Words: Gary Birtwistle
Photos: Braking Point Images/ Steph Bolam
My hooligan racing story starts at the Adrian Flux Arena, King's Lynn, the first round of the 2018 DTRA championship. I was offered a wild card ride on an Indian Scout and, well, it didn't go according to plan. I smashed the thing to bits in a heat race and left with zero points and no chance of a second shot on it. Walking around the pits the next day I caught wind of musings between two friends with skills, contacts and a desire to shake things up with in the UK's hooligan series. These friends were Mike Hill of Survivor Customs and Ross Sharp of the Bike Shed London.
It didn't seem two minutes until contact was made with Ducati UK and a Scrambler 800 was made available for us to modify and race for the rest of the season. Within a few days the V-twin was couriered to Survivor Custom's workshop, in the countryside outside Newcastle-upon-Tyne and, with a few broken ribs and a black eye from a more serious crash of his own that weekend, Mike set about turning a road bike into a race bike.
The most important modification was notching the swingarm to give enough clearance for a 19in wheel. A new subframe was made and bolted to the original subframe. We did it this way because the Scrambler subframe is welded to the main frame and the DTRA's Hooligan rules state there can be no modifications to the main frame. We followed it to the letter. He also fitted one of his own fibreglass flat track seat units. Once the lights and horn were removed, the ignition switch moved under the seat and some wider flat track bars fitted, it was ready to race with no time to test before the next round at Hells Race at Dirt Track Lelystad.
That year I won all but one of the remaining DTRA Hooligan races and walked away with a brand new Scout 60 as a tidy purse, thanks to Indian's sponsorship of the DTRA.
The competition got stronger for the 2019 season and the bikes got faster, but I managed to win both the DTRA's National Hooligan series and their three-round European championship too.
Coming into 2020 I knew I was going to have to up my game. It was time for some improvements. Although I found winning relatively easy at first, it had been getting harder and harder to the point where I could feel a gaggle of hungry young Hooligans breathing down my neck. I decided to ask Ducati for help with a few upgrades.
During the off-season we put a plan together to make a few improvements. We are down about 40 horsepower on the S&S Indian FTR 1200s, and I also had no adjustment in my forks and a rear shock with a bad attitude. We contacted Öhlins specialists BG Motorsport of Silverstone who set us up with a whole new system. The front fork cartridges are a NIX30 kit and are preload adjustable. The rear shock is a bespoke, single tube 46mm with compression, rebound and length adjuster. The remote reservoir is tucked under the seat unit.
Next I got a second set of wheels laced up on slightly different width rims so I can have options come race day. The pipe is a straight-through Termignoni and it's mapped to suit. Throw a K&N air filter in there to help her breathe and we are getting closer. The last touch was a trip to the paint shop for a freshen up with a Garcia full throttle colour scheme.
Overall the bike looks and handles much better than before. Nobody knows when we will be racing competitively next but when we do I'll be ready.