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The Pits

Greenfield Dirt Track, a Saturday afternoon in June, even though, from the number of woolie hats, it doesn't look like it. The Saturday race has just been rained off. It's not a surprise. The forecast was terrible and it's rained all day. Still racers and families had driven from all over the country, and beyond, with optimism fighting realism all the way there. It was ok for me. I live in the UK's flat track heartland, Lincolnshire. Greenfield is only an hour's drive for me. People had come from France and Spain for this. There were visitors from America and Japan who'd made it part of holidays.

I wasn't staying on site, but neither was I in a rush to go home as soon as the announcement was made. I'd be back the next day for racing, but I was happy to hang out. I've lived in the same town for over 20 years and I have one local friends, who I see once a month if that, and there are two couples we sometimes go out with. By sometimes, I mean twice a year at the most. That's it for the town I live in. I never go out at home, unless it's with my family, because all my friends race motorcycles and none of them live closer than an hour away.

The three photos above were taken on my phone in a moment I realised why I keep coming back to racing. It's not for the trophies or glory. Those are things I rarely taste. Some of it is the intense kick and high that short track racing gives, but it's this:

Photo 1

Ryan Battle and Dave Skooter Farm preparing the Rotax framer that first got me into flat track when I saw it at a practice day (read the Dave Skooter Farm story in Sideburn 37 for the full tale). Ryan would have his first ever motorcycle race the next day.

Barry the Punk, in the red puffer jacket, who I think is in his 30s, travels down from Glasgow (a long way) with his parents and they all hang out, drinking beer. A man of that age travelling with his parents is pretty unusual, but everyone loves the 'the Punk' family. Next to Barry, in the light brown coat, is Texas Chris, like Barry, another newer addition to the DTRA racing family.

Photo 2

Looking like he's toasting a fine idea is artist Ryan Roadkill. Produces work for every issue of Sideburn and also illustrates the DTRA's poster. He has a Rotax, but he wasn't racing this weekend. He'd driven down from Newcastle to hang out.

Next to Ryan, in the See See hat is Survivor Mike. We featured the Rotax's he builds in Sideburn 34.

Next is Sally McGee of Surf Yonder, with Billy on her lap. Sally is the partner of photographer Tom Bing. Sally and Tom's bike and surf safari through South America had its own dedicated supplement that came free with Sideburn 32. Facing Sally, long hair, black hat, is photographer and video maker Tom Bing, who has contributed loads to SB since the start of his photo career..

Rubbing his forehead, with a Sideburn woolie hat, is another of the North-East Survivor Racing crew, Murphy. Diamond of a bloke, but a non-stop piss-taker.

In the blue jacket is Ryan's wife, Kay, who co-owns the very excellent Pet Lamb Patisserie in the Grainger Market, Newcastle city Centre. She's going to sleep in the van with Ryan and hang out watching the racing the next day. Prosecco might be involved.

Photo 3

Camouflage is an awfully big Marine called Ross Herrod. Friend of the mag, Dirt Quake hero. He wasn't racing this weekend either, so by 4pm he'd probably drunk half a bottle of Jack Daniels.

In the grey cap is my son Max, saying nothing, but listening to all Murphy and Ross's wild tales of soiling themselves or something equally disgustingly funny.

This kind of scene, a rained-out race on a cold June day, in a field in Lincolnshire, is one of the main reasons I return to the DTRA.

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