Monday, 31 August 2015

Trackmaster Modern Bonneville

Roger from Ohio sent us a link reminding us that Trackmaster are still in business and developing new frames.

Like many of the old, famous chassis makers, Trackmaster has had a number of different owners and is now based in Valencia, California.

I'm not totallysold on the styling of this new Bonneville, but I don't think it's helped by being strapped down as tight as a banjo string, compressing the forks. It could easily be sorted and is another option for someone looking to build a trick modern Bonneville.

Photos: Randy Ressell

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Smiles Per Hour

I love this photo from Dirt Quake. I don't know who took it, but it's Marco Belli talking to Shun, the boss of the Yamaha Yard-Built project with Alessandro from Deus Milan in the middle, and David El Solitario in background. People from three different countries all having fun at our event. G

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Seat of the Pants

On-board with Co-Built's Geoff Cain at Amman Valley by Death Spray Custom.
Rub-on stickers from

Friday, 28 August 2015

Dirt Quake IV Video

Here is the short film of this July's Dirt Quake IV at  King's Lynn.
It was shot, edited and animated by Tom of Drifter Visual, with illustrations by Ryan Quickfall. 

Thanks again to all this year's sponsors...

In other Dirt Quake news, since the event we've been asked for Dirt Quake shirts, that all sold out on the day, so we have reprinted one, in a different colourway. This one was designed for us by Kevin from ODFU and is light grey on a navy shirt. 
Just £15 plus post from

Thursday, 27 August 2015

This weekend in So Cal...

Hell on Wheels have been running events for a long time and they always look a lot of fun. This is the advice from this weekend's hosts at the Perris track...

All the usual, no glass bottles, helmets and mufflers required on all running motorcycles. Helmets for kids on bikes and scooters; that's State law... 

This is more of an adult oriented affair, and it gets crowded. Keep an eye on and out for children. 

This will be the usual mix of backyard specials and converted heaps. It would be nice to have more than just a handful or real racers out there, whether framers or flat-o-crossers! No pro class that I am aware of... 

My own personal observation: This is a bit faster event than most Hell On Wheels events. Long sleeves, boots, good gloves, full face helmets and all the safety equipment you have. Shorts and tank tops ARE NOT race track attire. Remember the old Honda ad, Dress For The Fall, Not The Summer!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Dirt Quake IV Video Snippet

Dirt Quake IV Trailer 1 from SIDEBURN on Vimeo.
Here's the first morsel of the new Dirt Quake IV video.
Filmed, directed and animated by Drifter Visual.
Illustration, animation by Ryan Quickfall.

We're premiering the whole thing on Thursday night in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, because that's where Tom of Drifter Visual and Ryan live.

We'll have DJs, free Dirt Cakes from Pet Lamb Patisserie, merch stand with good deals, the pub are running a burger and beer promo... G

One-Off Wednesday (on a Tuesday)


One only.

Colour version of the two-tone artwork produced by British artist Raid71 for Sideburn 17.
It depicts Mad Max and the last of the Interceptors meting out some justice to the Toecutter's gang.
It is printed on  Somerset Enhanced Textured art paper.
This limited edition print is signed by the artist.

It is approximately A3 size (300 x 420mm, 12 x 16.5in)

Get your for £22 (plus post and packaging) from Mad Max art print.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Briar Flips The Bird

No sooner had a local paper, then the AMA commentators, crowned Henry Wiles 'King Henry' than his 'subjects' were acting in a revolutionary manner.

Earlier this month Henry Wiles won his 11th straight Peoria TT and thanked current champion Jared Mees for at least making a race of it this year. Here the young Briar Bauman is showing what he thinks of Wiles' achievement.

Bauman came fifth in Peoria and third at the Black Hills Half-Mile, Sturgis, in the previous round. He's sixth in the championship standings, Wiles eighth.

As you can see from the screengrab above, the young Californian wasn't ashamed of getting caught giving the racewinner the bird. He even put it on his instagram. He was given a fine for being detrimental to the sport of motorcycle racing.
Peoria was feisty. It sounds like two other riders were fined $625 and $500 and banned for a race each, for having an 'altercation'.

