After listening to the ‘Off the Groove’ podcast with Gary Inman, I was inspired to have a dig through my photo archive and find some shots that help illustrate the story and the times.
I can’t put exact dates on any of these images but I’d say they are all before the existence of Sideburn Magazine or perhaps, in some cases around the time of the magazine’s birth. Probably 2005-2007 unless stated otherwise.
(above) Rider parade at Peterborough. Completely candid shot of the Skooter Farm team. Looks like a choreographed promo shot for that flat track movie Tarantino never made.At that time, I don’t remember anybody putting any effort into any kind of team ‘identity’…maybe CCM who had a commercial interest in the flat track aesthetic and hired a couple of fast speedway riders to get them on the podium. Skooter Farm was the antithesis of what CCM were trying to do.
GI (General Infirmary) on the gas, foot turned out - elbow up. Pretty early days for #13 Gary but showing good form and potential.
Chin-stroker. Sheffield Speedway school, 2003 (possibly earlier) bike was built in spring 1999 but for a few years the speedway school owners were resistant to letting me ride this bike on their practice track. We had to make do with hiring their 125cc speedway bikes.
Kings Lynn car park team photo with Team Manager Joe Crawford, #76 Captain Highside, #13 Gary Inman and #31 myself (brand new Skooter Farm van graphics, courtesy of Performance Bikes magazine because GI worked for them regularly).
Go Go Lou Lou [Dave's wife], trying to sell Skooter Farm products to a hypothetical queue of customers. As a fledgling business, we imported trick, unavailable racing parts from the USA. Odds were stacked because we only ordered small quantities, shipping was expensive and, most importantly, nobody wanted this stuff at that time.
Rat Fink gives the highest level of endorsement to Skooter Farm Racing Products at our Chorley HQ
Early skirmish, 13 versus 31 [GI - I'm in borrowed leathers at this race in Newport because I left home without mine and didn't realise until I was past Birmingham. Fortunately I used to work in Bristol and a good friend brought me some leathers to race in. This is my first bike, Knight Rotax on 18in Astralites. This Newport track doesn't exist any more.]
‘All our blood is red’ sticker, inspirational quote. Take from it what you will. Appropriated from The Lord Twins, some good friends of mine from the BMX world, the guys behind the esteemed Tiny Penis T-shirt logo in the mid 90s.
My name is Earl (y bath)..Manly muzzy
Honda Benly CM200 on the bench in Winter 1998. Looking purposeful but actually purposeless! Pure folly, built six years before its time… but I was able to drag it out of a shed and fire it up when we heard there was going to be a flat track race in the UK. I raced this bike at the second ever UK race in Sheffield.
Skooter Farm race tent looking ‘factory’: #76 #31 #13. Influenced by spending time at US flat track races and BMX races in the UK, it seemed important to create a good environment to take part in a race meeting.
#76 Captain Highside, Honda 700 Trans Alp V-Twin. Feature bike in Sideburn #2. [GI - John, aka Captain Highside, still owns this bikes and is threatening to bring it out of retirement for some of the 2020 DTRA Twins class races].
GI and son Max, with freshly painted Wood Rotax #13. Peterborough Showground pits
Me #31, Stoke Speedway, £60 Ebay leathers
Applying Skooter Farm graphics to GI’s Wood Rotax. I’m wearing the Link Wray shirt that kickstarted our friendship. I handmade all the team graphics. GI didn't leave locally to me, so I insisted on applying his graphics right before the race. Can’t remember the track.
GI’s first ride on his new Knight Rotax #5x. Kings Lynn car park (his first ride was actually around the car park)
Captain Highside’s #76 sweet KTM Rotax framer. Owned since the mid 80’s and in flat track trim for most of that time. Sold to Ross ‘King’ Herrod. Sold on again in more recent times and I believe still out on the track today.