Friday 31 July 2015

Deus + Sideburn x Michael Schmidt

Atmospheric photos from Michael Schmidt made at Perris Raceway at our Deus + Sideburn evening jolly back in June while on our way north for DQUSA. BP
The complete set on his The World is Flat blog.

Thursday 30 July 2015

Race With The Devil

The fact this is brilliant is reason enough, but it's also a reflection of the healthy hot rod scene in the States in the mid 1950s, and showcases the great guitar of Cliff Gallup with two class breaks. Lyrics provided, because Gene, who'd have turned 80 this year, really turns on his Virginia slur. First released in 1956. MP

RACE WITH THE DEVIL (Davis, Vincent, 1956, Capitol 3530)

Well, I've led an evil life, so they say
But I'll out-run the Devil on judgement day

I say, move hot rod, move man
Move hot rod, move man
A-move hot rod, move me on down the line

Well, me and the Devil sittin' at the stoplight
He started rollin', I was out of sight


I was going pretty fast, looked behind
Here comes the Devil doin' ninety-nine

[Chorus] Let's drag now

I thought I was smart, the race was won
And here comes the Devil doin' hundred-and-one

[Chorus] Let's drag again

I was going pretty fast, looked behind
Here comes the Devil doin' ninety-nine


Well, I've led an evil life, so they say
But I'll out-run the Devil on judgement day


Wednesday 29 July 2015

Pemberton Flat Track Races UPDATE

Our mate Sam V from British Columbia is promoting these fun races. Support your local race track!
UPDATE I posted the wrong Facebook link. This is the correct one.
More details at Pemberton Flat Track Racing. G

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Doug Chandler. On it

Doug Chandler wrestling the Freddie Spencer-backed Honda VF750 in the AMA Superbike championship, 1987. One of racing's most versatile riders, that same year, as he began his transition to full-time road racing, he was still topping dirt track podiums. In the current issue of Sideburn magazine, you can read his memories of winning that year's televised Ascot half-mile on a V-twin Honda RS750. MP
If anyone knows who took this photo, please let us know.

Monday 27 July 2015

Thriller in Malilla

Some fine racing in the final of Saturday's Swedish round of the Speedway World Championships. Britain's Tai Woffinden went into this GP leading the championship, but Denmark's Nicki Pedersen was chasing him hard...

Sunday 26 July 2015

Lima Pea Gravel Protection

From Roger in Ohio

I took these with my phone while touring the pits at the Lima 1/2 mile national well before practice started. Many of these bikes have expensive paintwork and components that do not stand up well to the violent Lima pea gravel spray thrown off rear tires in the turns. You can see the extensive care taken by some of the teams to protect the bikes while maintaining the appearance of the machines. Almost the whole frame was done on Brandon Robinson's #44 Triumph.

Saturday 25 July 2015

Spoke And Stringer

Kristian Crews' Spoke And Stringer, one of our Bristol stockist finally has his own cafe shop after a run of pop-ups. Down on the waterfront opposite the SS Great Britain. Propper coffee, and chilies in the chocolate Brownies YUM! The pintxos tapas menu is especially impressive. BP

Friday 24 July 2015

AMA New Rules: The Debate starts

Reader Pat Riot left a comment to the post below  (Sideburn Talks AMA GNC Listens?) that brought up some good points that I've already been discussing with friends. I'm going to give me view on them below. Pat's comment are bold, my replies are italicised... G

Pat wrote, Well I have to say that I agree with and am excited about the rules changes except for two notes: 1) I don't like the bit about 'production motorcycles' for GNC2 - I'd love to see single cylinder framers make a comeback as well. Perhaps 'production engines' would be better. Chris Carr has commented (in your mag if I recall) that jumping from dirt-bikes to framers is a big gap for up-and-coming riders starting out in GNC1.

By production motorcycles, they mean 450 MX bikes modified for dirt track - DTX bikes as the sport refers to them.
The move to DTX bikes, and away from framers (450 or older Rotax motors in custom dirt track chassis), made some kind of sense. We at Sideburn never hidden our love of framers or ambivalence to the appearance of DTX bikes, but saw the sense or trying to attract manufacturer support by running production bikes they could market. But the support never came. If you're trying to sell MX bikes, it's easier to put all your marketing into MX or supercross. It's big budget, spectacular, the riders are more famous, the races are better attended. Really, why the hell would Honda support flat track 450s in any significant way when they had the huge US MX industry as a battleground?
And if there's a transition from DTX bikes to framer twins of the Expert class, then so be it. For years, Grand Prix road riders had to jump from 250 two-strokes to 1000cc four-stoke MotoGP bikes and just got on with it. The talented thrived, the others fell by the wayside. That is racing.  
Also, framers making a come back doesn't make sense. The GNC2 guys are on a real budget, and DTX makes sense for them. Also, they make sense for amateur club racers too. Be clear, we are NOT anti-DTX, they're good for the grassroots, but, I think, not for the elite. 

