Long-time proponents of the street tracker, Deus Ex Machina got back in the game recently with a custom-built special for newly retired MotoGP star, Dani Pedrosa.
Grand Prix’s diminutive nearly man was awarded for his longevity, numerous comebacks from bone-crunching injury and 54 race wins (31 in the top class, plus 125 and 250 world titles) by his long-term taurine-laced sugar solution supplier. Michael ‘Woolie’ Woolaway of Deus Venice, California was given the job of creating a Honda CR500 based street tracker, and, well, this is it.
The Spaniard’s 13 premier class seasons were all behind the bubble of a Repsol Honda, which highlights, to me at least, the following: an impressive, perhaps unrivalled, loyalty on behalf of the team and rider. Sure, Doohan also spent his GP career on a Honda, but it was nowhere near as long as Pedrosa’s (it did include five consecutive world titles though); the length of Pedrosa’s career and the cursed luck of having it overlap with that of Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez, a trio of aliens who would have dominated most other eras on their own. Dani has been runner-up three times. Still, Dani got out alive and rich, and with this very nice, if insanely impractical, street tracker.
The chassis is a chromoly, monoshock dirt track frame, looking very much like a C&J. It houses a 1985 Honda CR500 two-stroke, an engine with a fearsome reputation, that has had its porting altered, presumably to improve its street manners, and an automatic compression release incorporated into the head, to allow for easier starting. It’s fed by a Lectron carb, built for the job.
Tank and seat are sheet alloy, fabricated by Woolie himself, while the rest is the roll call of the cream of America’s flat track cottage industry: Davey Durelle triple clamps hold Ohlins RWU forks; Race Tech built the shock; Saddlemen made the seat (which is the only thing it has in common with Sideburn’s Sportster hooligan. They make damn good seats); Woolie laced the 19in rims and fitted Mitas road legal race tyres. My favourite touch is the tacho bracket.
I’ve seen a handful of CR500 ‘street trackers’ over the years, including one at the Bike Shed show a couple of years ago, and I’m always left thinking, Yeah, but are you actually going to ride it? Ever? The video below shows Dani sweeping through the Spanish countryside, but when the drone’s packed away, is he going to concoct five litres of pre-mix and pop out for a pint of milk and a lottery scratch card on his 500 framer? And if not, does it even matter.
We featured a CR500 framer race bike, used by Tim Neave to win the UK Thunderbike series, in Sideburn 16. That bike now belongs to Guy Martin, who has raced DTRA rounds on it. I often utter a quiet prayer that Guy will come back and regularly race it.
We can neither confirm or deny if Spanish petro-chemical giant, Repsol, keen to trump Red Bull, have commissioned a custom-built mini-submarine that will allow Dani to more easily enjoy his long-held love of observing the mesmeric mating dances of Mediterranean squid in their natural habitat.
Photos: Scott Toepfer
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