While I was trying to find a better shot of the Bauman incident, and failing, I found this video below. The needle between the two is pretty funny.

Final thing, what's with sticking the tops of your ears into your cap? Never a good look. G

Sunday, 23 August 2015

New Uniform

Alright, there have been 14 heavyweight motorsickle blog posts since our last detour 'off-topic' so I don't feel I'm pushing my luck with this gem.

I'm not one for uniforms, club colours or overtly trying to fit in with the crowd (though I guess I am magnetised towards those of a similar mindset, so I'm going to look a bit like my mates, I suppose), HOWEVER, as soon as I saw this 1969 recording I wanted to demand that Ben and I wear identical watermelon red shirts with Concorde collars and banana-coloured ball-huggers whenever we're together on official Sideburn business.

Additionally, if I had it my way, our attachés, (deputy editor Mick P; Entertainments officer Dave Skooter Farm; poet Travis and subscriptions mistress Deb) would also be made to wear Irish green tuxedos and white turtlenecks AT. ALL. TIMES.

Who's with me? G

Saturday, 22 August 2015

A Brief History of Dirt by Martin Squires

Martin Squires illustrated the Brief History of Dirt feature for Sideburn 20 and has made a limited run of A3 Giclee prints. We have a handful to sell.

The poster features a history of dirt track bikes from a 1920s Douglas to Kenny Roberts' TZ750. The original artwork  was commissioned for an article by Paul d'Orleans of the same title in Sideburn 20. It's printed on 250gsm Somerset.
Size: 297 × 420mm
Hand numbered and signed by artist.
£30 plus post
Posted in a mailing tube.

Get it at

We took the opportunity to ask Martin a few questions (and include sketches of Martin's from this year's Dirt Quake IV)

Tell us a little about yourself, age, where you live, etc…
I’m 37, I live in Bristol and I spend a lot of time traveling around motoring events sketching machines.
Is art a full-time occupation for you? If so, who are your clients?

Art is definitely a full time thing for me. I feel a bit strange if I haven’t at least sketched something during a days work. Most of my work has come through people I have met whilst sketching at events, that’s how we met, wasn’t it Gary, in the cold shed full of old bikes! Again through sketching at events I now have a monthly article in The Classic Motorcycle called “Sketchbook Travels’, it’s a monthly diary logging my motorcycle sketches along with some interesting facts or stories about the machines I’ve discovered whilst sketching them. Other clients have included Sideburn of course. Old Empire Motorcycles, I worked on a series of build concepts with them last year and have been producing promotional artwork for them too. I recently got the opportunity to sketch at the British Grand Prix where I sketched in the Lotus F1 Garage which was an incredible almost futuristic experience, quite different from my usual race experiences of vintage machines being fettled before going out for their next race. As I work freelance the list is quite long, but I’d like to thank all the people who have commissioned work from me as I’m always thankful that people believe in my work enough to support me.
You seem to be sketching every single weekend, how many events and what kind of events do you attend?

I probably do 2 to 4 events a month. I sketch at a variety of events, mostly motorcycle events, but I like to mix in the odd car show and of course you know I’m partial to a tractor show. I did my first aeroplane event last year and will be going back to Sywell Aerodrome again in a couple of weeks, aeroplanes are great fun to sketch. I think it’s important to change things once in a while and keep challenging yourself. Attending different events I try to push myself out of my comfort zone and learn something in the process. 
What are your favourite events? 

That’s a difficult one, I think I always enjoy an event when people are genuinely into their machines, if there is a real enthusiasm I always react to that. Recently I’ve really enjoyed sketching sprint motorcycles as they are machines built for purpose, the aesthetic comes from the function and this makes the machines more interesting as a result. The amount of engineering and time spent on these machines is truly inspiring, also the fact that they are striped down to the bear minimum takes them back to the essence of what a motorcycle is. I’ve sketched so many sprint machines now that I’m looking into the possibility of putting them together into a dedicated book. 
We've seen you at quite a few Sideburn events, what the attraction?