 2) 2016 is really soon. Especially for privateers, but even for well supported teams, that is a major reshuffling of the required bikes to solve by Daytona next year. All of that said, it will be awesome to see how short track and TT races evolve the formula for pro-twins bikes. I just can't see launching an XR750 as the best way to go at Peoria.

The bigger budget teams are always going to cope with transition better than privateers. That's life, but perhaps this opens a door for a privateer to put all their effort into building a great Peoria twin, and making a name for themselves, at the expense of another area of their programme. It's no different to now. Shaun Baer (featured in Sideburn 20) is concentrating on the twins races this season and has been a regular top six qualifier, but isn't racing any single races this year. So what's changed? If anything, it'll be easier for him and other twins teams (Ducati Scrambler, Bonneville Performance, Latus Triumph, Rogers KTM) to tweak their bikes for short track and twins than buy a whole new machine and tune it to compete with the top singles. 

I know the top teams have a half-mile bike and a mile bike, with the different engine tunes, but privateers don't. They change the gearing. They'll do the same for short tracks. 

Peoria. Everyone is mentioning twins at Peoria. That makes me think a few things. First, people are DESPERATE to see how the twins go at Peoria. When was the last time this many people were desperate to see a CRF450 at Peoria? Never. Secondly, let's be blunt Peoria is just a shit motocross race. If I wanted to watch motocross I'd watch motocross. But I don't I want to want dirt track. TT is part of the championship, but it's mutated so much it has virtually no link left. People get excited about Peoria because of its history. If it launched as a new race now it wouldn't get a lot of interest. I'm not saying the racing isn't exciting, to those really in the know, and who have favourite racers, but the GNC has to offer more to grow. 
Also, the 450s are flying so far they're missing the transition off the jump and landing on the flat. Won't the riders just back off, and land their jumps on the transition? Fans won't think, 'They're not jumping as far as a full alloy, lightweight 450, this sucks!' They'll think, 'They're jumping 'Harley XR750s? Those things must weigh a ton. Holy cow!'

The riders will suck it up and put on a spectacle. Perhaps Dirt Quake USA hero, The Rusty Butcher can give them a lesson on how to launch a really heavy Harley. who is telling me they'd rather watch a field of experts/GNC1 riders on DTX bikes or a field or riders on twins? 

Sometimes you have to take a step back to go forward. F1 has done it throughout history, and they're doing ok for sponsorship, last time I looked. 

If you want to read more on this subject read the Ronnie Jones interview in Cycle News p58-70 

Thursday 23 July 2015

Sideburn talks AMA GNC listens?

Back in early March, Michael Lock, a Brit who is the former CEO of Ducati North America and a big cheese at  Honda Europe, Triumph and Lamborghini North America, got in touch with me. He said he was consulting at AMA Pro Racing, or had just joined the organisation, and was looking at how to make flat track more successful. I was pretty surprised that he would talk to someone in the UK about American pro flat track, but we arranged a time he could call me. We spoke for 20 minutes and I gave him my enthusiastic fan's perspective, a perspective that has an ocean between the sport I love and where I live.

I'm sure Lock had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of people involved in the sport - riders, team owners, sponsors, plus thousands of people who have attended far more races and know far more about the GNC than me, but he clearly thought the view of someone who loves the sport, but sees it from a distance and doesn't have a vested interest, had some merit. So I told him what I thought, then  boiled it down to a blog post from March 30, not mentioning in the blog that I'd spoken to anyone at the the AMA. I have cut and pasted it below.

Then, earlier this week, I was checking instagram and saw a few posts from pro riders commenting on rules changes. Those in the screenshot at the top. And thought, perhaps someone did listen to what I thought...

This means the GNC1 riders (the elite) will only compete on one bikes, so if Brad Baker wins the title, he wins on a Harley, not a Harley and a Honda or KTM or whatever single he uses that year. It also means fans don't turn up and see MX bikes and riders in MX gear when they were expecting to see flat trackers.

