Thursday 31 December 2015

Caroll Resweber

Caroll Resweber won his first AMA Grand National championship in 1958, aged 22. The Texan went on to win four in a row, a record that stood until Scott Parker won his fifth on the trot in 1998. And between 1957 and 1961, Resweber won half of the 30 National championship races. He died back in May this year, but his place in flat track history has long been assured. MP

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Australia to England on a Postie

I've met Nathan a couple of times, and he seems a lovely fella. My son is reading the book of this trip at the moment and enjoying it. G

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Shobba - updated

I've spent too long over Christmas trying (and failing) to find some Christmas cards based on cartoons by the superb Shobba, that were a subscribers' gift when I worked on Bike magazine in the 1990s. Shobba cartooned for the mag for ten years or more, starting in the '80s, and he rarely, if ever, missed the mark. I love his stuff, but they're hard to find. Here's one of a few that are floating around the web. He really should publish a collection. MP

UPDATE: Grant, I think you mean a big cock... (and apologies for the poor quality image, it's the best I could find).
We won't upload any more as it's not our intent to rip off Shobba. If he had his own website we'd link to it, but I can't find one. Shobba, get in touch if you see this.

Monday 28 December 2015

Frenzied practice for Snow Quake

Yes, these plucky fun-seekers are so keen to be in top form for Snow Quake that they wangled a trip back to the Tyrol in 1953 to practise. Note 1: there is no skiing class for Snow Quake. Note 2: but we are talking Snow Quake. MP

Sunday 27 December 2015

Mahony Photo Archive Fire

I heard about this fire when I was out at the US Superprestigio, but didn't know the details until the other day.

Sideburn has featured Dan Mahony's dirt track photos since issue one. He photographed throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, before moving to Montana Missouri where, according to Mark Gardiner (see below), he and his wife fostered abandoned animals while Dan converted his 1000s of images from print and negative to digital. Virtually any Ascot photo you've ever seen is either Dan's or his father's, Walt (who helped found the Ascot track and the Trackmaster frame company). An example of one of Dan's evocative shots, this one from the Houston Astrodome, is below.

The archive was stored in Dan and Vickie's home and was wiped out by the fire. Most of the animals perished too, but Dan, his wife and mother-in-law escaped, though Dan was badly burned trying to rescue some of the animals.

A friend of the family has set up a Go Fund Me page if you would like to help with any money to put the Mahonys back on their feet.

Many more sad details of the fire are over on Mark Gardiner's online Backmarker column on G

Saturday 26 December 2015

Mablethorpe by Dave Bevan

Sideburn contributor, poet and photographer, Dave Bevan came to check out the most recent Mablethorpe Beach Race.

Check out Dave's writing and photos at his blog, Happy Going Nowhere.

The next Mablethorpe race is tomorrow, 27 December. Mr DTRA, Anthony Co-Built is out on my brakeless Honda 650 as I'm doing family stuff. Go along and give him your support.
Here are some captions from me, Gary.
Odgie (doyen of British indie motorcycle publishing, podium man at Dirt Quake IV, author of a fantastic autobiography, Crazy Odge) made his return to the beach for the first time for over ten years. He raced a very modified, ex-military Can-Am Bombardier 250, and had a lot of fun. 
That's him above, and below, looking very Judge Dredd in his open-face lid. Having had several handfuls of Lincolnshire sand fired at a closing speed of 100-plus mph in my face, there's no way I'd race in a Jet lid. He's made of stern stuff.
The grasstrack class is spectacular. Lines vary wildly in all the classes.
As I've said before, they'll let virtually anything race on the beach as long as it passes the very lax tech inspection (a bike needs a lanyard cut-out). The most photogenic bikes, from many people's point of view, are the big streetbikes, but not many people can get multis to work. There is a very fast post-2000 Bonneville; a Cagiva Navigator 1000 (you can just see the front of it, above) that seems to get quicker with every race and Barrie G, who has always done well on Hinckley Triples of different sizes, but races less often than in the past. A Kawasaki GT550 (bright yellow, above) and a CBR600 are regularly raced, but their riders are making it very hard for themselves with those bikes. I'm glad they do, because they look great, but they'd undoubtedly go better on singles. 

