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Davida at Dirtquake 3 -2014. Davida have worked with Ben Part and Gary Inman before they set up Sideburn Magazine, and have always been keen supporters of the magazine and their events from the first Rollerburn through to last weekends Dirtquake 3. Images are by Bikeshed’s Gareth Roberts, Richard Higgy Pop Higgins, Ruth Dillion, Sean Hancock, Lujah, Dael Poulter, Mark Wilson & James Sharrock
Dirtquake 3 – The Gall and The Gauls – by Jules Watts
Dirtquake is the madcap creation of the Sideburn crew and after 4 events, including one in the States this year it now has a loyal fanbase and an expanding one at that, plus a reputation as almost certainly the most out-there motorcycle event on the calendar. It is a rare chance for all comers to race on a proper DTRA dirt track on whatever machine they like, dress up and generally have some crazy fun. With classes ranging from street trackers to choppers via ‘inappropriate road bikes’ and this year a dedicated ladies class, the variety of oddball bikes and riders is a sight to behold indeed. Although the races are highly competitive the emphasis here is on having fun and shaking your tail feathers.
Team Davida at Dirtquake 3 were the largest contingent consisting of Davida paint expert Terry on an early 80’s BMW GS (vaguely appropriate), Sharon on her 80’s Honda XR (pretty appropriate), Lujah on a 1960 Greeves 250 (very appropriate) and myself again on my Cagiva Gran Canyon (barely appropriate). The Greeves is a rather special machine very generously lent by classic motorcycle racer Ian Bain, it’s a multiple championship winning bike that oozes class. Having had zero off-road experience and one practice session on grass, Lujah managed to tame the right-hand side, upside-down gear levered bike with aplomb pulling off a 3rd place podium finish, given that the two girls who were quicker were experienced dirt racers it was no mean feat.
Terry and Sharon were also consistently keeping up with the frontrunners, as for myself I was never really in danger of threatening the podium positions this year. Things started off well in a wet, muddy practice session, the drifting felt smooth, predictable and controllable even on such a big bike but come race time the track was dry and after a few near high sides I decided to ease back and just enjoy myself, scandalous I know but hey maybe next year, besides there were plenty of ‘offs’ happening around me and I didn’t fancy that much. In my class (Inappropriate/Irrational/Irascible Road Bikes) there were some pretty gung ho fast riders, in particular three French guys, two dressed as plumbers Mario and Luigi and a guy called Serge Nugues in pink leg warmers who was entertaining to say the least and ultimately victorious in our class, in the final he deliberately went wide on a corner to wave and rouse the crowd then cut back in and was soon in the lead again. His day job involves jousting on motorbikes on French TV or some such wackiness.
A nice coup for Dirtquake 3 this year was persuading Guy Martin to come and race both in the Chopper class and Friday night’s DTRA race, though I got the feeling he didn’t take much persuading. He’s a popular guy these days to say the least and the crowd weren’t disappointed with his performance, when he wasn’t having a kip under the stand he spent most of the laps in the lead, though not by much, he got the hang of it pretty quick unsurprisingly and got the first place confidently, he was definitely having fun and got involved with firing gifts to the crowd with a giant catapult wholeheartedly. Inbetween races the crowd were also treated to a demonstration of Colin Furze’s jet powered bicycle and a mobility scooter with a motorbike engine alongside kid’s bicycle racing and a band called Dream Themes playing TV show themes spookily accurately. They were also inadvertently treated to the sight of a huge motorised pie catching fire and I’m not making this up.
Friday night’s DTRA race was exciting stuff and well attended, it was followed by Sideburn entertainment from a great little Tarantino-esque band MFC Chicken and a fire poi performance from Davida model Jasmine, who also had the flag girl duties the next day wearing a striking Bruce Lee ‘Game of Death’ jumpsuit (Kill Bill was an homage by the way), the fire poi had been soaking too long and were behaving unpredictably yet no one would have noticed such was her smooth performance and mad skills. The Sideburners are really helping to popularise dirt track racing both here and abroad and all credit to them for that, it’s a thrill to race on a proper dirt track and Dirtquake has already brought a few new racers to take up the sport such as Mike Johnson, who has had a particularly successful first season, and after this year’s event I’m sure there will be many more new acolytes.
