Saturday 31 December 2016

2016: Sideburn's Year

It's New Year's Eve and a good time for quick post to say thanks to all our readers, advertisers, friends and collaborators and look back on the last 12 months. Right at the beginning of the year we had a change that saw Ben leave and Kar Lee join as art editor.

In the last 12 months we have...

  • Made four, fat issues of Sideburn including the first 116-pager we've made. 
  • Organised Snow Quake with our friends at Deus Ex Machina, Milan
  • Held a joint launch event with the DTRA at the Bike Shed London
  • Released three Sideburn x 250London race shirts 
  • Helped Wheels and Waves organise their El Rollo dirt track race in Spain (and finished on the podium in the Yamaha Faster Sons invitational race)
  • Sold out adventure trips to the Himalayas and Morocco (more coming next year)
  • Exclusively interviewed racers past and present
  • Raced in Italy, Spain, UK, USA, including every round of the DTRA championship
  • Posted 380 blogs 
  • Launched, and regularly updated a new website -
  • Got up to 63,000 followers on instagram
  • Supported artists, writers and photographers all over the world
  • Run our sixth Dirt Quake in the UK and third Dirt Quake USA (with the See See superstars)
  • Travelled out to Harley HQ, Milwaukee to research a bunch of stories for Sideburn 28
  • Collaborated with UK clothing brand and the Schulz family archive to create a SB28 Snoopy cover, clothing and a fantastic story in Sideburn 28
  • Been chosen to ride the Indian FTR750, the most important flat track bike for a generation

Thanks again. See you next year!
Photo: Larry Lawrence

The Tale of Old Blu'

Pete Stansfield has supplied a great post on his Triumph chop, Old Blu' and I finally discovered why a rusty, gold and polished alloy Triumph was called Old Blu'.

Go to to read more. This blog is going to be retired very soon, but we're going to continuing blogging on our new website.
                                                                                                        Photo: Guy Bolton/GKM

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Sideburn Stories: Alta and Anders at Santa Rosa

I was fortunate to see Alta Motors competitive flat track debut at the CFTA's Santa Rosa short track meeting. The electric motorcycle company put a local hot shoe hotshot, Evan Anders, on the bike and both he and the bike were impressive.
Alta sent a bunch of beautiful shots from the weekend, so we had Alta's Jon Bekefy write his take on proceedings and put it in our burgeoning STORIES section on the new website. Go give it a gander. G

Monday 26 December 2016

Buy Magazines, Learn Stuff

It's been a while since I used a post to remind visitors that the whole point of this blog, and the website and everything else we do, is about selling more of this gorgeous magazine.  We're magazine people.

We've been publishing the magazine since 2008 and the new issue is the best ever. Why? Good question. Well...

  • We were one of only a handful of magazines in the world to be invited to ride the brand new Indian FTR750, the day after its competitive debut at the Santa Rosa Mile. 
  • Michael Lock, the CEO of American Flat Track, gave us an exclusive interview on the future of the pro sport. 
  • That wasn't the only exclusive, Bryan Smith, the 2016 Grand National Champ sat down with us too.
  • UK-based clothing designer, Russ Gater of TSPTR wrote a fascinating story on how Peanuts helped kickstart the motocross trend in the US, give light relief to US conscripts in Vietnam and move on the women's rights movement. 
  • We have tips from UK flat track champ, Alan Birtwistle on how to win a championship with next to no back-up or support.
  • Road legal grasstracker as your first ever bike? If your name's Marnie and you're a 20-year-old woman from London.
  • Deus Ex Machina big cheese, Julian Heppekausen writes about his Mexican 1000 off-road race. 
  • Our portfolios alternate between photographers and artist/illustrators. This issue is the turn of French postermeister, Lorenzo Eroticolor. 
  • British bike builders Redmax have had a few different appearances in the mag, they're back in SB27 with a Ducati 749 street tracker.
  • Don Galloway gives up some of the secrets of a giant-killing Honda 350 framer.
  • Regular contributor Dave Bevan rides his Royal Enfield into the DIY squatted skatepark he helped build. He took a photographer with him too
  • Adam of Speed Deluxe tells us how he built a bike - frame and all - in nine days, then drove 2000 miles to enter a bike show.
  • There's an update on the Sideburn Sportster Hooligan bike. 
  • A shop focus on The Bike Shed, London
  • Trophy Queen featuring super Skip Aksland
  • Plus artwork by Toria Jaymes and Ryan Quickfall, the leftfield wisdom of Guy Martin and poetry from Pikes Peak hero Travis Newbold.