Most people in the unlimited road bike class are on big singles - like the Honda XL500, Dominator 650, Suzuki DR650. Some of the bikes are beautifully prepared, while some they appear to be ratty nails, but they're all set up well. I wrote about Ross J (custom bike builder, experienced motocrosser) and his DT400 before the previous race - click the Mablethorpe label in green at the bottom to see it. 
The classic Yam was originally bought to race dirt track with the DTRA, but Ross fitted some knobblies to give the beach a bit of a go for a laugh. The photo above shows his fat, 19in front tyre between two skinny 21s that are fitted with Michelin sand tyres (mine is with the closest). Ross said the tyre made his Yam hard to turn. Then his recently recommissioned bike's carb filled with sludge. The beach finds any bike's weak point and makes it worse.
This is half the unlimited street bike grid. I'm on the middle, 13 on the back of my Icon 1000 Jackknife jersey, I was out on my £450 Honda 650 rat, I've raced at five or six meetings now. This was the fifth round this year, but only the second meeting I'd made it to and I got on the podium for the first time. I was third behind the virtually unbeatable Steve Lomas (51) and Mark on the Bonneville (who is on the other half of the grid to this picture, the right hand side of the starter). Very pleased with that, considering there were two riders I'd never beaten in my class than day). 
And if it's all too much, there are plenty of cafes to hide in. Racing will start between 11-12, depending on the tide, and lasts about three hours. G

All photos: Dave Bevan.

Friday 25 December 2015

DIY Ice Tyres: Updated

The first Snow Quake is an experiment, and it doesn't make sense for a lot of riders to buy ice tyres for one ride a year, so Mike of Survivor Customs set about making his own. Here's what he says...

You want a half decent enduro/ motorcross tyre with some decent tread.  The length of screw will depend on the tyre tread depth, I reckon you want blocks at least 20mm deep,so if you use a 25mm screws you will need to line it with something 5mm thick at least 
I researched and spoke to a couple of people who made their own studded tyres, and discovered you need the screw to go right through the tyre carcass this will help it stay in as it bites into the cord. Hence why you need a liner. 

The screws I used were sourced from a local bolt and fasteners shop... they are M6 x 25mm Hex head self tapping screws with an 8mm head. These are also known as roofing or tech screws but you don't want the ones with the self drilling tips you want the pointed ones. 
I made a tyre liner from an old speedway tyre you need to cut the bead and half of the wall off each side of the tyre so it slots inside underneath the tread .... the screws slightly bite into the inner / liner securing the screws so I'm told. 
Once the screws were all fitted securely I used an angle grinder to cut slots in the heads roughly half the depth of the head... this is important because this is the tread of your tyre. The grooves make them grip. You need to change the angle of the grooves. In the centre of the tyre, the grooves should be horizontal, that means across the tyre. The outside screws, used when leaning, need vertical grooves. The screws inbetween need diagonal cuts. 

UPDATE: Bob in Minnesota (where they know a lot about ice racing) says to remember to tape the joint of the liner to stop it nipping the tube. I'm sure Mike at Survivor would have done that, but forgot to say in this quick how to he kindly wrote for us.
Hope it kind of makes sense... these methods are tried and tested, but I've never ridden on ice before so I thought it was best to use some seasoned knowledge, to make these on the cheap.

Click to find out more about the Snow Quake race we're promoting with Deus ex Machina and Pirelli in the Italian Alps. G

Merry F****** Christmas to You All

Thursday 24 December 2015


It’s Dirt Quake on Ice!

WHAT: Europe’s best looking dirt track race bikes and inappropriate road bikes on a challenging snow and ice race track, kindly supported by Pirelli
For this, the first Snow Quake, competitors are being invited from all over Europe to race their custom bikes on the ice.
Spectating is free.

