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The Sun is Golden, The Shadows Long


Blog post from John Harrison.


Recently our friend Michel Colazzi  (Mr Swiss DTA) posted the photo above (by Remko van Diggelen) on his instagram. It's from Hells Race May 2019. I'm #72, Michel is #98 and Dimitri Coste is #67. Three old Triumphs working hard and sounding great. I hadn't seen it before, and it made me happy because my first thought was 'Yeah, it really is that much fun.'


For me it seems to convey the joy of racing as much as The Thrill, which is very definitely On!

That moment of blasting out of turn 2 in bright sunshine under a blue sky on that orange track, a three-way dice with my bike stepping out as we all get the power on. Yup, that's fun, right there in an image.


Looking back through Michel's insta posts I found that his first flat track race was at Dirt Quake IV in 2015, which coincidentally was my first race as well. Looking through my photos from that life-changing day I found that we raced each other, Street tracker class, him on a red Ossa and me on the same Triumph I still race. Captured in the same frame by James Mitchell.

How cool is that? Thank you, Sideburn. I wonder how many other people are now committed racers after dipping their toes in the shale at various Dirt Quakes? I'm impressed that someone should travel from Switzerland to King's Lynn to ride 12 laps, but of course DQ was so much more than a few rookie races and DQ IV was a particularly great one. Hilarious commentary from Conway Castle, upright speedway bikes, the Alan Birtwistle limbo, a step-thru tug of war, the pantomime horse tandem, the bicycle race when Marcie Skipp stole everyone's hearts, the Neave twins demos, Hubert's Ninja Turtle gang, a Dakota fly past, TV themes band, Serge Nuques riding rings round everyone on an R1 wearing a pink tutu... Damn, glory days.


There is another photo from last year which fills my heart with joy every time I turn on my 'puter because I have it as my screensaver. Computers are life-sucking devices, so I need a vitality boost reminder when I fire mine up.

Although there's no one else in this Kayadaek shot, it was taken in the heat of a race, it's just that I'd been left behind. I'm not out of shape and riding heroically, but the sun is golden, the shadows long, and I feel FUN every time I see it. This, for me, expresses my joy of riding. I expect any motorcyclist would recognise that, and no doubt all my fellow racers have images of themselves that convey the same emotion for them.


​Although to non-racers this must seem very narcissistic, it's really all ok.... no really, because the Moto Anatomy, AFT pro legend Johnny Lewis #10 told us in Sideburn 38 (a particularly excellent issue) Get Schooled, to seek out and study photos ourselves racing, so as to see what we're doing on track and thereby progress.I see this image and I wonder if riding could get better than that, for me.

#dirtquake #johnharrison #vintageflattrack #dtra #johnnylewis #hellsrace #euroflattrack