The first Sideburn event I went to was the original Dirt Quake at Coventry. The first thing that struck me about what you guys are doing is that you have a come one come all agenda, there is nothing elitist about it. I think this is born out of the fact that the magazine was done off your own back and so the do it yourself nature of this has then come through to events like Dirt Quake. The friends that I have made through attending Sideburn events are always great genuine people and that’s what makes me come back to your events.
 If you could link in my new website somewhere that would be fantastic.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Vote Drake

This is Drake McElroy, Sideburn 20 cover star, freestyle MX pioneer, Smoking Seagull, the greatest travel show presenter in history and friend of our mag.

He's in some kind of video competition with other freestyle stars on the X Games website. This is a screengrab from his entry, because we can't embed it. So it doesn't matter how many times you click the little arrow on the naked FMX dude, it won't play on our blog, you have to go to X Games Drake McElroy

Please go and watch it, then vote for it. You don't have to sign up, or be on facebook or any of that crap. And it's a fun video (but you got that idea, right?).

Read Drake's own writing about his cafe racer/supermoto/dirt track Honda CRF450 in Sideburn 20.

UPDATE: I just noticed he has a Sideburn rub-on sticker on the clocks of this bike. G

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Dirt Quake USA by British Customs

Earlier this year Matt Frey of British Customs trucked up from Southern California to Castle Rock, WA with a selection of trick Hinkley Bonnevilles to be shown and raced at Dirt Quake USA. He allowed a few guest riders, including me, to race these street trackers and street scramblers over the next couple of days, for which I was very grateful.

Matt also organised one of our favourite photographers and regular Sideburn contributor, Yve Assad to document the race. Make sure you check out the slideshow in the middle of the blog post.

See the photos and read the report at British Customs. Make sure you check out the slideshow in the middle of the blog post. G
Scott Rounds flew in from New York for Dirt Quake (5000 miles, give or take) and raced one of the British Customs bikes, doing really well on it.
Wes from Threepence drove 1000s of miles up from Denver, Colorado to race the British Customs Mutant. What a nice guy.
The Harley Invitational was FAST!
Ben on Norm Motorcycho's CB550, that Norm has owned since the 1970s!
Ace face!
Can't remember the name of the band that closed the show, but they ruled!
George, the co-owner of See See, dressed up as a cowdude to flag off a few races.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

More GNC Rules Thoughts

There are some great comments giving lots of different views to the 2016 GNC rules - see them here. DTRA Rookie racer Damian McCann sent these thoughts in...
UPDATE: I've replied to some points. Damian's words are in italics, mine are bold with my initial after.

Tried to post on the blog but too many character and its too late and i cant be arsed to try and edit it as I have to fly in a few hours time, i may have gotten carried away a little: 

 Having only got into all this 2 years ago I'm not sure I know enough to comment but I have fallen in love with the sport so even though i don't have a solution here's my thoughts: I think you all have really good points and I think you should all join the AMA board! 

Gary I agree that it needs its own identity and twins and leathers etc. gives it that identity. When I was first investigating flattrack the thing that captured me was the images of the awesome framers, that look like nothing else in motorcycling leant over sliding round a mile track. The thing that really captured me and this gets into marketing, social media etc. was go-pro footage of Sammy Halbert at a night race (above) and it was a rear facing camera, he was absolutely hammering it and then you had Mees etc.. Drafting and getting inches within the camera and then anchors on or going flying by with the bike snaking about, only to be overtaken again, it gave me goosebumps! It was new to me and was the first time in years that Motorsport had me excited, I wanted to see more. 

 Having said all that I joined the DTRA and I bought a DTX bike because it seemed more accessible and cheaper. I love it and because I race a DTX bike I look at Wiles or Baker or Brindley, Neaves etc and think "damn i want to ride like that". On the smaller tracks we ride on they are far more spectacular than the framers. I do feel there is a slight bit of snobery (not sure thats the right word) between the two types of bikes and this can't help the sport. Peoria was intense racing! 