This is not a magazine chucked together with a few badly written, misspelled emails and crap phone photos. It is full of thousands and thousands of words. This isn't a pitiful excuse for journalism that just regurgitates press releases and believes everything it's told. Sideburn is a proper motorcycle magazine, one that thinks differently, searches out stories and goes its own way.

Do us a favour, while you do yourself a favour and buy a Sideburn magazine.

Sunday 25 December 2016

For Sale: Triumph T120 750 Framer

Our mate Guy S is selling one of his wonderful big-bore Triumph racers for £7995.
It's Christmas, treat yourself. The bike is located in Oxfordshire, UK. It's a racer not a road bike. Keep it as a racer. Here's what Guy says...

Triumph T120 1970 engine in a VMC frame.  

Imported from Ohio in 2014 by me, this bike won the UK DTRA Vintage Class Championship in 2015.

The 650 motor is fitted with a 750 big bore kit and was modified for racing in the US. It has a ported head, racing valve springs, racing cams. It runs a pair of Mikuni carbs, which were new in 2015 replacing the worn Amal mk2s previously fitted. Ignition is an ARD mag, a favourite of US racers because they are very reliable, robust and don't need a battery.

Starting is via a remote 1/2" drive remote start socket on the left hand side crankshaft end. The left primary drive case is a period skinny flattrack item for extra ground clearance (no generator required or fitted). Alternatively starting can be via a roller starter. It starts easily and idles reliably.

The clutch is a 7 plate LP Williams new in 2015.

Stainless exhausts were made in 2015 specifically for this bike by Geoff at Co-Built.

Front forks are Betor in Weiss flat track adjustable yokes. Rear shocks are Ohlins, again new in 2015, piggy back reservoir type with adjustable compression, rebound, ride height and hydraulic preload adjusters.

Wheels are 19" with Excel rims, spool front hub, rear quick change Barnes type hub. Swing arm bushes replaced last year, also front wheel bearings and spindle.

The fibreglass Trackmaster tank and Champion seat unit are very good, and were repainted in red and silver metal flake with a lot of 2k lacquer in early 2016. 

The frame was made in 2004 by VMC Racing Frames in Cleveland, Ohio, by Doug Horner. It's oil in frame, made specifically for flattrack racing, and is based on an early 1970s Redline Racing design.

It's a fast, reliable and nice handling bike. It's a race bike, not a show bike, and is being sold as such.

See and read more at Triumph T120 Racebike. The contact details are there too.

Saturday 24 December 2016

One for the gaffer

Just for Gary, the tireless dynamo that drives Sideburn and all its offshoots. To be honest, all I want for Christmas is an ounce of my mate's energy. MP

Helen Does the Frug

Alright, it's party season, time for some off-topic. This clip appeals to my fondness for 1960s/70s Bollywood films, someone shapely in a miniskirt, nifty dance moves and driving instrumentals.

The clip is from the 1972 film Yaar Mera and, to quote a certain Britain's Got Talent deep space deviant, it ticks all the boxes. GI

Friday 23 December 2016

DTRA 2017

The dates are out for the UK Flat Track Nationals, sponsored by Maxxis and promoted by the DTRA.

There are Friday races, two-dayers, Sundays, nights, days, short tracks, TT, half-miles. There are eight rounds with seven counting towards the championship (riders can drop their lowest score if they attend all eight). The Greenfield round is an Oval meeting on Saturday and a TT on the Sunday.

People are asking about the Hooligan class. News on that is coming soon, but the rounds are likely to be Peterborough (in front of the big crowd at the MCN Festival); the Greenfield Oval, Dirt Quake, Eastbourne and Hell's Race in Belgium.

The DTRA needs some more help. Especially in the following areas. Get in touch if you can help.

Pre meeting admin work
Machine examiners (to work with our current team)
Pit marshals (to work with our current team)
Clerk of Course (to work with our current team)
Timing and Scoring
Setup and Breakdown on race days
Transporting stuff.

Superprestigio Conspiracy Update

After airing a conspiracy theory that was floating around about the Superprestigio, we had a load of great feedback and discussion.  

JP wrote...

 Marc had a hotrod CRF that had several maps that he was choosing from during the heats. a few times he was on the straight reaching over to the right bar with his left hand changing settings on the bike. The commentators on pointed it out a few times, wondering what he was doing, then saying he had multiple engine maps to choose from, and his bike was being worked on by his MotoGP engineers. Brad (if I heard him right while the commentators talked over him)[edit- just read a post with him saying that he really messed up tire selection, so yeah, I heard him right] though did mention he missed the tire setup for the last race and had no traction. 