People are complaining, people always complain, but the sport has been in decline for 30 years, playing to its strengths and USPs are crucial. G

DTX bikes* can produce good racing, and they're a good way for some into the sport, but the hope that killing framers** would bring more mainstream advertising and support into AMA Pro Flat Track has been proven not to work. Instead, the main thing it's done, from my fan's perspective, is lost some of flat track's unique identity. Imagine you were a motorbike enthusiast, travelling through the US on holiday and heard that a big flat track race was happening just up the road and you could get along to see it. 

You don't do any research; you don't know much about the sport, except what you've seen in On Any Sunday. So you just roll up and pay your money at the turnstiles and take a seat with a beer. But it's a short track race. And everyone looks like a motocrosser. No one is in the cool leathers you've seen photos of. And the bikes don't look like you expected. They all look like motocross guys. But they're not even doing jumps! Eventually you might get into the racing, because that's still good, but the whole experience is dulled. And sport has to be an experience if it's going to reach beyond the hardcore. 

 I don't blame the AMA for trying, but go back through the blog and you'll see we were never fans of the idea. And neither are we Luddites, kicking against progress and digging our heels in. But pro flat track isn't growing and no one is addressing this issue, yet. The aesthetic appeal of flat track bikes and flat track riders in their leathers is one of its great strengths.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Sideburn Tea Towel

Eye-melting screen-printed cotton tea towel featuring an illustration of the AMA number 1 by Ryan Quickfall is now in stock.

Comes wrapped in a printed card sleeve.

Arguably the world's coolest glass-drying tool.
Perfect for home or bar.

£10 plus post.

Can also be framed or sewn on the back of a jacket (like our previous sold out towel is on the back of my own Edwin denim cut-off). G

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Run What Y' Brung

#14 Dirt Quake IV Street Tracker class, rode 200 miles to the track on his Honda mongrel and then raced. Managed to avoid enemy fire and rode home Sunday morning. Trooper.
Who are you? Tell us more about your bike. BP
Photo: Paul Bryant


 photo Metalheadz-Goldie-GIFcopyBen-Part_zpsgdarmwab.gif
Metalheadz label founder Goldie is coming to Bristol this Saturday to play his seminal 1995 album Timeless, in full, outside on the harbour side, with a classical orchestra. BP

Monday 20 July 2015


Superb photo of a nervous Davida team rider, Jasmine before her first motorcycle race. She was our flag girl last year and only passed her motorcycle test a few weeks before last weekend's Dirt Quake. She did great in the final too, just missing the podium.
Photo: Paul Bryant

Sunday 19 July 2015

Motorcycle Limbo at Dirt Quake IV

DTRA rider Alan Birtwistle ruling the Di Traverso School-sponsored Motorcycle Limbo at Dirt Quake IV. This blew my tiny mindholes. G

Dirt Quake IV: Thanks

We’re just recovering from Dirt Quake IV, but wanted to put this out.

This is one of the stars of a show that was packed with them. Guy Martin is admiring the special trophy that one of our fellow DTRA racers, Neil Martin (no relation) kindly made.
Guy won both the W and W Harley class and the Chopper class on the Sportster chop built by Krazy Horse, Bury St Edmunds.

Some details of our Dirt Quake events (racing, medical cover, marshalling) are meticulously planned. Other parts (prize-giving) aren’t and we neglected to tell Guy where and when it was happening. Because he was loading his van, he missed it, but came out later to talk to the spectators. It was our mix-up, not Guy trying to avoid a crowd. 

Guy Martin’s Proper brand also arranged for their friends from the Ken Fox Wall of Death to appear and put on free shows to packed houses on Friday night and throughout Saturday.

Thanks to everyone who came out to race or spectate.  Huge thanks to all the volunteers, workers, bands*, DJs and our sponsors:

Please support those who support our special event.

Another big thanks to Sharon and the crew who ran the Trackside Trailer Trash camping. Without them, there would have been no camping.

* People are asking about the music. Friday night were The Vitamins (from Bury St Edmunds), Saturday night was Davros and the Deep Space Deviants (from Planet Skaro). If you want to book either bands for your event, we can put you in touch. 
DJs were Johnny Alpha, The Real Katy B and Dave Taylor. G

Photo: @Willoughby1992

Saturday 18 July 2015

Big Foot Spotted

Helicopter + frozen lake + Suzuki Boulevard 800 mutant = fun

Read all about this Canadian bike, and it's builder, Bill Hitchon, in Sideburn 20.