WHERE: Ice Rosa Ring, high in the Italian Alps.

WHEN: 10:00 – 15:00, Thursday 21 January, 2016

AFTER PARTY: At the Deus Portal of Possibilities, Vi Thaon di Revel, Milan on 20:00 on Thursday night.

Technical regulations
Bikes: Flat track, vintage scrambler or enduro; inappropriate road only.
Modern motocross, DTX or Enduro are not allowed.
Tyres: Studded, not spiked. Buy specialist tyres or see Sideburn blog in next day or so for how to make your own tyres.
Long mudguards front and rear.

Brakes: There will be classes for bikes fitted with front and rear brakes or rear brake only. Classes for race bikes or inappropriate road bikes.

Make a road trip of it
The excellent Motor Bike Expo takes place in Verona, starting the next day, Friday 22 January, until the Sunday. 
The show has a huge custom area, the biggest of any European show, plus massive racing area and all the regular manufacturers and accessories.  

Wednesday 23 December 2015

So long, Homer

Just heard the sad news that Homer Knapp has passed away. I met him a couple of times, visiting his incredible workshop in North Hollywood, after being taken there by his good friend, Andrew Gray. I even got the opportunity to ride his 1928 Harley JD (above) at Perris, a bike we'd worshipped from afar for years.

Andrew wrote a great story about Homer for Sideburn 7. I've just read it again. If you have it, dig out your copy, give it a read and thank the world for folk like Mr Knapp.

'A down to earth, smart interesting gentleman in the best sense of the word, who while proud of his achievements isn't one to brag.'

So long, Homer. G

Tuesday 22 December 2015

40X Scottie Parker

Look at Scottie Parker, 40X, in - I'm pretty sure - his first year as an expert, 1979 .

How much does he want that holeshot?

His body language is the same as a football hooligan slamming through the front doors of a rival firm's pub, at 2.15 on a match day afternoon and shouting, 'Come on then! Who wants some?' G

Monday 21 December 2015

Sunday 20 December 2015

If I had Indian MTV, I'd never get anything done

Dateline: 12 September 2015, Hotel Mini Swiss, Khajjiar, India

After four nights in a tent, sleeping in jawdropping locations in the Himalayas on the Sideburn x Helmet Stories trip, we were back in a hotel, a hotel that was something like a set of a Wes Anderson movie (see the swimming pool below. Unfortunately it was empty. That's a horse being led round it).

It was good to get a shower, but the camping had been such fun, and so memorable, that we weren't that fussed to be in a hotel, especially not one quite this weird. Still it was an experience.

The next morning, we met in reception, ready for the last day's riding. While I was waiting, my gaze fell on the TV the bored male receptionist was watching. The old set was showing Indian MTV. After days of riding, eating in shacks and pooping in a tent, I was mesmerised by this eye candy. Right there and then I thought, If I had Indian MTV at home, I'd never get anything done. This is the actual video that was on. It didn't take me long after getting home to hunt it down. I've watched it a few times and still wonder:

What. The. Hell. Is. Going. ON?
Read about this trip in Sideburn 23. By the way, the huge statue is Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god. G

Saturday 19 December 2015

Interivew: Honda Six50 Designer, Adrian Sellers

Last week I posted images of, and thoughts about, one of Honda Europe's 2015/16 concept bikes, the Honda CBSix50. Within the hour, an old friend, the motorcycle designer Ian Wride, emailed me about some of the comments I made and put me in touch with the Six50's designer, Adrian Sellers. I'm a concept bike nut, and asked if Adrian was happy to answer a few question. This is what I got back.
Adrian Sellers
Age: 34 
Nationality: USA 

What’s your role at Honda Europe?   
Senior Designer, Concept and Design Development Department, Honda R and D Europe (Italia).