Dirtquake 3 – The Pure Silliness To Be Had By Amateur Racing – Sharon Underhill
As Organiser of the Davida Teams for the first two Dirtquake events in 2012 & 2013 I’d spoken often with Sideburn about Dirtquake. For Dirtquake 3, Davida’s Assistant Production Manager, Terry Robinson, was entered into the Inappropriate Road Bike Class on a BMW R80S.
Then Gary told me they were struggling to sign up women racers and could I recruit women, including myself, for the new Ladies Class for Dirtquake 3, I knew, whether I liked it or not, 2014 was my turn to experience Dirtquake. It was not an option to let Sideburn or the reputation of women riders down. Davida’s Lujah Jensdottir was of the same mind, and having persuaded Ian Bain to loan his raced tuned 1960 250 Greaves, she also signed up to the Davida Team in the Ladies Class.
Over the past 20 odd years, as well clocking up more than a quarter of million miles just road riding , I’ve taken part in many different organised competitions on 2 wheels such as Motogiro d Italia, Centopassi, Thunder Sprint; gone to nearly every single European Motorcycle show and rallies of all descriptions,( the last being 2013 Wheels & Waves), done a few track days, bit of green laneing & off roading, you name it – I’ve probably had a go at it, all except circuit racing that is. Whilst I’ve really enjoyed it all I’ve never been gagging to go back and do them again. The only one I felt I wanted to repeat was the one off, never to be repeated, 2003 Moto Challenge of Great Britain.
However that’s changed now. I’ve just got to go back to Dirtquake. In fact, if I could, I’d go and do this regularly after every National DTRA meeting.
Despite experienced Dirtquakers saying ‘ just have fun’, in the paddock prior to practice the majority of the rookie’s, including me, freely declared themselves petrified of the outcome of their debut at Dirtquake 3. But once you’d entered the ring it soon it became very apparent, even if you tried, you couldn’t stop the atmosphere of the glorious stupidity filling your body and squashing the nerves.
As soon as I lined up on the grid and realised I was racing for the first time on a dirt oval against several monkey bikes, a woman who only passed her test 2 weeks ago, together with one of the UK’s top Enduro riders on a full on Dakar-style rally machine, as well as a teenager who was the 2014 Junior DTRA Champion, who in their right mind could take that seriously !
The unique Sideburn cocktail of hamming up to the max the pure silliness to be had in amateur hour racing has me hooked.
It wasn’t just riding side by side with a chef driving a motorised pie, or circulating a dirt oval with a face full of mud thrown up from the bike in front, or being fed by The King of Sausage and Mash from a huge crown piled high with his namesake, or the slimy green headed Darlek commentator screaming ‘go faster ya bastards’ or the bizarre fancy dress costumes of the racers who had come from all over Europe to race the most inappropriate road bikes & choppers on a dirt oval race track, or the Professional French stunt rider tearing around the track performing all sort of antics in amongst the racers, or being introduced to Plumber, Pyromanic & Genius, Colin Furze and his jet powered bicycle or seeing him sliding his fast mobility scooter sideways around the track or having the novel experience of meeting very drunk people who where having too much fun to possibly be from Belgium, or just the blind swing ball competition. It was all of these combined with the myriad of many more pointlessly stupid, just funny, often bizarre Dirtquake sights and sounds and experiences that surrounded me from start to finish.
I suspect much of the silliness is driven by Dave Arnold of Skooter Farm Racing and inspired by Banana Splits.
With the top 2 places in the Dirtquake 3 Ladies Class a foregone conclusion- Davida’s Lujah finished third & I came 4th.
Dirtquake 3 Chopper Class – 1st place went to Road Racer Guy Martin
Dirtquake 3 IRB Class – 1st place went to Professional Stunt Rider Serge Nugues. 2nd and 3rd to the Mario Brothers. For pinching all the IRB podiums, Colin Furze decided to have the last laugh – See ‘We Fart in Your General Direction’ on 24th July.
Furthest travelled Dirtquake 3 racer must have been Simone riding his Gilera from Venice
Dirtquake 3 Best Flag girl and flame eater was of course Davida’s Jasmine