Thanks to Norm Motorcycho for the link. G

Friday 17 July 2015

Get To Dirt Quake IV

Anyway, any how...
For details, click the poster on the right hand side.

Thursday 16 July 2015

Dirt Quake Preview and GI interview in HUCK

The website of influential magazine Huck has run a short interview with me in the run up to Dirt Quake.
Read it at

They also chose Sideburn as one of their 50 key inspiring influencers in Huck's 50th edition. G

Chowchilla Afterburner

If you can't make it to Dirt Quake IV this weekend because, oh I don't know, you live in California or some other lame excuse, you should try support the California Flat Track Association.
The series is run by Sideburn contributor Randy Kremlacek. I've raced at one of his events, and they attract a great variety of riders and bikes. Plus they're very welcoming of new riders and novices, so get in touch and help grow the California grassroots, or get along and take inspiration from the wild race bikes.
This weekend they are promoting an indoor cushion short track!
I know it says quads welcome, but don't let that put you off. If you all start racing perhaps they can drop them (and whatever you say will not make me like quads).
Find out more at California Flat Track Association. G

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Deus Bike Build-Off Public Vote

Back in May I was invited out to the Deus Bike Build-Off in Milan, Italy, and asked to be one of the judges. You can see the earlier posts here (Deus Milano Bike Build-Off).
Now the public vote is open to choose the Global People's Vote, and it reminded me to post these photos of some of the finalists.
The builder of this Monster 750 street tracker got the stance dead right, I reckon. It might be a little long, but I could see someone having fun against the Harley Sportsters in the Hooligan class on something like this. 
 Another Ducati street tracker mash-up.
 Dagger Cycles neat SRX600.
Judges looking studious. Clockwise from front left, Raffaele Paolucci (Sideburn contributor, great photographer, shot Sideburn 11 cover); Vincent from Wheels and Waves (who shot one of Sideburn 12's two covers); Paola Furlan (web journalist); Roberto Ungaro (editor of Riders magazine); me!; Fabric Roux (editor, found of French magazine Moto Heroes).
 2 Right Hands' Yamaha XS
 CZ Chopper.
Euro dirt track hero, Jacopo Monti. He's in Sideburn 21 riding the KTM 690 Duke he build for his friend. His little Motobi Motoretta minibike was converted to fuel in frame. The 'tank' was a leather rucksack that Jacopo made himself, It unclips from the bike.
 Honda Domi scrambler.
K Model BMW was neat, but I cut off the bottom to show the setting. Deus Milan is in a courtyard, with residential apartments looking down on it. If you get chance, make sure you go to this great shop. Elsewhere on the same street is Officine Mermaid's two shops and cafe and a couple of other interesting moto-themed shops.
I also like how European bike show crowds, especially Italian ones, look quite like no other crowds on earth.
 Brand new RnineT modified by a local BMW garage, with a bunch of nice touches.
 The MC was Virgin radio's  DJ Ringo. He's bike mad and a big deal in Italy.
Go to the Deus Bike Build Off Global People's Choice page to vote for your favourite. G

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Four Days: A Poem

A poem by Andy Charlton

four days ticking.. 
tick tock tick tock 

toothbrush cleanpants bikelock 
organise delegate restock 
tick tock tick tock 

anticipate roadrage roadblock 
vanburger wee-stop gridlock 
tick tock tick tock 

satnav smartphone truckstop 
turnstile sliproad laneswap 
tick tock tick tock 

bikepark valvestop fuelblock 
check tent lock-stop sunblock 
tick tock tick tock 

duct-tape myrace shitstops 
lineout gate-up heartstop
tick tock tick tock 

smokescreen burntmud throttlestop 
leanforward benzine clutchdrop


Women Mud Wrestling - But Not As You Know It

DIRT QUAKE IV is this coming week end.
We take a tried and tested sport (motorcycle flat track racing), say "Bo Ya!" and turn it on its head, including the guest list. Favouring the green (as in clueless, not ecologically aware) and mad (as in good, not bad). And as we appreciate boys can get a little rowdy at parties - even if there is not excess alcohol, or speedboats, or kicker-ramps involved, we decided to give the ladies their own class. Ranging in age from 20 to 50. From CBT fresh to the worldly travelled. Bultaco, BSA, Suzuki, Velocette, and anything else in-between, all speeding around and around and around. And if that doesn't prove entertaining enough, we add a deluge of mud. BP

Monday 13 July 2015

Stickers Packs!