What projects have you been involved with that you can tell us about? 
I'm mostly involved in advanced projects, so that pretty much eliminates saying anything! Of things you've seen, I've most recently been involved in the Forza 125, City ADV concept and accessories, and a number of special editions - and of course the the Six50 as you already know.  I've also designed Honda's EICMA display and booth for the past two years.   

Before working at Honda, I was with GK Design and Yamaha Motor in the US where I designed many of Yamaha's US market motorcycles, from cruisers to dirt bikes.   

Top three fave bikes of all time? 
Ducati 916 
Honda Elf prototypes 
Britten V1000 

Number one current bike? 
That's tough - I can't say I am really inspired by any current production motorcycle.

We’ve had the sportsbike boom, adventure bikes, then the whole retro thing (obviously still major sectors), but what’s the next emerging trend for Northern Hemisphere biking? 
Sorry, classified! 

What was the brief for the CBSix50 and who wrote the brief? 
I wrote the brief in collaboration with our planning department.  It was based on extensive research we conducted over the past year and a half into areas of opportunity in the naked segment for the Honda brand. 

It’s been labeled a scrambler. What do you call it? 
Since the beginning, I've called it 'Urban Adventure' - it's more or less intended as a motorcycle expression of the SUV trend. The Adventure trend is strong now, in all markets, but most people who have 'adventure' vehicles don't use them off road. The point is to feel protected, tough and versatile relative to other drivers, so the Urban Adventure is aimed at this expression of power and toughness, with the off-road style aspects showing versatility and possibility. 

What is the purpose of a concept like this to a company like Honda? 
To communicate with our customers - to build excitement, and involve our customers in our design process. 

What are the challenges for a designer of making a concept? 
There are a million challenges, from the aesthetic to the political. The most important, of course, is being certain that your direction is correct  There's always an element of risk that you get it wrong, but through research, discussion, and the intuition necessary for a designer, your margin of error is hopefully minimized. 

Is it a dream come true to create a concept, or would you rather be working on production bikes? 
Both have their exciting points - it's incredibly satisfying to see someone riding a bike you designed months or years after its release. But with concepts, you have a much more free hand - they can be a more direct expression of your dream - and because of this have the possibility to inspire others to a much higher degree than a production bike. 

What is the pecking order of designers who get given a concept? Is it something for juniors (to push boundaries) or chief designers (to lead trends)? 
 concept can come from anywhere in design. Sometimes it's a product of research, sometimes the product of an inspiring sketch. Whether this comes from a junior or senior designer is largely irrelevant, but if a junior designer's idea is chosen, then a senior member will often guide their hand through the realisation process. 

How much time do you have it this concept and did you, do the clay modelling? Do designers even do clay modelling in these times of 3D printing? 
From concept to EICMA took over a year.  We still work in clay - it's essential, given the the very visceral connection between a rider and the bike - but also fully integrate 3D into the process, often trading back and forth between the two to realise the final show bikes. To make a show model requires working with clay modellers, 3D modellers, craftsmen, and suppliers - it's a complicated process. For this model, I had the pleasure of doing some of the clay work myself, as well as building the 3D models for a number of the final rapid prototype parts you see on the bike. 

The dash looks quite radical and really caught my eye - what is the thinking behind it, how does it differ to current dashboards? 
Thank you for noticing! I really wanted to express a playful modernity that takes the form factor and high quality material expression that we are familiar with in mobile phones, tablets, etc., and blend it with physical buttons that reference video game controllers - familiar forms in a new context. 

Is the bodywork on the concept painted clay or real, usable material? 

What would have to change to productionise this concept? 
We designed this and its sister concept the CB4 (below) to be as realisable as possible.  Of course we take liberties with materials and technology that would be difficult to implement without extraordinary cost in production, but that's one of the joys of doing a concept bike! 

What’s the likelihood we’ll see something like this bike from Honda, and if we do, will we recognise it as a very close relative of the CBSix50? 
I can tell you that the response has been extraordinarily positive, so you never know!

