Voodoo: Survivor CRF450 Framer
Words: Gary Inman
Photos: Andi Gordon, Barry Stevenson
Barry The Punk. Barry the Dirt Tracker. Barry the former Drift Car racer. ‘I competed at National level in drifting,’ says the 34-year-old Scotsman. ‘I had a 1980 Toyota Corolla KE70 V8 competition car, but the drift scene had changed over the years and I didn’t like the direction it was going in. It was losing the fun, friendly grassroots vibe I loved. I had always been into bikes and when I saw videos of a DTRA race on Instagram, around 2015, I was intrigued. I didn’t know there was any flat track racing in the UK. I continued drifting until the end of the 2016 season, but began following as many DTRA riders as possible on Instagram, and attended a few events, including Dirt Quake, in 2017.’
During this time Barry bought a converted CCM Rotax road bike that had been raced in the DTRA’s Thunderbike class, and began modifying it further to suit him and his 6’3” frame, by adding a Survivor Customs subframe loop, Yamaha R6 forks and a custom paint job he completed himself.
‘I chose the Rotax as I always preferred the look of a framed bike over a DTX. I’m drawn to vintage cars and bikes and the Rotax fulfilled that aesthetic, and I knew the engine was pretty bombproof which I hoped would give me more seat time and less time tinkering.’
But, you’ll have noticed, this isn’t a modified CCM. ‘As the 2019 season progressed, I started to notice where the DTX bikes had an advantage, certain tracks, certain conditions,’ says Barry. ‘I wanted to try something other than the Rotax, but I still didn’t want a DTX bike, so the next logical thing was a custom-built bike, from the frame up. Because, well, framers rule.’
Barry had always been tight with the Survivor Racing gang at the races, travelling, camping and drinking with them and chose Mike of Survivor Customs to make his frame.
‘Mike had been talking about building frames to suit modern engines and I was really behind getting more framers on the grids at DTRA races. I saw Mike’s own framer and really liked it [Survivor Lightning CRF450 featured in Sideburn 38]. I thought it would be awesome to run a frame built by my mate and it helps his workshop is only a couple of hours from where I live.’
Barry chose a 2008 Honda CRF450 motor to be the heart of his new racebike. ‘It’s the last and best of the carb models. I found a complete bike on Facebook marketplace. I bought it from an eccentric musician in the back of beyond in the Highlands of Scotland. It was immaculate. I used it a couple of times for motocross, but I put an end to that after scorpioning myself over a very large jump and bruising my lungs.’
While a modified roadbike, like his CCM, has compromises but benefits from being at the more affordable end of the scale, when it came to his framer Barry says, ‘From the outset, I decided I was going to use the best parts that I could buy. I wanted to use friends and people from within the flat track scene and support their businesses where I could. When there were parts I couldn’t get off the shelf I designed and fabricated, or had fabricated, parts to suit these needs.’
The no-corners-cut component list include Öhlins shock and forks from DTRA supporters BG Motorsport; Co-Built exhaust; SM Pro wheels; Survivor Custom bodywork and Holy Goat leather seat.
Barry wanted to try something different with the rear brake. ‘I had the idea of running a large motocross front disc to aid with heat rejection. There’s no direct fitment for this to a CRF rear hub so I had to design some parts that would allow this to work with a Brembo caliper. I took a whole bunch of measurements, did a whole load of drawings then made some wooden prototypes to see if it would work. Turns out it works exactly as intended. I did some final drawings and sent them to Joey Brindley for production. This is just an example of some of the custom work that went in to getting what I wanted to work.’
When it was time for the final touches Barry decided to keep it retro despite the modern running gear. ‘I wanted to channel framers from a bygone era.
At DirtQuake 2017 I saw a band called Oh! Gun Quit, and their song Voodoo Meat Shake stuck with me. I figured that I’d be shaking riding the bike so decided to it Voodoo. The colour scheme was picked on a whim. I liked the colours together and they had a kind of retro feel to them with the gold lettering. I didn’t want to just chuck a bunch of vinyl decals on the awesome paint. I’m fortunate to have a contact who still does custom signwriting and gilding, he’s been practising for over 40 years, so it was a real honour to get him to pinstripe my body work and gold leaf my numbers. The tank artwork was handpainted by the amazing Ryan Roadkill. I feel it really pulls the whole bike together.’
At the time of publishing, due to Covid-19 and a dead van, Barry is still to test the bike, but we can’t wait to see him Voodoo Meat Shake down the pit straight of a UK short track.
Barry's thanks: My old man, Derek Stevenson; Mike at Survivor Customs; Ben at BG Motorsport; Ross Herrod; Andrew Murphy; Ryan Quickfall; Texas Chris Jenner; Matt Weightman; Kev at Holy Goat; Joey Brindley; Peter at Finlay Irvine; Peter at Pentland Powder Coaters; Co-Built Geoff; Ali Brown Autopaints; John Robertson, signwriter and gilder