Monday, 2 May 2016

Belgian Road Trip

Last Saturday morning I crawled out of bed at 2.30, woke up my 13-year-old son 15 minutes later, made a coffee and left for Belgium at 3am.
We met the Co-Built crew of Anthony, Anna, Geoff, Guy, Karina and Norm, in two other vans at the Eurotunnel for a 6.50 crossing. 
On the other side we drove the three hours/175 miles to Huesden-Zolder, where they have bread vending machines on street corners, street after street with no two houses are the same, a famous road racing circuit and a speedway track.
The British riders met with the Belgian DTRA contingent, plus the Dutch Brothers (only one of whom lives in Holland, the others are in Switzerland).
The Helzold track is going to host Hells Race, what could be the first ever dirt track race in Belgium, later this summer. Two of the Belgian DTRA riders, Angelo and Bram, have organised the meeting with the assistance of the local speedway club. The idea was to invite one dirt track class to a speedway race for the speedway organisers to see what, if anything, they had to do differently. So this was an invite-only do at the Helzold Stars Speedway international meeting.

Saturday was open practice, Sunday was race day. Above is Belgian David's XT500.

Belgian Bram and his new Co-Built.
Norm and his Trackmaster Triumph twin.
Bram, David, and Hank looking mean. Co-Built Anthony's arm with an old Sideburn patch.
Guy and Geoff on their Co-Built Rotax singles. Guy painted both of them. Two very fast and stylish UK riders were back on the pace after disappointing (for their usual high standards) results at Rye House.
Co-Built Anthony (16), Jan-Willem Dutch Brother (15 - J and M Rotax), Angelo (55 Starracer KTM)
 Geoff and Jan-Willem
 Jan-Willem brought two bikes, his Astro...
and his J&M Rotax, with the wheels he designed himself. I had a few electrical problems, just as race day practice started, and both Anthony and Jan-Willem let me have a few laps on this bike. It's sweet as. Short, great power delivery. I felt comfortable on it instantly.
I've started wearing an Icon AirFrame Pro to race in. It's the first Icon helmet with a flat shield/visor that allows tear-offs. I'm very impressed with the comfort. The lining is light grey, which shows up the dirt, but it is removable. It has carbon composite construction and a quick-release Pro-Lock system (which is similar to the Shoei system for those familiar with that). No tools required. Icon are so good with the details and I love the anodised gold double D-rings. Mine is an unbranded Rubatone Ghost Carbon and it's not as easy to wash as a gloss would be. Recommended. 
Luckily there was a couple of hours between practice and our first heat race. Anthony helped me find the problem with the bike, the CDI ('They never go wrong,' said Anthony). We swapped it, I turned the rear tyre for a better, but still worn tyre and got going. I was disappointed with my results at Rye House, but think I know why. I felt pretty good at Helzold and beat both Anthony and Geoff Co-Built in a couple of the five 8-lap heats, which is a very rare occurrence now, so I can away feeling good.
Jan-Willem's brother, Mick, came from the Netherlands (2-hour drive) with a KTM DTX and this J&M Rotax. He chose to race his KTM and came second in the meeting having hardly raced at all for a year. Those Dutch Bros are fast!
Angelo is one of the men behind Hell's Race. He also organises the Flanders Chopper Bash, and I'm sure Hells Race is going to be good.
They better book this flagman...
Support your local racetrack. Do like Angelo and support your local flat track magazine too. Sideburn zip hoodies are heavyweight and last for years.
Belgium is not known for its cuisine. I went for the chav pizza.
We rushed from the track for 21.20 crossing home. We were booked on different trains, set off at different times and all got on the same, earlier train. 170 miles back north through England and home for just before midnight on Sunday night. Back to work (and school for Max) the next morning.

I got accepted to race only a few days before the event (thanks Angelo!) and if I could have got out of going on Friday night without screwing people about I would have. Work is busy, I'm trying to build a hooligan bike for the next DTRA race,  I could do with saving money, but I'm so glad I went. Good friends, good riding and good spending time with my son. Motorcycle fun times. G

Photos: Stephen Volders, Bart Knops, Carina, Max I, GI
Get along to Hells Race!

Sunday, 1 May 2016


40 years since The Ramones released their first LP. BBC 6 Music just had an hour-long appreciation and played this.

This is from the long-gone BBC TV champion of non-mainstream pop, The Old Grey Whistle Test. I never knew what that name referred to until just now. It's... 'a 'tin pan alley' phrase from years ago. When they got the first pressing of a record they would play it to people they called the old greys [doormen in grey suits]. The ones they could remember and could whistle having heard it just once or twice had passed the old grey whistle test.'

Not sure if this Ramones song could pass the test, but I still love it. It's from the 1984 LP Too Tough To Die. I can't believe I didn't list the Ramones in my top ten favourite live bands a week or so ago. G

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Barstow Goggles; OSFA Edition

Regular Sideburn contributor, photographer Dimitri Coste has a long relationship with 100% goggles, shooting ad campaigns for them and others in the motocross industry. Now 100% have created a collaboration goggle that promotes Dimitri's OSFA project.

OSFA stands for One Size Fits All and is based around his 1967 Triumph TR6C. The idea is to race as many different disciplines with one bike, only changing wheels, tyres and handlebars. He's race the Catalina GP, Pikes Peak, short track, mile and motocross (maybe more that I've forgotten).

Find out more about the goggles and how to find them at The Barstow OSFA.