I think DTX bikes have their place and logic would tell me that they should give the sport a wider target market ie. from wise old Harley Riders to young motocross whippersnappers. The trick is to get the kids into it and they'll get into competing through DTX. 

I've never been anti-DTX, I don't want one, but I've said from the off that the racing is exciting, but my belief is the overall spectacle isn't bringing people through the gate. This isn't about grassroots, or support classes, purely selling the big race to punters and sponsors. G

I went to the Xgames and there was a good turn out of over 30's but very few kids spectating. As Brad says Speedway or certainly british speedway is in crisis, it desperately needs new blood, more riders. I go to see Newcastle speedway, again, very few kids but then the average speedway fan probably can't afford to take the kids and perhaps this is the same with AMA events, I don't know I've never been to one I'm just assuming it's an older possibly blue collar fan, whereas motogp just like premier league football is becoming a sport for the wealthy corporate world. Fans choice is good and bad, now you don't need to go to a race and who wants to sponsor something where even on tv you can't get your message across because most people will watch it Mon a laptop or device, the screens so small etc. They could do a lot with fanschoice and it should be a major boost to the sport. 

To finish on a positive note as Brad says, in comparison with speedway, grass track etc. from what I can see flattrack is moving in the right direction: 

Fanschoice is hugely important, despite my comment above and gets better, with improved camera angles, commentary with Chris Carr. 

The AMA seem to be trying to do something: rule changes good or bad they are changing which means they are trying at least. Bringing someone like Bayliss in from another sport is the right idea even though it's been a disaster due to injury and probably not the right personality and could be seen as making a mockery of the sport so they need to tread with care on this one. Stuff like thundermedia footage. Xgames. Hooligan scene. I agree with Anthony that it probably needs to be a lot more international. And the gap after rnd1 Daytona doesn't help much I don't think. 

I think Bayliss was great for the GNC. The accident was unfortunate, but it shows how difficult the sport is. He's making his comeback at Springfield. He's a trooper. G

DTRA successful through good organisation, non-motorsport sponsors, a cool image, great dedicated participants. 

- Superprestigio is helping with awareness, although I agree it's only because of the Marquez factor. 

- Marquezfactor; it seems like every other superbike/motogp rider is using dirt track to improve their skills, that can only be a good thing for awareness. 

- Sideburn/Dirt Quake etc. 

- Articles in the independent, MCN, it would seem in the Uk it is getting more coverage than ever but this doesn't help the top level, or certainly not the scale of new fans it needs to pull the money in. 

Like I said I don't have a solution but I'll certainly be doing my bit to get the uneducated educated. Damian

There are so many things that could be improved, but things are moving the right way and no one has all the right answers. The twins thing is very controversial and does seem rushed for 2016, but is that just the actions of a governing body trying to grasp the nettle and move things along, while there is interest an momentum? That can be viewed as good or bad, but change is sometimes painful. As a fan, I'm excited about the idea.  G

Damian got back in touch to say this was the video that inspired him to start racing.


Yes, you could buy one of our hats from a speculate to accumulate UK eBayer for £38.75 or you could get one from us for £15 (plus post).
We also have yellow ones now. All our hats are made in England.
Go to G

Colby Superman

From Garrett (who, I always feel I must say has a special place in our heart, because his was the first bike we ever featured on the blog). He and his family have been racing out in Kansas. He says...

Cool ( a bit scary) sequence of my boy crashing in Colby, KS, USA. Nice view of his Sideburn sticker, though! Hope all’s well with you fellas! 

See the whole sequence at
Someone should make a gif out of it. G

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Flat Track Fun Days, Victoria, Australia

Engineered to Slide and Sideburn stockists SUUS Customs are organising this event near Melbourne, this weekend, with a pre-party at SUUS on the Friday night before.
For more info go to Engineered to Slide . G

Monday, 17 August 2015

Peoria Reflection

There are a few strands to this post.
1. The proposed AMA rule changes for 2016 and my personal thoughts on them.
2. Yesterday's thrilling race in Peoria. 
3. A comment Sideburn reader Randon left overnight. 