Friday 18 December 2015


First ever Dirt Quake tattoo? I think so
Ben Dickinson had such a good time spectating at Dirt Quake IV he had this Ryan Quickfall T-shirt/sticker design inked on his bicep. Ben doesn't have to buy a ticket for another Dirt Quake for as long as I'm a part of it. He made my week.

Below, for those who wondered what they missed, and those who made it along and want to relive it, is the official Sideburn video, by Drifter Visual and Ryan Quickfall. G

Thursday 17 December 2015

The Wind and the Dull Roar

This video features a big jump on a heavy XR1200 and was made to promote Saint, a new Australian clothing company that makes Kevlar-reinforced denim, among other stuff. The company is headed up, I believe, by one of Church of Choppers' regular contributors, Micro. G

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Dirt Quake IV Police Car: Going Cheap!

Open to offers. 
Nissan Almera, 2001 with log book, no MOT.
In current ‘Police’ livery…OFF ROAD USE ONLY!
No rust.
Working blue flashing light (and classic ‘Ner-Ner’ siren that needs replacement switches)
Wacky Races- style, kitchen door port-hole in roof.
Broken headlight.

It truly is the perfect gift for:
The Poll Tax riot re-enactor in your life.
A 17-year-old too young to join the force, but desperate for some pre-Constabulary role play training.
A cash-strapped rural community on the brink of social meltdown.
A would-be drug mule.
A leftfield motorcycle race organiser looking for props on the cheap.
Cop drama set designer with a tight budget.
A banger racer.

New owner must collect. Located in Wigan.

Email us at dirt @ with offers/details. No ridiculous offer turned down.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

R1 Tracker

Ben Bostrom
Gregg's Custom Yamaha R1 1000cc street tracker.
Story by MotoGeo's Jamie Robinson.
Sideburn 9 
Also available in a back issue deal, while stocks last. G

Monday 14 December 2015

Survivor Customs CCM Conversion

Mike of Survivor Customs is converting CCM road bikes into ready to race DTRA dirt track racers. This is one he finished for a customer last week. They can convert any CCM with Rotax or Suzuki engine: 604, R30, 640, 644. Contact him if you want to convert any other makes, DR650s, Dominators, etc
Survivor are based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This is Mike's description of this conversion.

It is a converted CCM 604 supermoto. The bike was fully torn down and rebuilt in dirt track spec using the original main frame and motor. Modifications include: 
Altered swinging arm, shortened and side shock mount added. 
Altered sub frame to fit XR seat unit. 
Custom built replica Wood tank and alloy liner. 
Yamaha R6 forks and modified R6 yokes 
Yamaha R6 rear shock with uprated spring. 
Custom mid exhaust using original header pipes. 
Custom alloy underslung battery box and underseat wiring tray. 
19in DID rims with Maxxis DTR1 tyres laced to motocross hubs. 
Electric start fitted with lanyard killswitch.
Number boards.
The bike is ready to race.

The price of the conversion is £2700 (not including a good donor bike).
Contact Survivor Customs at or
Below: Before. This is the next donor bike. Looks how long and high it is, in comparison to a short, sharp short tracker.
Frame loop has its shock mounting removed and relocated to the left side to allow the wheelbase to be shortened. 
Alloy liner with a Wood-style tank cover. Centre mount bolt for single fastener removal of the tank.
Detail of modified bolt-on subframe; shorter forks; repositioned rear shock; shortened swingarm.

Sunday 13 December 2015

Sideburn Stocking stuffers

Searching for affordable last minute ideas? Get on the case.
Tea Towel designed by Ryan Quickfall. £10
 Norton, BSA or Sideburn key fobs. Handmade in England. From £15
Yellow or black Sideburn woolie hats. Tested in the Himalayas. £15.
Sideburn magazine! From £5. Back issue deals, 300 pages of magazines for £9. While stocks last.

See these and much more at the Sideburn webshop.

All prices subject to post and packing. We ship worldwide.