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1981 Honda CB250RS Dirt Tracker

This Honda CB250Rs first caught my eye racing at Mablethorpe on the beach, and then again when I saw it dirt tracking at Scunthorpe a couple of weeks ago. I grabbed the owner to take a few snaps and ask some questions.

Tell us about yourself.

My name's Sam Shook, I’m 22 and I’m from a village just outside Cambridge. I work as a aircraft fitter performing heavy maintenance on military aircraft.

How long have you been racing and how did you start?

I started racing at 15 doing hare and hounds enduro, following in my dad's footsteps as soon as I was old enough to race. I did enduros up until I was 20 managing to win a couple of U21 clubman

championships. I fancied trying something a bit different and liked the idea of being able to build up and race a bike. I had always liked older bikes so me and my dad decided we would try beach

racing at Mablethorpe and potentially try some flat track.

Photo: Braking Point Images

So you originally built this bike for the beach?

Yes, I originally built the bike to race at Mablethorpe, with a 21in front wheel and knobbly tires for the beach. With the beach in mind I also made sure I used as much stainless as possible making all my brackets and turning all my spacers from stainless in the hope of the bike not being destroyed by the sea. When Mablethorpe was cancelled this year I decided to try some flat track at Scunthorpe. I threw in a 19in front wheel out of my project SOHC CB750 as it happened to fit straight in. I found some tyres that looked about right on Facebook and fitted them. I also had to modify the L/H footrest as I found I couldn’t change gear with the steel shoe I'd made for flat track.

What is the model of bike, age, and what condition was it when you acquired it?

The bike is a 1981 CB250RS that I picked up for £250 that had been sat in my dad's mate's shed in the next village for years. It was half-assembled and came with numerous parts in boxes, most of which never ended up back on the bike. The bike has a standard frame, forks and engine and a mix of other bits mostly found on eBay. I cut the hoop on the frame and made mounts to take the fibreglass XR-style seat unit and the CG125 fuel tank. I wanted a rear disc so I fitted a CRF250 rear wheel and turned up some spacers and fabricated some brackets to mount a calliper. I fabricated the peg mounts and also the brake pedal assembly. I wasn’t sure how good the engine was so I decided to completely rebuild it and repaint it, curing the VHT in my mum's oven much to her joy. Once I’d finished building the bike I disassembled it and sent the frame and swingarm for powder coat and then painted the tank, seat unit and number boards myself.

How long did the build/conversion take and how much do you think you spent?

Building the bike took me around eight months and cost in total just under £1800. I probably could have built it quicker as it was only ever supposed to go on the beach, but I did get a bit carried


What was the hardest bit of the conversion?

The hardest part for me was painting the bike as I hadn’t really done much paintwork before or used 2K paint so the three-tone tank was a real challenge although I was very happy with how it turned out. With it being the first bike I'd ever built I now feel there’s lots I'd probably go about differently, however it was a real learning curve.

What next for it?

I’m undecided as to where I want to go with the bike, whether I modify this more or build another

bike purely for flat track, although I am eyeing up an FT500 engine as I’ve heard they fit in these

frames very easily, although I should probably learn to ride it fast as it is.

Photo: Scunthorpe Flat Track Racing

What class do you race in and how do you do?

I race in the Street tracker class at Scunthorpe, only having raced once so far, but I’m now hooked

and I am really keen to get out doing some flat track again. I managed to come fifth in class so at least I wasn’t last on my first go!

If this kind of low budget, nearly anything goes racing looks fun, follow Scunthorpe Dirt Track


John Hume
John Hume
Dec 31, 2023

I think it's a truly special build, back in the 1980s I was riding bikes like the rd(rz) 350lc and then the"YPVS" came along but I once got a "cb 250rs) and I couldn't believe how revvy the engine was Honda should have used it in the xl250 chassis counter rotating balancer weights what a job you've done 👍.


Travis Newbold
Travis Newbold
Dec 02, 2021


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