Also, the bikes don't look to have the needed wiring for TC to be used. Speed sensors for both wheels would be needed or some other way to judge bike speed vs wheel speed/spin. I'd bet it wasn't the TC that was the advantage, but the engine controls where he had a selection. TC also tends to have a particular sound when on a bike without a fly-by-wire throttle because it isn't able to shut the butterflies, so it uses ignition and dropping spark. But. if you start losing traction, and can select a different ignition and EFI map to soften the engine, et viola. Marc was the only one I saw doing that during a race. Big advantage, anyhow. Elias wasn't on a Honda and was out to lunch until getting setup help from his old MGP mechanic, and Jared Mees via phone calls. So saying him also having TC was because he won Moto2 on a Honda engined is a bit of a reach. I doubt Yoshimira Suzuki or Catalan Suzuki (Who Elias said were all faster than him Thursday) gave him a TC setup from Honda. Did Brad send a bike this time, or was it provided to him?

 Lots of good stuff in there. It was me, who made the mistake about Elias being on a Honda. And yes, it is a bit of a reach, but that's why it's a conspiracy theory, not a news story. I'm not sure the sound of well set up traction control would be audible over a TV feed with so much other noise, and bikes geared to hit the rev limiter on the straights, but that's just more conspiracy fuel.

None of the original post was supposed to put any doubts about Marquez being a hell of a rider, Elias too. But who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory? G

Thursday 22 December 2016

Superprestigio Conspiracy Theories

I explained how surprised I was that my cast iron tip for Baker to win the Superprestigio didn't come to fruition, well it seems there wasn't a level playing field, or so paddock insiders believe. They say both Marquez and Elias (a former Honda MotoGP rider and Moto2 champ on a Honda-powered bike) had electronic traction control systems fitted to their HRC Honda CRF450s. They were the only two riders to beat Baker.

Traction control is banned from all levels of flat tracks, so if this is true it's pretty sad. This is supposed to be a fun race, I thought. I guess if you're at Marquez's level, losing is bad for your image. I'm not accusing Marquez or Elias of cheating, because I'm sure there is nothing written into the Superprestigio rules to stop this technology. It's Marquez's event after all.

The last time I went to the Superprestigio, MotoGP racewinner Scott Redding explained he'd brought a knife to a gunfight, when he turned up with his stock 450. He was amazed by the level of tuning and technology HRC had put into Marquez's bike. It's racing, it's about winning, I get that, but it also kills what could be a cool event for real fans, not just Marquez fans. G

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Motoroco Wood Rotax

Go to our STORIES section to read the story and see more photos and details of this Wood Rotax that has been rebuilt and subtly tweaked by Motoroco in the Netherlands.

Monday 19 December 2016

Sideburn x 250London Race Shirt - B&W Edition

This is the third Sideburn x 250London race shirt. Like the others it was designed by 71Speedster.

A nod to the 70s and 80s motocross style, this exclusive design allows the wearer maximum comfort with a slim fit style and we've left plenty of room for your sponsors and race numbers on the back.

Made from high quality, tough Airtex is will keep you cool this summer, but also keep its shape race after race. These shirts are cut long in the body to stay tucked-in or, if worn out, not ride up during a race.

Can be worn to race, ride on the street or just hang about in.

Buy your Sideburn race shirt


SIZES (armpit-to-armpit)
 M - 20.5in (52cm)
 L - 22in (56cm)
 XL - 23in (58.5cm)
 XXL - 25in (63in)

Sublimation printed, 100% Polyester.
Buy your Sideburn race shirt

Baker in Superprestigio Shock

Well, it was a shock to me. My cast iron, put-the-house-on-it prediction that Brad Baker would win the Superprestigio came up short. How short? As short as Dani Pedrosa stood in a pothole.

Baker was slightly off the pace in timed practice, being out-qualified by Supermoto champ, Thomas Chareyre, but it wasn't a concern to me or my prediction, because Baker's a racer.

The 2014 GNC champ comfortably made the Superfinal to race Marquez for the first time in the night. After a mid-pack run to the first corner, Marquez kept tight and exited turn 2 in the lead, with Baker behind him, then checked out. Even, and I say that with all due respect, Toni Elias passed Baker, pushing him back to third at the flag. It just wasn't Brad's night.

