Sideburn contributor Ed Subias sent this great hooligan update.
Last Saturday, 1st February, some of the Californian hooligan racers came together at a race that was more of a low key test and tune session than a competition.
The hooligans were a support race during the AMA National Pairs Speedway Championship at Perris Raceway. Sounds a little strange at first but paring the speedway and hooligan clans made perfect sense to me. Both groups are full of interesting characters with odd bikes. I planned to catch up with some of my racing friends, check out the bikes and grab a hot dog.
Walking through the sea of speedway bikes, something bright red and shiny with a V-twin engine caught my eye. This Roland Sands Design Indian FTR 1200 looked to be in a different form than any I’d seen during the 2019 race season. I caught RSD Project Manager Cameron Brewer hunched over the bike spinning some wrenches. He explained that they had contracted C&J Racing frames to build a new swingarm that had shortened the stock wheelbase by about 4in (10cm) and offered a lot more wheel adjustability. The Saddlemen tail section, new subframe and tank were divergent from stock as well.
RSD team rider Randy Bereman was behind the bars providing feedback to Cameron to get the bike dialled-in as much as possible during the night. This bike would provide the basis for the rest of the RSD FTR team bikes that are to be outfitted with the same swingers and parts before being raced at The One Motorcycle Show in Portland this upcoming weekend.
Randy (above) was just the man for this job as he has 53 years of flat track racing underneath his steel shoe. That experience was quite evident as soon as he hit the track and got sideways. Randy has been racing hooligan bikes the last few years and according to him, his favourite thing about hooligan racing is the people and camaraderie. He is especially fond of how riders from different disciplines of motorcycling are involved in the scene. Motocrossers, road racers, Harley wheelie guys, freestyle MXers, etc.
By the end of the night, Cameron and Randy’s mission looked to be a success. Randy led nearly every lap of his time on the track and seemed to get faster after every round of adjustments. He ended up winning the main event. Not bad for a guy who will turn 60 in October.
I continued my walk through the pits and found Scott Jones of Noise Cycles (above) cranking up some country music on a Bluetooth speaker in his pit area as he fiddled with his clutch and throttle cables. Scott’s bike is one of the more interesting on the grid. A highly customized and quite seductive Harley-Davidson XG750. Scott tossed all the stock bodywork into the garbage bin, welded up a small capacity fuel cell and with a bit of fabrication grafted on some motocross bike plastics for a one of kind look and riding experience. Scott will tell you it was the biggest pain in the ass to get those plastics to work. Regardless, the outcome is striking.
Scott’s second-to-none fabrication skills are apparent when scrutinizing the bike close up. Nothing looks cobbled together in the least. The bike looks like it rolled off the assembly line in its present form. All of this comes as no surprise as Scott’s day job is working in the fabrication department of a major aerospace manufacturer.
On this particular day, Scott was just looking to just get some seat time as a warm-up to The One Show race with no changes being made to the bike.
Scott has been in the hooligan game for a long time, nearly since its inception a handful of years ago. He started on a 1960s Harley XLCH ironhead Sportster, caught the racing bug and then was all in. While the hooligan racing circle can have some drama and controversy at times, Scott has always stayed out of it and is one of the racers to always have a smile on his face no matter what happens. Although he keeps things fun, he is ultra-competitive and loves the adrenaline rush only racing can provide. ‘I’ll crash before I finish last. If I finished last it better be because I wadded shit up.’
One of the racers keeping the original street bike spirit alive is a dude named Dougie Darrah. He’s going into his second year of hooligan racing and loves every minute of it. I quizzed him about his pre-race prep as he cleaned his googles: ‘Shotgun a beer and hope for the best.’ While he said it in a joking manner, I know he is a man of his word as I have personally seen this plan in action at past events. While being a free-spirited soul with a loose living BMX background, Dougie is actually quite the rider and racer. He competes in high profile off-road races, like the Mint 400, on his dirt bike. Those races are no joke and require a high level of skill, mental capacity, and commitment that would destroy the weekend warrior/ casual rider.
On this day Dougie was getting his first ride in on a new-to-him race bike, a well sorted Sportster from a fellow racer. After he came in from the first heat race of the night I asked him how the new bike was, specifically what it did better. ‘Everything,’ he responded with a massive smile on his face. Dougie’s race number is 69, not because he is a Sammy Halbert or Nicky Hayden fan. It’s because he likes to party.
Brandon Gonzales is usually the rider with the best-looking kit among the hooligan racers. Always stylish and always fresh. That look carries over to his bike. Dialled with a bit of bling is a good way of describing his bike. Brandon had just installed a Flairty Racing Sportster de-rake kit and was itching to see how it worked. This kit was designed and tested by renowned Hooligan racer J.J. Flairty of Wisconsin. Those Wisconsin boys are fast and have won the last 3 X-Games Hooligan races with J.J. winning one himself.
This de-rake kit is something more and more hooligan racers are starting to run and all that use it say it works well [hooligan rules preclude main frame modifications so they can’t simply be cut and raked, like you would with say, an SR or XT500 frame. This kit has offset bearing mounts in the headstock].
Brandon has been involved with hooligan racing the last handful of years. His favorite thing about it all? ‘Building the bikes,’ he replies. It makes sense as he’s had more than a hand in the last couple of race bikes Scott Jones has built including the latest XG750. Brandon and Scott are long-time friends and share an attention to detail on everything bike-related they do. As for the de-rake kit, Brandon said it made things easier and the bike handled better. He just needed to get more time on the bike with it.
I accomplished my goals for the night. I shared some laughs with friends, nerded out over some bikes and enjoyed an overcooked hot dog. Nothing beats a night at the local flat track.
First Superhooligan race of the 2020 season is at the One Show, Portland this weekend.