Rollerburn was Sideburn's first big event, held in November 2011, in Nottinghamshire, it mixed a broad custom show with a slalom skateboard race. It threw in a full, all-girl roller derby match and an art show. Thirty dealers and three bands set up. A couple of Arctic Monkeys paid on the door. Comedian Charlie Chuck destroyed a drum kit. Donkey!
Sideburn magazine focuses on motorcycles that ‘go fast, turn left’ from the world of dirt track, and also the road bikes loosely inspired these worlds and the DIY ethic, but we wanted Rollerburn to have much wider appeal.
The rollergirl connection came from a feature we did on the cult 1970s movie Rollerball. Rollergirls go fast and turn left too. They were in.
The show bikes were inclusive too. This wasn’t a chopper show. Exhibits ranged from Shinya Kimura’s Junkyard Phantom (that featured in the movie Iron Man) to a Rossi replica Ducati Desmosedici RR.
The artist Conrad Leach created an 8ft square painting to face the ramp (it was later auctioned for charity) and slalom skaters, some of who turned up on their own Harley lowriders, launched themselves down it.
The highlight of the nine-hour event was the world’s first and last indoor Rollerball drag race. Three 600cc Co-Built Rotax dirt track race bikes towed three fearless rollergirls down the 150m strip. The team of TT hero Guy Martin and Catfight Candy won the three-way heat. Candy limped away with friction burns as big as your fist.
Photos: Kristina Fender/ Sam Christmas
Snow Quake It is -8C in the paddock of the Ice Rosa Ring race track, in a deep Italian valley, surrounded by jagged peaks, including the famous Monte Rosa, the second highest mountain in the Alps.
Thirty racers from all over Europe are trying to convince their motorcycles to start. A few of the infernal internal combustion engines comply, most find a reason they’d rather not, at least not right now. There is a 65-year-old Harley WL, a fuel-injected MV Agusta 800 and just about every two-wheeler on the spectrum from Piaggio Ciao to Honda chopper. All that links the machinery is the studs and screws in their tyres and the adventurous stripe running through their owners.
It’s clear that few people know what they’re doing, including the race organisers – me in their number.
Like every race, each rider is having their own private battle, some with their choice of tyres and the curving Ice Rosa Track, others with a competitor in front, or just behind.
Practice stretches for longer than normal to allow people to acclimatise, before three rounds of heats and a final. The slapdash attitude towards the organisation stretches to lap scoring. It is decided that the first three in each heat will score points and they can mark their position on a board. It’s the honesty principle. No one’s going to say they won if they didn’t. It works.
After six hours on the ice, it’s time for the 12-rider final. Young English flat tracker George Pickering is on pole, with Marco Belli, Filolocio on Triumph Bonneville and former WSB, World Supermoto and current World Endurance rider, Giovanni Bussei also on the front row. El Solitario’s David Borras also makes the final on his Triumph ‘Sal del Diablo’.
The four-lapper ends with Pickering ahead of Bussei and a heroic Belli. The podium is carved out of snow, the trophies look like ice. Then the real race starts – to pack up vans and head the two hours back to Milan for the party at the aptly named Deus Portal of Possibilities, where we daydream about following this unforgettable day.
Photos: Marco Renieri/
Dirt Quake V Stand with us atop the monolithic pyramid that we have come to know as ‘Dirt Quake’, an annual event now in its fifth year. What started out as a gleeful publicity stunt to promote the magazine, has somehow mutated into a dusty sandstorm of a worldwide movement. The original UK Dirt Quake has spawned an official sister event in the USA and a healthy handful of like-minded events around the globe.
We would never claim to have invented ‘Chopper Dirt Track’. The roots of which can be traced back simultaneously to both Finland and California... but what we can lay claim to is concocting an infectious and heady mix of all-inclusive low-budget motorcycle racing, great bands, DJs, surrealism and guaranteed fun times, for racer and spectator alike.
Dave Skooter Farm (Sideburn Entertainments Officer)
Photos: Motor Rausch