 The American said tyre choice was crucial and showed on Flat Track Live's feed that his soft Michelin Supermoto wet was chewing up. It seemed the same for everyone though. The official Superprestigio website quoted him as saying 'I haven’t feel at my ease in the race track and honestly I’ve been much more nervous in this event than in my current competition in flat track in the US.'

In a crash-strewn night, the British DTRA riders had mixed fortunes. A strong travelling support saw Ollie Brindley make the Open Finals, but one of the UK's brightest stars didn't progress to the Superfinal this time. George Pickering just missed out on the Open finals in his first Superprestigio, while Alan Birtwistle was out of sorts after having his van was broken into and robbed outside the event. Young Toby Hales had the bad luck too, when he couldn't avoid a crash bike on his line, was catapulted over the bars and broke his wrist.

 Keep an eye out for 2017 DTRA dates being released this week. G
Hard racing, decent crowd.
Ollie looking relaxed before the battle.
The appearance of 16/17in wheels on DTX bikes made the machinery look too much like Supermoto for some hardcore fans, others didn't care.
 Avoiding first corner carnage was crucial. 30, Alan Birtwistle about to go up the inside.
Baker leads Chareyre
 Japanese rider Masatoshi Ohmori styling it up for the crowd.
British rider Alan Birtwistle styling it up for the crowd. Rad his 'Get Schooled' How To guide tips for winning a championship without team back up in Sideburn 27.  

Sunday 18 December 2016

Getting it up

This just in (no, OK, we admit it got lost down the back of the mustard leatherette Sideburn settee for a while) from James in France.

Hello Sideburn,
Thought I'd share some photos taken at a local hillclimbing event held annually deep in the Pyreneen Mountains. Most competitors were going with the dragster/enduro aesthetic with a touch of nitrous oxide to help them along, whilst silencers seem out of favour with this lot...
Four cylinders too many? Then chop one off.
Chainsaw starter, French lass.
These guys from Holland were serious contenders, finishing second overall. Couldn't help wondering where they practise.
This blown four scattered its engine all across the mountains
 on its last run.
The hill

Saturday 17 December 2016

Ollie Brindley Flying at the Superprestigio

Young DTRA racer Ollie Brindley posted a quicker lap time than Brad Baker in Friday night's Open Class class practice. Marc Marquez topped the Superprestigio class and was quickest overall, Ollie second quickest.

Ollie has always qualified well at the big races, but hasn't always had the best luck in the races. He has made the grand final in the past.

Contrary to what we posted the other days, the Fanschoice stream is for the US only. Motors TV are showing the live footage in the UK. Go to DTXBarcelona for other country details.

The other Brits out there are Alan Birtwistle (who gives us his Get Schooled tips in Sideburn 27); George Pickering and Toby Hales. 

 Photo: Anthony Brown

Friday 16 December 2016

Sportster Racer for Sale in UK

This looks like a pukka bit of kit, imported from America, PM 8-spoke back wheel, Supertrapp pipe, flat track triple clamps, Racetech rear shocks (I think), chain drive, Dunlop race rubber; engine stamped race only, so probably from the H-D supported Sportster series than ran from the 80s into the 90s (and maybe even longer).

It looks like it would be great for the 2017 DTRA Hooligan Championship. That will be four rounds with a big trophy at the end and lots of fun in between.

Only one day left on eBay. Not reached its reserve. This sale is nothing to do with us. We don't know the bike or the owner. Buy beware. Thanks to Kev H again for the tip-off. G

Thursday 15 December 2016

Superprestigio: This Weekend

Superprestigio is on this weekend and the evening main event is being livestreamed for free around the world on

2015 Superprestigio champion Brad Baker has been in Spain since early November, training on the bike he is going to compete on, including a visit to Rossi's Ranch. As long as he doesn't get tangled up in a crash he is going to win it, he's an indoor short track animal. He did crash in the Barcelona event in 2014, breaking his shoulder, with experts blaming it on unfamiliar 17in wheels. They're not unfamiliar any more. The Superprestigio rules demand 17in wheels and Michelin road race wets, not the regular 19in wheels regular dirt track races use. This is because Michelin are a sponsor and don't make suitable 19in tyre.

British interest is stronger than ever. The DTRA has four riders in contention - Superprestigio regulars Ollie Brindley and 2017 DTRA champion Alan Birtwistle, plus George Pickering and Toby Hales.

The DTRA were allowed to field extra riders when the troubled Spanish National dirt track series fizzled out before it could hold its end of season qualifying race.

