Saturday, 20 September 2014

Dell'Ortos Suck

(in a good way). After a complete carb strip, petrol tank tap off for a de-gunk, and fresh fuel, my CCM now starts as it should, just on the choke. Once warmed up, choke off, the engine runs smoothly through the rev range without coughing. Sweet music.
Stripping the PHM is straightforward, mine is a 40 'ZS1' with no pumper (Dell'Ortos mechanical injector, that my Guzzi, and most older Ducati's, do have - normally sits where the primitive riveted banking plate is).
On the top, there is a mystery tab with the number R-4938 stamped on it. Corsa Italiana raced the bike in its former life as a Supermotard in the '00s, before switching to the much faster Vertemati. Maybe it relates to re-jetting?
Hefty arthritis inducing spring.
Needle is clipped on its lowest of four notches (so sits higher in the bore and gives more fuel). 55 choke jet (45 as standard) cleaned with a fine sewing needle - now with added dayglo cocktail flag so I can add it to my surgical tool kit.
32 idle jet (standard 45 - not sure why one would down-size on that). A very fine hole that only a single strand of copper-core electrical wire was small enough to poke clear. 198 main jet (195 standard).
Also new to my arsenal, kinky Vynatrile gloves. Don't suffer all those nasty chemicals and cruddy nails anymore.
Later today, I'll take the bike to my Mum's farm for a proper shake-down blasting up the rough driveway. BP

Friday, 19 September 2014

DTRA Juniors

I mistakenly credited this great shot from the DTRA Amman Valley round to the wrong photographer. Sorry.
It was actually taken by James Boddy. See more of his photography here.

The DTRA's fearless boys and girls will be in action on Sunday at Rye House. G

Coste x Monark

See this man racing at Rye House this Sunday. Free to spectate.
Here's the story behind this short film from Dimitri...

I wanted to share with you the result of a nice day of riding in Normandy back in june. I've been asked by Herve Coutin the editor of the independent magazine "Bad To The Bone" to shoot a fashion story for its latest issue. he wanted off road riding and a vintage motorcycle. 

Fabrice Bazire, let me ride his beautiful Monark 500 GP for the day, and like every time I ride this Swedish beauty I had an amazing time. Herve Coutin shot in black & white film for the 10 page story. 

The day before, I was working on the edit of a short video with the tiny amount of footage I had from my JMB photoshoot, and Julien Faucher, the editor I was working on asked me if I could call him next time i go riding because he was interested into filming motorcycling. I then realized that i had to ride the following day. 

I gave him a ride to Normandy, he shot what he could while Herve was snapping photos, and he came back to me today with this cool video. I hope you like it even if there isn't any sideways action. just casual riding in the fields of Normandy.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Front End Chatter Podcast

Not sure if Front End Chatter is the world's only motorcycling podcast, but it's the only one I listen to.
It's recorded in England (about 8 miles from my house) by two very experienced moto journalists. Simon Hargreaves (in the black above, and on an S1000RR racing a Veyron, below) started on PB in the 1800s, edited it (twice), worked on a car mag for a bike, went back to PB then onto Bike. Martin Fitz-Gibbons (MFG or Mufga, pouring tea in the photo) was on Bike for nearly a decade. He has a degree in brain-melting maths and uses this experience to work out the probabilities of Marquez's next win.

Now the pair freelance for most British mags.

The normal structure of the 90 or so minute show is: cover racing news - MotoGP, WSB and BSB - giving opinion and fact, plus news and rumour. Next is new bikes and a bit of road test nattering. Finally is any other business. In the most recent programme (#17), they give (very differing) strong opinions of the Police campaign centred around the David Holmes video.

I rarely agree totally with their views, but I still love listening. They are incredibly well informed. They inhabit a world of kneesliders and two-year-old sportsbikes and have ridden everything from MotoGP bikes down.

I listen while walking the dog and never miss an episode.

It's currently unsponsored, so they're doing it for fun and, perhaps, to raise their profiles. For an amateur podcast, the sound quality is very good, but there are enough amateur pauses, and paper shuffling for it to be casual.

