Sideburn contributor Takashi Urashima went to last weekend's Hot Rod and Custom Show, AKA The Mooneyes show, in Yokohama, Japan and sent photos of the dirt trackers and scramblers in attendance. Traditionally, this show has been all about traditional hot rods and custom cars, and the two-wheelers have been American V-twins. It's more of a car show, but the bike content is super high quality and offers inspiration to builders around the world.
In recent years the organisers have opened their to new types of custom-built machinery and the likes of Cheetah, Buddy Custom Cycles, Ducktail and others involved in the Have Fun!! Flat Track movement have really pushed dirt trackers and flat trackers into the show.
All photos: Takashi Urashima
This is the latest creation from Buddy Custom Cycles. It is Buddy's founder, Kazuo Fukuda's version of a mid-60s Van Tech. That's Kazuo above, in the black sweatshirt and white trousers. I know little about the Van Tech, but they were ultra-lightweight scramblers powered by a variety of engines, including Hodakas two-strokes and also pull-start lawnmower/minibike/compressor engines.
They where known for their leading link, Earles-style front ends. Buddy made their own version from scratch.
Buddy's take on historic racers caught my eye back in 2018, when I visited the Yokohama show and saw his mini Trackmaster with the same, Honda-style 'horizontal' 150cc engine. We featured that bike, and the then fledgling Have Fun!! Flat Track crew in Sideburn 38. We featured Buddy Custom Cycles again in the current issue. Their Harley WL with Tracy-style body is in Sideburn 51.
Virtually every Buddy Custom Cycles bike features paintwork and graphics laid on by Takashi Urashima, who took these photos. Takashi also created a colouring-in booklet we gave away free with Sideburn 39 (this issue is going to sell out soon. We don't have many left).
Kazuo's daughter, Mizüki, also rides dirt track.
We featured Hot Dock Custom Cycles Buell XBRR in Sideburn 49. These Harley specialist throw the kitchen sink at their builds for the maximum visual impact. This is a road race, track-ready XR750 'superhooligan' (it couldn't race in Superhooligan, but they can call it what they want).
The frame looks unique not a regular dirt track-derived chassis, as the engine seems to be hung from it, rather than being surrounded by a duplex style frame. And the engine is fuel-injected. Nuts!
Not sure how the swingarm is mounted. We need to get a feature on this bike.
Showa BPF upside-downs and 9200rpm showing on the Scitsu rev counter. That tacho is made in Sheffield, UK.
Beautiful detailing from Chip MC.
Check out the knock-off hubs.
Kawasaki triple framer. Three-into-one white pipe of death!
Really nice take on the classic XT/SR500. These are a popular choice of dirt track race bike in the USA, in a way they are not in the UK, because they were too expensive in the UK, even as old beaters, to turn into race bikes. One did win the DTRA Thunderbikes series this year though, and we featured that one in Sideburn 40. That issue is also available as a bundle.
Who cares if your exhaust is a bit crusty if you have quality rear shocks?
Obviously lots of riders use Japanese bikes to builders racers from, but there's always room for some Brit bikes. Not sure what this frame is. I thought it was Trackmaster, but it seems to have a separate oil tank, and I thought Trackmasters were all oil-in-frame. Could it be a Cheney? Feel free to educate me if you know. Also, I'm no period correct purist, but the tennis ball grips are no-no for me.
The bike is from Tiger Works. I think it's a 500cc Tiger engine.
Another bike from Tiger Works, this a BSA A65, with a Joe Hunt mag, and I think this is Trackmaster. Again, correct me if you know for sure.
At first I was convinced this was Honda 600 or 650 framer, but the more I looked I realised it is actually an early FTR250 (with the stock twin downtube frame. This is the FTR you want, if you can get hold of one).
Number 13 is a nice nod to PNW legend and Honda AMA TT specialist, Mickey Fay.
Dirt Core Sessions are a Japanese dirt track organisation putting on fun races and practice days.
Lovely, rough 'n' ready, air-cooled RD
The owner is super signwriter Tomomi "Shakin'" Shimuzi. The expansion chamber was made by Miyashita Motors. We google translated what they wrote about the pipe and it's worth sharing. 'I made a chamber for myself. Order is nostalgic and erotic, wild and domestic, vivid and coquettish racing expansion chamber. It's quietly leaving an aura that everything fits well and the standing posture looks like it's running very fast. Thank you for using us on your beautiful bike. I'm so grateful and moved.'
Buell Blast running on late model H-D wheels.
Inuchopper's Trackmaster Yam stroker, perhaps a late-70s DT250. There's nearly enough room to fit two of those engines in there.
Wild Fantic Caballero 250, also built by Hot Dock. We featured another stunning Japanese Caballero, but a 500, built by Cheetah, in Sideburn 45.
That's all for now. Many thanks to Takashi for the photos, and for Japanese dirt trackers for their great take on the sport.