For those unfamiliar with the format, the entry is split into two: Superprestigio and Open. The former is for road racers. The only current MotoGP rider in the whole field this year is Marc Marquez, where in the past there has been a handful of MotoGP men. There are still plenty of Moto2 and Moto3 riders and, for the first time, former WSB factory Ducati rider Ruben Xaus (see him below on a Ducati Hypermotard), but the entry is nowhere near as eyecatching as previous years, but don't let put you off. Indoor short track is never boring.

The open class is for riders who compete primarily on dirt - flat trackers, speedway, long track and also, supermoto. There are top racers from Spain, Italy and the UK, plus Baker, the only American this year after Jared Mees pulled out because of injury.

The top four from each class face off in a Super final.

Here is the Superprestigio schedule so you can plan your fanschoice viewing. G

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Trackmaster Triumph on UK eBay

Another found by eBay hound Kev H. This bike is mixed in with a number of other Brit bikes all in the same eBay listing. Below is what the advert says (thoughut I've corrected some of the typos). This sale is nothing to do with Sideburn. We don't know the seller or the bike. Buyer beware and all that.

 Triumph Trackmaster flat track racer with 500 Daytona race engine £6000. All of them need work varying degrees and parts then mot and register very easy to do we the deed of title from America and NOVA tax paid forms. Please contact me for details we are in Exeter Devon

Sunday 11 December 2016

The Real Intellectuals Flat Tracker

This gorgeous CB400-powered framer flat tracker was built by The Real Intellectuals in Greece with lots of help from Bandisca, Romania and Both The Real Intellectuals and Bandisca stock Sideburn.
See more photos and read the story over at the new Sideburn blog.

The new Sideburn blog is mirroring this one until Jan 1, 2017, then it'll take over. G

Friday 9 December 2016

Bottpower to Race Pikes Peak with Travis

Sideburn is proud to have brokered a deal to put our staff poet, track tester and roving ambassador, Travis Newbold on  a very special version of Bottpower's XR1 to compete at Pikes Peak in 2017 (subject to entry being accepted, see below).
The Spanish company's XR1R will use an engine from the track-only Buell XBRR. Only 56 of this fully-faired, Daytona-focussed racers were built, during the time of Harley's ownership of Buell, and two have been loaned to the team by their customers. The engine will be in Bott's own titanium spine chassis. The styling of the bike will be very similar to the XR1R (above). I hope there is room for 747 on the side number plate.
The main sponsor for the Bottpower Pikes Peak project are our friends at Kriega, the British-based innovative moto-luggage firm who have advertised in Sideburn since issue 1, and who we featured in Sideburn 21.

Entries for the motorcycle and ATV classes at Pikes Peak have been slashed in recent years (perhaps as a result of two deaths in two years), so the team's official entry is being considered. Fingers crossed.

Travis has won his class in previous years and came second in 2015 on the Buell-powered Ronin. he was only beaten by an HRC-backed Honda America Fireblade.

You can read more about Pikes Peak in a story written by Guy Martin in Sideburn 18. We only have two of these issues left.

Keep up with the Bottpower Pike Peak project at the Bottpower blog. G

Thursday 8 December 2016

The Stansfield Effect

The latest instalment from Sideburn ambassador, John Harrison.

I first encountered Sideburn mate and perennial Dirt Quaker Pete Stansfield at the 2011 Hotrod Hayride, where he had ventured south to run his Triumph sprint/drag bike at the 1/8th mile Detonator Drags at Dunsfold in Surrey. He told me it was the first time the bike had been out since 1972.
I was racing my Harley 45 and drew Pete in my first race. Needless to say, he had blasted across the finish line before I completed my first (hand) gear change. The pic shows him warming the motor prior to changing to race plugs. I think he was running on methanol. I remember being impressed by his bib 'n' brace leathers and suffering severe tyre envy over that historic M&H slick. Yes that is a Dakota in the background and yes, the legend is true, it did race down the runway against Chief Detonator Langley Gifford in his 1940s period-correct '32 Roadster Hotrod, which was a lump-in-the-throat sight as they both thundered away into the late afternoon sun before the Dakota lifted off and banked hard right. Could it be the same plane that overflew Dirt Quake IV?
Pete also brought his sweet, hardtail pre-unit when it was in reverse-head incarnation. It has since seen Dirt Quake action, though in a different guise.
He raced Dirt Quake this year on a bone stock, low-mileage CCM flat tracker in the Street Scrambler class (I thought the stars on my leathers were neat, but Pete's were big 'n' GOLD)...
...while his daughter, Ellis, raced his stock ('cept for whitewall tyres) Suzuki B120 Loanaladyaracer.