You can download it through your smartphone, searching Front End Chatter in your podcast app, or listen directly at Front End Chatter. G
Photos: Jason Crtichell (top), Tom Salt (bottom)

Fake Quake

Look, we're not angry, just disappointed.
We're happy that our Dirt Quake events in the UK and the USA are inspiring people to ride whatever they've got on dirt tracks.
It's great that people want to organise their own race events - we can't organise them all over the world.
BUT if you feel inspired at least think up your own catchy name.

This event is NOTHING to do with Sideburn and we're not going to be there.
We weren't asked or told about it until a reader emailed us.
It might be the best event ever (...) but it isn't going to be a DIRT QUAKE.

Please desist from using our names to promote your events.
Gary and Ben, England

Creature From The Black Lagoon

Propping up my shed under a sheet of corrugated plastic with a flower pot capping the end of the silencer was just a quick storage solution for my CCM after last years Dirt Quake. I had hosed off most of the quagmire mud, but I certainly didn't plan to abandon it it for over a year, otherwise I would have at least taken the battery off and drained the fuel - and cocooned it a little better.
Over the weekend I dragged it out of its dank nest in preparation for riding in the last DTRA race of the season, at Rye House this Sunday. It was a sorry cobwebby state. I put the battery on charge but wasn't it expecting it to start. It didn't. It pissed out rain water from the headers. Never a good sign. Taking the plug out and kicking it over produced a proper spurt of water. An even worse sign.
With some transparent rubber hose gaffer tapped to the household Henry hoover, I sucked out a cup-full of water. At least it wasn't rusty water and the engine didn't have any problem turning over with the kicker. But then I heard the echo of waves. Never a good sign. There was even more water in the exhaust. Murky. It's not true that stainless steel doesn't rust.
I'm using a car-type BOSCH starter solenoid instead of the original Denso one, and with a brand new battery the starter was spinning up fine and the engine would fire-up for a second on full choke, no throttle, but then die, as if the main jet was blocked - but normally it runs happily from cold just on the choke, so that doesn't tally. So I cheated and bought some highly flammable Easy Start from Millards the local automotive shop. Sprayed liberally onto the air filter, it did get the engine running on the throttle, but doesn't really solve the problem....
I had already cleaned the float bowl of green gunk, carb filter mesh of pigeon's bogies, and washed the foam air filter of brown toffee,
- oh and there was a Kinder Egg Fantasy ghost (missing his badminton racquet and small section of beach shown here) hiding in the airbox. I suspected problems further afield so sought higher intelligence...
Spent an hour on the phone with Capt Simon. Who updated me on the evils of modern fuel, whose shortcomings include very short shelf life of 6 weeks (i.e. not a year and a half); very aggressively corrosive chemicals; separation of constituent ingredients creating varnish like gummy residues; water absorption - to the point it's no longer combustible. So tomorrow I will chuck the remaining fuel in the tank and properly strip the Dell'Orto. BP

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Steam Yard, Sheffield

This South Yorkshire caffeine haven now stocks Sideburn.

Steam Yard Coffee Co 
Unit 1 - 2 Aberdeen Court
95-97 Division St
S1 4GE

If your shop, dealership, coffee cabin, cafe, clubhouse or support group wants to stock Sideburn get in touch at dirt @

Keep print media alive and support the independents. Please. Thanks! G

Dust Hustle: This Weekend

Inspired by Dirt Quake, organised by Ellaspede and taking place this Saturday at the Mick Doohan Raceway in Brisbane. G

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Skip Aksland Screenprint

Following on from Mert Lawwill and Jim Rice in the series of hand-pulled, very limited edition, super quality screen prints is Skip Aklsand. All three have been drawn by Ryan Quickfall.

A young sensation in the late-70s, a protege of Kenny Roberts, Skip's career burnt short and bright.
We interviewed him for Sideburn 18 and also ran pages of his personal scrapbook of fantastically evocative photos.

Sideburn 18 and the Aksland screen print are both in the Sideburn shop now.

Travis at Pikes Peak by Sam Christmas

This wolverine portrait pic was taken shortly after I watched the fellow run off the Finish line. And then receive CPR in the back of a flatbed plow truck. That was not the first time I have seen chest compressions at the races. It was the first of this summer but not the last. Racing is real. Deep and real.
Travis Newbold

via FTW Racing