Our friends at Indian shared this film of American multi-discipline racer Tyler O'Hara's recent busy weekend. The Californian competed in both the AFT SuperTwins class at the Atlanta SuperTT, on an Indian FTR750, and at the first round of the 2021 King of the Baggers on an Indian Challenger, and can he ride a motorcycle? That's rhetorical, he can ride like a mofo.

Bagger racing is a great concept. I remember, about 20 years ago, looking into the possibility of the magazine I was working with at the time, Performance Bikes, entering a GoldWing at the Isle of Man TT, but it wouldn't have passed scrutineering I was told. King of the Baggers shows how well these heavyweights handle, and I didn't doubt it, because, since the Honda GoldWing GL1800 was launched in 2001, my mind was changed about what a super tourer can do, even though I haven't had a lot of experience with them since.

Indian won the 2020 KOTB race, with Tyler O'Hara on board one of only two Indian Challengers in a field of Harleys. It was another discipline where Indian could legitimately say they out-performed Harley, useful ammo in the marketing war.

But I have an issue... Yes, the script is peppered with clichés and a thick coat of hyperbole that isn't needed in a story that is this interesting, but perhaps that is what a particular target demographic responds to. What caused my double-take, headshake, followed by a hasty rewind was when Gary Gray, Indian's VP of Racing and Technology, someone I personally have a lot of respect for, explains that bagger racing is important to the company, because 'it has become the pinnacle of racing in America.'

Now hold on a minute. Yes, 2020's King of the Bagger's race at Laguna Seca was a spectacle. It got people talking, and excited about road racing. Gray says it was the most watched race on two wheels in the United States that year and I don't doubt it, it was social media catnip, something everyone from bagger owners to sportsbike squids could relate to and enjoy. It drew new eyes to the Wayne Rainey-helmed MotoAmerica series that hosted it, totally overshadowing the struggling production bike classes, and there's no doubt it did enough to warrant a reprise. What it actually was rewarded with is a five-round series for 2021, of which O'Hara's Road Atlanta race was the first race. But 'the pinnacle of racing in America'? Come on. There seemed to be six bikes on the grid at the Atlanta round.

Can't bagger racing just be what it seems to be on the surface, a fun distraction, entertainment, a memorable spectacle, a great marketing tool? Those things are all valid, and impressive when rolled together, but is it much more than the 'new' Superhooligan series, a fun quirky race series. Is it going to be around in three or five years time?

And if it really is being regarded as the pinnacle by someone as influential as Gray, what does that say for AFT, the NHRA, and MotoAmerica's bread and butter Superbike and Supersport classes?

#Indian #Kingofthebaggers

I'm into my 13th year of making Sideburn, and I'm pleased to say I'm as excited about SB45 as any issue we have previously published. I know, I know, sounds like marketing codswallop, but it isn't. I think of the business of Sideburn endlessly. I consider the content of the magazine, what will hit, what might miss; what should be in and out; who should be interviewed before who. Then I realise I'm overthinking (everything. All the time) and jam as much fresh stuff into the 108 pages as possible, while not crossing over with any of the big custom bike websites or the myriad leech-like 'curated' feeds that spot the landscape like black mould on a fleapit motel's bathroom wall.

So, this is it. ORDER Sideburn 45.

Deep in the Georgia backwoods, country as a chicken coop, Chastin Brand went hunting for a new project, and found an abandoned 1959 International Harvester Metro van. It had been there for years, sinking into the ground, but he thought he could resurrect it. He was right, and now it's the most memorable bike hauler we can think of.

Elsewhere in SB45 we have a wild mix of events from Travis Pastrana at American Flat Track's Atlanta SuperTT, to Russia's second ever dirt track race, plus the neatest bikes, for virtually every budget, from 1970s short trackers to flying desert racers, and handsome hooligans.

COVER: Chastin Brand, Honda Elsinore, Georgia

BIKES: 2021 AFT KTM 450; Honda Elsinore; Devitt Vanoni Ducati Scrambler hooligan; Hombrese 1978 Yamaha SR500 dirt tracker; Hombrese 1978 Honda XL500; 2019 Norton Commando street scrambler; 1974 Yamaha MX250 dirt tracker; Ducati Desert Sled desert racer; Evil Hours Triumph Thruxton hooligan; 1938 Triumph Speed Twin grasstrack sidecar; 2019 Have Fun!! Fantic Caballero 500 dirt tracker;

PEOPLE: Travis Pastrana; Dalton Gauthier; JD Beach; Jose Aguilar; Tammy Sessions; James Rispoli

INTERVIEW: Dalton Gauthier

ARCHIVE: Tammy Sessions; 1970s racing trailblazer

PORTFOLIO: The art of Samuel Lee Turner

HAULER: 1959 International Harvester Metro van

EVENTS: AFT Atlanta SuperTT; In Dust We Trust, Moscow; Biltwell 100 California desert race


#Sideburn45 #TravisPastrana #Hauler #DaltonGauthier #Biltwell #Hooligan #Hooliganracing #AFT2021 #AmericanFlatTrack #DucatiScrambler

It's been a while since we had an off-topic post, so we welcome this guest missive from Serge Fabergé

This very photo appeared in the social media of Terry Farley, top Acid House spinner and apparently all-round good bloke, and the fact that it was the first female DJ at the Whiskey A-Go-Go warranted a bit of investigation.

The superbly cool young lady is one Joanie Labine and it seems she basically invented go-go dancing and style. She was the DJ at the Hollywood club, starting in 1964, during a run of appearances by Johnny Rivers, when the club first opened. Due to a lack of floor space the booth was a suspended glass-walled arrangement. Joanie was up there, bopping and being spectacular, which made patrons think it was part of the show leading management to not only keep her on but to flank her with a couple of other girls up there. Joanie is credited with creating the fringe dress/white boots look that became a literal uniform.

And there Joanie fades into the history of the Whiskey. Within a couple of years the Doors were the house band and the club was a cultural hub of a different sort and has remained so until fairly recently. LA punk, then hair metal reigned, and even through the '90s when the club hosted touring bands of the grunge scene. Your humble comrade was once punched by an angry young woman at a Jesus Lizard show there, as '90s a moment as it gets. (It was a glancing blow, no damage to the golden visage and the punch was a haymaker that missed its target so all in good rock & roll fun.) It sadly sunk into a sort of pay-to-play graveyard of hopes. Post-pandemic who knows what next? So let's take a moment to revisit the world famous Whiskey A-Go-Go at one of its most stylish peaks.

A final note of potential interest: There's a human gene named in honour of the club, or at least the dance style it launched. The ether-a-go-go-related gene, is so named because should you knock out a fruit fly that carries a mutation in the gene, its legs will twitch much like a dancer in the club.

#1960s #offtopic #music