First the rule changes. You can read more here and here, but in the briefest terms, AMA Pro Racing (the governing body of dirt track's Grand National Championship) is stopping the GNC1 class (the Experts as they were called) from racing 450 singles, instead making them race their twin-cylinder bikes at all tracks including short tracks and TTs. There are lots of differing opinions on this, but read the comments in the links above and leave more here if you want to debate. I am loving reading the comments and opposing thoughts on this. 

Yesterday's race was the last Peoria TT contested by 450 GNC1 bikes for, as Wiles very cleverly put it, at least one year. It was a great race to end an era with. 

Now Randon's comment, cut and pasted... 

A while back you said the Peoria TT was a "shit motocross race." 
I can't disagree more. You have it absolutely backwards. Motocross is a shit Peoria TT. 
Today was evidence of that. Watching Mees chase Wiles for 25 laps was an absolute pleasure. I will always cherish knowing I was there. I love you. I have each issue on my shelf, except Sideburn #1. You have done a lot to promote flat track world wide, but I have been pissed about this since you said it.

Yesterday, I (Gary, Sideburn editor) watched six hours of Peoria coverage on a window smaller than a postcard on a computer screen. You can believe me when I say I'm a big fan of all the modern racing and I'm not looking at it through rose-coloured glasses because I wasn't watching the racing when Aldana et al were involved. However, I like to think I know a bit about the sport and the characters involved. I didn't need telling it was a big deal Coolbeth didn't make the main. I knew it was poignant that one racer who normally runs 7 chose 69 instead. I knew that when the cameras were concentrating on race at the front that it was almost equally important to the season-long battle that Bryan Smith finished 11th. I know all that, because I try and watch every race if I can. But flat track needs more than people like me. It needs people who don't know a single thing about flat track to turn up or tune in to their local race. 

I wasn't at the race yesterday but a few things stuck out. Chris Carr (who knows a bit about Peoria and the sport in general) repeatedly commented that this was the closest race Wiles had ever had in 11 straight wins at Peoria. So, it was a good one. 

Secondly, the crowd looked a bit thin and, just from the glimpses I got, mainly of an older generation. I have no problem with an older generation and their money is as good for the sport as anyone's but it's indicative a withering, ageing fanbase.

The entry for the expert class was very small. In 2010, 47 riders posted times in Expert (GNC1 qualifying). In 2015, 26 GNC riders posted a qualifying time. Are 450 DTX bikes bringing more money or riders into the sport? From that scrap of evidence, you'd have to say no. So, if that's the case perhaps you try something else. Right? If the entries aren't healthy, concentrate on something that brings more money and interest to the cream of riders (like MotoGP does), rather than trying to make it a democratic sport lots of people can enter. The grassroots will do that and the cream will rise to the top. 

Now, my comment about Peoria being a crappy MX race. This is not my take on the race, but my clumsy attempt at describing what the person on the street, the non-expert sees. It was headline-grabbing to stir thought and emotion. It worked in Randon's case.

Look back at my posts and I've never doubted the quality of DTX racing, but this ISN'T about racing. This is about marketing the sport to secure its future. This is about USPs (unique selling points) and, of course, there are are forgettable twin races sometimes. 

There are too many sports and pastimes all looking for spectator and sponsor dollars. Show a photo or clip of Henry Wiles going over the Peoria jump to anyone and it looks like MX. No one can argue that. It has NO USP. Randon, you are an expert, you can see the nuance and detail. But to survive, AMA Pro Racing has decided to stop worrying about the fans it has now and chase the fans and sponsors it doesn't currently have. Running twins at Peoria is not going to lose any current fans or spectators, but it has the chance to attract a lot more simply because it will be unique. Of course, this will only happen if it can get the message out and market itself well.

Also, I want to add that the Peoria club and the racers do a great job to put on a race and even though there were some crashes, the hold-ups and injuries were minimal, thanks to air fences etc. People who love the sport respond with emotion when they read their favourite race called a crappy MX race, but I still believe AMA Pro Racing are looking at (or at least for) the bigger picture and revolutions always put someone's nose out of joint. 