You can read about the first time Sideburn met Dimitri and his Triumph in Sideburn 5 (which we have a very small amount of very slight seconds on sale) and his about Pikes Peak race in Sideburn 10 or a portfolio of his work in Sideburn 20. And click the label with his name below to see lots of posts about this enthusiastic racer, photographer, father, do-er. Vive le Coste. G

Friday, 29 April 2016

WIN: The Dirt Quake Mutt

As part of their sponsorship of Dirt Quake V, Birmingham-based Mutt Motorcycles are giving away a special version of their Mutt Desert Racer 125 to one lucky punter. All you have to do is buy a £15 adult entry ticket in advance to Dirt Quake to be entered into the draw.

Buy Dirt Quake V tickets

This custom Mutt has a one-off two-tone metalflake paintjob; classic spoked 18" wheels shod with 4.00 x 18 Firestone ANS tyres; special US spec handlebars; comfy classic barrel grips; chrome megaphone silencer to top off the standard stainless steel downpipe; Bates TT-style seat.

Check out the new dedicated Dirt Quake website too, why don't you?
Dirt Quake V Win a Mutt Terms and conditions 
  • Draw takes place at Dirt Quake V, Adrian Flux Arena, Norfolk on Saturday 16 July at approx. 5.30pm.
  • Motorcycle to be collected from Mutt Motorcycles HQ in Birmingham at winner’s expense.
  • No cash alternative.
  • Winner does not need to attend the event as long as they buy a ticket. They will be notified later. Motorcycle must be collected within 90 days of 16 July 2016 or prize will be forfeited.
  • By buying a ticket in advance you are agreeing to these terms.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Dirt Quake USA 2016

It’s back! Two days and nights of motorcycle racing, fun, live, music and camping presented by Sideburn, See See Motorcycles and Harley-Davidson.

WHEN: Friday 17 June – Saturday 18 June
WHERE: Castle Rock Raceway, WA
HOW TO ENTER: Send a photo of your bike and which class you want to enter to with the subject Dirt Quake USA Entry. Once your bike is approved you’ll be sent a link to pay.
Entry fee is $75 (includes gate entry and camping).
First come, first served.
No entries on the day.

Dirt Quake is for the kind of bikes that don’t usually get a chance to race anywhere else. Dirt Quake race day is Saturday. One rider per bike. One class per rider. We will be having a good, tight program of dirt track racing for real race bikes, and all abilities of rider, on Friday night.

CHOPPER: For choppers! Not factory customs or baggers, just choppers.
STREET TRACKER/STREET SCRAMBLER: Road legal street trackers and scramblers NOT race bikes or modern enduros.
INAPPROPRIATE ROAD BIKE: Harley Fat Boys, Trail 90s, Ducati Panigales, virtually any road bike. If it shouldn’t be on a dirt track, it’s in.
LADY: Women racers on any of the above bikes (not real race bikes please). Women can enter any other class if they prefer.
TRIPOD: Three-wheelers (and snowmobiles, of course)
MINIBIKE: Pull-start Taco-style and 3-speed autos only.
HOOLIGAN: 750-plus cc multi-cylinder beasts.

Spectators, pay on the gate. $20 for two days including camping.

Poster artwork by Toria Jaymes/ Stay Outside Studio

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Honda RS750D

The Honda RS750D is one incredible machine. It won five AMA championships in 1984-85-86-87 and 1993. And one is still being raced in the AMA GNC by the father and son M3R team.

Sideburn 24 has a nine-page homage to the HRC-developed V-twin, with exclusive drawings of the M3R team bike by Mick Ofield, a feature by Dave Despain and also a profile and action photos on the M3R team and their 30-year-old race bike that is still competing at the highest level.

Buy Sideburn 24. G

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Revival Cycles, Austin, Texas

Revival Cycles 'bricks and mortar' shop in Austin looks incredible. And now they stock Sideburn.
If your shop would like to sell Sideburn magazines and/or merch, get in touch. G

Monday, 25 April 2016

Stay Outside Studio x Sideburn

Sideburn has worked with some great artists during its history and our latest collaborator is Toria Jaymes of Stay Outside Studio. The Yorkshire-born, London-based artist designed Sideburn 24's cover and the related the Clear Your Head T-shirt and Clear Your Head art prints and also a free sticker that is going out with current orders.

Then she had the great idea of creating a stunning, handpainted 12ft x 8ft version of the cover in time for the recent Sideburn 24/DTRA launch at the Bike Shed London. These are the process photos by Ava D'Antimo.

You can read an interview with Toria in Sideburn 24. She's a complete pro. Everyone needs a bit of Stay Outside in their lives. Thanks Toria! G

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Sid Presley Experience

More garage punk/power R&B, this time from London (I think, but that might be a bit general). I saw these at the Birmingham Powerhouse in 1984, the year this track came out as a B-side to Hup Two Three Four, and it's still one of the best gigs I've been to. The band broke up the following year and vocalist Peter Coyne and bassist brother Chris went on to form The Godfathers, who could also bang out a good tune or two. MP

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Sideburn 24 and DTRA Launch at The Bike Shed

Apologies for taking so long to post this, a full two weeks after the event, but it's here now.
The day before the Rye House DTRA season opener we were invited to have an afternoon event, the Sideburn 24 and DTRA 2016 season launch, at the Bike Shed's HQ in London.
A bunch of out of towners made a special journey to check out the recently opened bike-centric lifestyle hub for the first time. A steady stream a cool and quirky bikes arrived too. One of the Bike Shed staff said it was the busiest day they'd had.
Thanks to everyone who made it down, especially Team Co-Built for bringing their gorgeous race bikes.
And massive thanks to Toria Jaymes for the super-sized cover painting. More on that soon. G

Photos: Ian Roxburgh. Thanks Rox!