Two different packs to choose from: Ryan Quickfall and Chris Watson.
Five vinyl stickers in each.
£3.50 each plus post.

Get them from

Sunday 12 July 2015

Indy Mile

Another great race, showing how very different lines can work on a deep cushion mile.
But THREE red flags, so pick the bones out of this one.
AMA Pro Flat Track has been unpredictable and exciting this year, but the red flags aren't going to help those who want to get flat track on mainstream TV (the X Games put the sport in front of the masses, but I can't see it happening for the whole season).

Go to to watch the 2015 Indy Mile. G

Saturday 11 July 2015

Not angry just disappointed

I had my inkling of what Mad Max Fury Road was going to be like after seeing the trailer, and gave my thoughts here (What have you done?). But I always intended to go and see it at a cinema, not wait for the DVD.

After it was released, I thought I'd got it all wrong, that I'd been a bit hasty, because I listen to a film podcast from the BBC, Kermode & Mayo's Film Review, and they and their listeners were almost universally positive.

Well, it finally came to my small town cinema last night, and I paid my £5.30 and sat down to all 120 mins of it.

And I was right. I thought it was shite. G

This mash-up below shows you all you need to see. Contains spoilers.

Friday 10 July 2015

Rock Hard

I hate gadgets, and I'm tight, so the likelihood of me splashing out on a flashy gold designer bicycle pump is NIL. Especially one that sounds like it's named after Mexican royalty. But that's just what's happened...

Steaming down the local highstreet, I could feel that the tyres on my Moulton were on the squiggly side, making the handling even more squirrely than usual. So I pulled into the nearest bicycle shop to blow them up. Factory rated at 100psi, but I rarely achieve that hardness with my own crappy old column pump. I didn't pay attention to the particular brand / model of pump at the shop, but did take special note of the blingy Snap-It™ valve, which made the the process easy and scientifically successful. Rock hard in just a few effortless pumps. Hmm. I keep a miniature donut ring of BluTac on my Presta valves, so as to maintain an airtight seal, but the two-piece (revolvable) screw-on + rubber o-ring of this baby, means none of the usual hissing of air escaping its vocation. And the airline is long enough that you don't need to park right next to it.
Once you've bought a snazzy bike, there is a whole industry dedicated to trying to get you to spend wedge on the latest fad. The next ridiculous size up of MTB wheel, some new outer space developed lycra wear, or an over engineered titanium tool of debatable usefulness (going on a diet will save you much more weight and money). The Birzman Zacoo Maha IV sounds like a serious contender in such a field. But after a boring evening researching column pumps on the internet, many fingers pointed to his royal highness Birz' IV. It turns out he/she is actually of Taiwanese descent. None of my four pumps - at least one of them manufactured by a reputable brand, do what they are meant to do. And the local garage now charges for the use of its airline, so I thought what the hell, lets go crazy. The Snap-It™ is also Schrader valve compatible, so it should be able to pump up my motorbike tyres too.
Evans Cylces have a great deal on at the moment. The Birz' IV is £24 inc delivery - not a stupid amount of money when its RRP is £37.
The pressure gauge goes all the way up to an eye watering 160psi - what vehicles have tyres that hard?! So my only gripe would be that the dial is not set with more increments lower down the scale, which would be really useful for a flat track motorcycle where you are around the 20psi mark, and a few poofs either way are critical. The Snap-It™ does have a blow-off button for deflating (without having to remove it from the tyre), but you would still need to take it off to use a proper tyre gauge for more accurate low readings.

Birzman Zacoo Maha IV had absolutely no problem of making short work of my flat CCM tyre. Or the saggy Space Hopper in the garden (theres a screw-on adaptor for that and footballs included). I might have go out and pump up the tyres of all the cars parked on my street. Just for fun. BP

Thursday 9 July 2015

SB20 in the back issue deal

Issue 20 is now included in the back issue deal. Here's how it works:

You get a limited edition navy blue Sideburn Umlaut T-shirt, as modelled by Guy Martin here (at the Metzeler factory), and one back issue of your choice for £15 plus post.

Back issues included in this deal are: 20, 19, 16, 14, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 5

Go to to buy for FIFTEEN POUNDS!

Once there all you have to do is choose the issue you want and the T-shirt size from the long dropdown menu, and then go to the check out (or keep shopping. Yeah, keep shopping).

We only have a few of these shirts left. We only have one size Small.  We have a handful of M, L and XL, but XXL has sold out.

Photo: Metzeler