd where ever she turns up. The reserve is very low considering the ammount is cost to build.

Thursday 21 October 2010

Red's Dead

It's all gone green. We have two red embroidered patches left, but we have new green ones. They look great. Made in England. £3
We have new lime green laser-cut sticker too. £2.
Post is free on these items if you order them with something else.
Find them HERE

Rye House Practice: Coming up

Rye House is probably the best loved of all the ovals UK flat trackers race on so it is good to get this mail from Mike.

RYE HOUSE PRACTICE - Saturday 6th November
As the Ace of Herts meeting has been pulled due to rain-offs and re-orgs, I've organised a practice session at Rye House for a last blast for the year.
Probably the last chance this year to have a blast round Rye House - weather permitting! 4 hour practice session, 11am - 3pm. Final chance to shake your bike down before stripping it over the winter - Or first opportunity to have a go on that new 'investment' you just bought...?
Contact Mike for details, need to have an idea of numbers before booking the track: or 07890 301587


If you made it to our issue 5 release party Wig-Out in Wigan you know you'll want to attend this. If you missed it, this is your chance to make up for the shocking error.
All the same ingredients. Timewarp venue with bargain basement beer prices; The incredible Stags; Sir Johnny Alpha DJing (plus Sideburn's GI spinning a few tunes). Loads of influential and beautiful people; dirt trackers letting their hair down (or at least getting drunk and dancing); one of the most fun live bands you're ever going to see.
People are travelling from all over the UK for this. Sideburn, Co-Built, Skooter Farm, Davida, Red Max... will all be in attendance, though in reality it has nothing to do with bikes and everything to do with dressing up (probably as a lady) and getting down. Are you gonna be there?
Friday October 29. The British Legion, Upper Dicconson St, Wigan, WN1 2AD

UPDATE: We'll be giving a bunch of Sideburn stuff to the best costume. The Stags will be judge, jury and executioner.

Jeff Wright Props GI

Too modest to blow his own trumpet here, so I am tooting it for him.
Jeff Wright has honorably listed GI as one of his top 12 biking influences...

WD: Chopper Dave speaks highly of you, so who are your influences in the motorcycle world?

JW: Tom Fugle, Roland Sands, Shinya Kimura, Brandon of Brawny Built, Joey Dunlop, The Bench Mark guys, Gary Inman, Vise, Ken's Factory, Hot Docks, Japanese, Chopper Dave, etc….These are people I look up to and respect their work.
My true influences come from race bikes.

Read the full interview by Wes Drelleshak of Street Chopper on the Church of Choppers blog. BP

Keepin' It Snug

Body Armor?! What are you talking about?! BP

Wednesday 20 October 2010


Check it out at the shop. Web offer only. No foreign cheques or moneygrams.


Leftfield biblically loaded painting by Italian artist Antonello Riommi of a Dell'Orto VHB carb as fitted to old Guzzis. And some crusty loaves. I love the way it's painted so seriously but the content is so absurd. Want. BP

Sideburn a Milano

E' vero, grazie a Custom Sickles siamo a La Fonderia per una serata di musica, art, birra, metallo e molto di piu'. Questo e' l'opportunita', cosi' lungo anticipata, di chiacchiere con lo staff di Sideburn, o di ascoltare con un sorriso educato mentre dicono sciocchezze. Porteremo un sacco di merchandise - magliette, felpe, la nuovissima sciarpa, libri, adesivi, distintivi e tutte l'edizioni di Sideburn ancora disponibili. Ingresso a invito, ma basta stampare il flyer (sopra - foto: il nostro bravissimo Ben Part). Occhi su questo blog per piu' detagli. MP

Running repairs

As casual as someone stubbing out their cigarette with their boot heel, my mother-in-law stood on my expensive Cutler And Gross specs, breaking them in 6 places. They had been trainspotted with get-me-home bodges in the past using paper clips and Band-Aids, but the wicked witch did her darndest to kill them proper.
Last summer I bought these old Polaroids as a cheap replacement, from the most excellent GDE Jongejans, on the Noorderkerkstraat Amsterdam. The shop is hardly ever open but I struck lucky. Anyway butterfingers dropped them a few weeks ago, breaking one corner of the top rail. The optician must have heated up the frame a lot to get the lenses in, as when I tried to Superglue them back together (unheated) there was a 2mm gap. Superglue is only good for sticking your fingers together with anyway. So I lightly filed down the edges of the plastic lens (lighter and shatterproof for biking), Araldite epoxy glued together, drilled a 1mm hole through the middle into the nose, then broke off the drill bit (on purpose) to act as a pin. A dob of brown Sharpie marker pen to colour in the glue; to match the tortoise shell. And away we go. BP

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Stafford Bikes, People, Hell Riders

After 4 hours sleep we were on the road in an LDV convoy to Stafford. In fact, Dave actually was in an LDV Convoy, I was in an LDV Pilot. It's a busy show and if you don't get there early you can queue in traffic for an hour or more.
Top left is the founding editor of Bike, Mark Williams and the übergruppenfuhrer of Morton's magazines, who run this show, Steve Rose. Top right: Dave and (insert caption here). Middle Right: Alex from Skeleton Chop Shop brought his girlfriend and bought a tank. Bottom left, Alex Fox and Kerri from the Wall of Death had a wander round on set-up day after their own epic set-up.
Stephen turned up in a Bonneville Performance T-shirt to complement the Bonneville Performance framer we had on the stand.
The highlight of any UK show for me is The Magazine Man. Bryan is a real one-off and it was good to see his lad Gavin after speaking to him on the phone so often. That stand is just full of motorcycle magazines (plus a few pinstripe and tattoo mags) from all over the world. I just wish Street Bikers wasn't £17.
Nice mix of bikes in attendance. Bottom left is Michael Dunlop's Manx winning Suzuki 750. Bike 196 is a tuned SCott Flying Squirrel. I just love it.
It was hard to escape the stand at Stafford, but me Dave and our new mate Gresham went to see the Wall of Death while Ben spun some discs. It was the wildest performance any of us had seen. It was one of the last shows of a long season and Ken and Kerri seem to be both taking crazy risks, wheels virtually kissing the top wire, knowing if they touched it they'd hit the deck, 18ft below, very hard. I spent a day with the Ken Fox Wall of Death for the feature in Sideburn 6. Young Jamie wasn't riding bikes then, now she's in the act. I think she's only 16 still. Both Ken and Kerri saw us up at the top of the rail and Dave, Gresh and I were all convinced Kerri was keeping eye contact with us as she rode around. And she never stopped smiling. 'It's like pole dancing on motorbikes,' said Dave 'It's all teeth and tits.' It was fantastic.
Then Ken and Kerri did the race on two Honda 500s. At the end Ken does his spiel about not a company in the world being willing to insure them (true) and the coins start raining down into the middle while Ken, Kerri and Jamie keep smiling. Brilliant. Can't wait to see them again next year. GI