Last Saturday, the DTRA and Sideburn held our third joint annual race season launch, and the second one to be hosted by the Bike Shed. The idea is to have a catch-up and an afternoon talking with fellow racers and sponsors before the season starts and everyone becomes too busy to stop.
The last few DTRA seasons have kicked off at Rye House, so it makes sense to hold the event in London. The first year the DTRA and Sideburn organised one of these launches we were hosted at Bolt, the next two have been in one of the Bike Shed’s event arch. The launches are growing every year as racers from far-flung places like Paris, Barcelona and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne make a weekend of the single day race.
Some of our favourite bikes were on display, giving casual punters who don’t know the race series an overview of the different classes – Pro, Thunderbike, Vintage and Hooligan, plus everyone’s favourite DTRA hauler, did a 45-point turn to take centre stage. Big thanks to Ross and the rest of the Bike Shed crew for hosting and all the racers who brought bikes to display.
(Top) Kye Forte is a big noise in BMX and downhill mountain biking, and he’s got right into flat track. Last year he raced on a modern 450 in the restricted class, this year he is also racing this Shell replica XS650 that his dad Ric built the frame for. I had a good battle with him in the heat races. I’m sure he’ll get quicker as he gains more experience on the twin.
Brink’s El Camino with his BSA twin in the back. Graphics by Death Spray. This beast trucked all the way from London to the Italian Alps and onwards to Milan for the first Snow Quake in 2016. Brink is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and he was down with his whole family enjoying hanging out in the sun at the Bike Shed. His daughter, Marnie, featured in Sideburn 27 with her wonderful learner legal grasstracker.
Survivor Custom’s Mike Hill has built a new Rotax-powered Thunderbike for the 2017 season. Mike is one of the growing group of regular racers who got their first taste of dirt track competition at Dirt Quake. Now he’s a championship contender. His new bike has a hot, big-bore engine, built by Rotax specialist and DTRA sponsor, Sportax. Mike built the monoshock frame himself, re-using an old ATK headstock and oil tank (that's in the top tube. It uses a modified Vertemati MX bike swingarm, shortened 3in. WP shock is from a CCM R30. Mike makes the alloy tank that is under a C&J replica cover. British unleaded kills glassfibre tanks.
Krazy Horse getting right into the Hooligan class this year and displayed one of their Scout 60 racers. This is Krazy Horse boss, founder and all-round top man, Paul B. They will have a two-man mini wrecking crew piloted by two of their own mechanics, Curly and Lee KP. First round of the DTRA hooligan championship is Hell’s Race at Lelystad, near Amsterdam in May, followed but the MCN Festival at Peterborough the same month.
I’ve raced in the UK dirt track series for nine seasons and if it weren’t for the brilliant people and friends, I wouldn’t be look forward to every race as much as I do. People like these three: Murphy, Ross ‘The King’ Herrod and Texas Chris make every race a pleasure.
Lincolnshire in the house! The Greenfield massive.
Artist Toria Jaymes, of Stay Outside, showing off her new number plate, with a for designed by House Industries for the DTRA, along with Bike Shed bossman, Dutch, Stay Outside’s Ava, and the Bike Shed’s Richard.
Chuckle Brothers, Cristi and Bogdan. Always love seeing these two.
Pioneer of the British female dirt track race scene, Leah Tokelove. She’s been promoted form the Inter to the pro class this year. Bike is her Death Spray sponsored KTM 450. Leah is an inspiration and there are more women and girl racers following her wheeltracks. Nuke-Leah was featured in Sideburn 25 (and is one of the cover slides of this very website).
Teenage sensation Skye Adams has moved out of the junior ranks and won her first senior final against a stacked field of fast intermediate riders (Inters being between rookie and pro).
Sideburn ambassador John Harrison, left, with his son Tim and glamorous friends, Kate and Scarlett.
More and more racers and bringing family and friends to the races, making the pits an even better and friendlier place to hang out, and this was echoed at the launch. This is Ali from Mint Customs, Ben S and their other-halves, plus a friendly ridgeback.
At the end of the day, Vicki from the Bike Shed on her Dominator special, with the artist Maxwell Paternoster.