Please feel free to leave a comment on this. If, for whatever reason, you can't leave a comment and really want to, you can email us dirt @ and I'll cut and paste your email into the comments section. G

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Peoria TT - Today

Henry Wiles
Jared Mees
Jake Johnson (who has sat out half the season, but is now standing in for Brad Baker in the factory Harley team). 
If your name isn't Henry Wiles, you're the underdog today. He's won the last ten Peoria TTs on the bounce and won a non-National short track last night, ahead of Sammy Halbert (who was running #69 in honour of his late brother) and Scott Baker.

The rider who I think could have pushed Wiles the hardest, Brad Baker, broke his leg hitting some debris (that was rumoured by be from a dirt track racecar, but I haven't heard for sure) at the recent Black Hills GNC round in Sturgis.
Jared Mees will be up for a fight, but will be happy with a podium to keep his title defence on track.

This is likely to be the last Peoria TT National the Experts will ride 450s at because of somewhat controversial proposed changes to the AMA GNC rules, that will mean Experts ride twins in ALL race, TT or short track.

Today's race is available to watch live on
Here are the timings to watch online.

Practice/qualifying: 11:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. PT)
Pre-race show: 1:45 p.m. ET (10:45 a.m. PT) 
Opening ceremonies: 2:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. PT) 
Heat races: 3 p.m. ET (noon PT)
GNC2 main: 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT) 
GNC1 main: 5:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. PT)

These photos, from Peoria 2014, courtesy of AMA Pro Racing. G

You think you've got problems?

From our old friend Big Rupe...

Pannier fire on the A43 this morning. Lost a 35-year-old pair of Cheney shoes. R

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Dirt Quake Video Launch - Newcastle, UK

Drifter Visual and Ryan Quickfall made our Dirt Quake IV video and it's so good we've decided to celebrate with a free premiere of the short film in their home town, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.*

What: Video premiere, burger and beer promo, free Pet Lamb Patisserie cupcakes (while stocks last), Sideburn booth...
Where: Tyne Bar, 1 Maling St, NE6 1LP
When: from 7-11pm, Video at 8.15pm

Plenty of bike parking

Get along!

*Premiere sounds fancy for a great three-minute film, it's just an excuse to do something in a great city we've never done anything in.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Romero Rep Street Tracker

I have had these photos on my hard drive for years. The owner of this bike sent the photos, but I can't find the details. It's somewhere in the UK and damn neat. Sorry for my fecklessness, but the snaps are worth sharing. G

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Guy Martin Ulster Crash

Dirt Quake hero, long time ally of Sideburn and total one-off, Guy Martin had an horrendous crash at the Dundrod 150 last week. This race is part of the Ulster GP race festival and held on the fastest racetrack in the world (with a faster average speed than even the Isle of Man TT, with a lap record speed of 133.997mph). Guy was leading the race, ahead of outright lap record holder Bruce Anstey, when he was viciously highsided.

He suffered multiple broken bones: five vertebrae; hand; sternum and is very badly beaten up. He's had his spine pinned. It means his Triumph-supported attempt at the land speed record is now postponed until further notice.

It seems a little bit mercenary, but I'll say it anyway... Guy fans might like the Sideburn x Guy Martin T-shirt we have a few of. Every order gets a Chris Watson-designed Guy sticker too (while stocks last). G
Guy in happier times, 2014. 

Shade Balls

Yeah another off-topic special: "Genius invention combats water evaporation". Doesn't exactly sound like a Sideburn blog worthy news but check out the video below of 96,000,000 black plastic balls bouncing down into an LA reservoir and tell me you are not a little bit turned on. Ok maybe not as captivating as Magali Noël singing Rififi but still.
If you are into black plastic balls as much as me you can read more about them in the LA Times.
Something with two wheels and an engine will be along shortly. BP

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Exactly what no one was waiting for!

The new Motorcycho is in the Sideburn shop. We have back issues and patches too.

There's loads more new stuff there too. Enzo Sidecar toy/ornament and a yellow Sideburn Woolie Hat!