Words: Dave M Pics: Julian Hunt
Old bikes are treated with kid gloves and kept in museums, right? Never used properly, always pampered and polished and never ridden as intended?... Er, no.
Once a year, the world-famous drag strip of Santa Pod – Europe’s fastest, longest-lived and most popular drag racing venue – shakes to the sounds of Dragstalgia. The event is all about historic quarter mile race vehicles, of all kinds. So, aside from monster-engined cars and nitro-snorting ‘slingshot’ beasts, there’s an ever-increasing number of very interesting (and very fast) classic bikes too.
Unlike modern drag racing which, while being an intoxicating mix of speed, noise and horsepower, revolves around just a couple of engine formats (for bikes, read the Suzuki GSX1100 and Hayabusa engines), Dragstalgia sees an astounding variety. Not just in engine choice, but with the way power levels are increased (big bore engines, superchargers, multiple engines etc) and also in the style of bike. There’s none of the generic styling of Superstreet Hayabusa or ProStock inline fours here!
And they’re all being used. Okay, so a few weren’t actually run along the 1320 feet of hallowed Pod race track, and were only fired up for onloookers (or, rather, onlisteners) to experience, but once you’ve stood just mere feet from a supercharged twin cylinder Triumph running on a heady concoction of methanol, then you know what a visceral experience it is. All senses are assaulted - ears from the fiery pulses of raw energy blatting out of the open exhausts, nose from the harsh unburnt hydrocarbons, eyes from the angry beauty, and your whole body shaking to the beat of high compression combustion. If you ever suffer from constipation, a good cure is to stand next to a supercharged, methanol-burning twin cylinder sprint bike...
Or, for that matter, a sprint bike with TWO twin cylinder engines! Dragstalgia saw not only Derek Chinn’s Pegasus, but also John Hobbs’ twin-engined, supercharged Hobbit, as well as his 500c Triumph, Olympus. Incidentally, John was the first man to get a 500cc bike to run a nine second quarter in 1971, on the supercharged, methanol-powered Olympus.
Dennis ‘Stormin’ Norman took two of his bikes – the twin engine Triumph that he rode in America (and qualified in the top eight of sixty bikes entered) in 1970, and the twin engined bike powered by two twin cylinder motors donated to Dennis by Norton Motors in 1973. The Norton never ran properly in competition, but it has been rebuilt in order for Matthew Norman (Dennis’ grandson an ex British Superbike racer) to ride in competition!
Also in attendance were Colin Fallows with ‘Super Cyclop’s, Dave Clee and the Puma-engined Triumph ‘Shotgun’, Jeff Byrne and his twin-engined Triumph, Martin Wilmott and his little 500cc Triumph and Ray Law’s monster motored 100cc Triumph.
It’s not all British bike engines though. Renowned tuner, owner of the long-missed Village Bike Shop, racer and all-round good egg, Pip Higham, was riding the ex-Steve Tong Kawasaki Orient Express Funnybike, although he was spat off it on the Saturday, luckily getting away with just some bruised ribs.
And there were some real oddities too, including Keith Lee’s drag scooter ‘Split II’, and the ‘Methamon’ sidecar outfit ridden by Shelagh Neal who rode it in sprints back in ’61 and ‘62. Although perhaps the strangest had to be Dragwaye. The Volkswagen powered bike has the rider sat behind the rear wheel, and it proved rather successful when it was raced, clocking a 9.81 back in 1970 when piloted by Dave Lecoq!
While the bikes are heavily outweighed by classic cars at Dragstaligia, each year more classic sprint and drag bikes come out of the woodwork. It’s definitely work a visit, even if it’s only to give you some inspiration to keep on riding into your old age!Write comment (0 Comments)
WWB test ride KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT
You're probably wondering, why the f*ck do Worldwide Bomber Magazine want to test a touring adventure bike?
Well, in the Bomber office, we've talked a lot about who it is who feels like they need to own this kind of bike, and whether you can use them in any other way than just riding across Europe with a fat lady on the pillion seat? Are they made just for bikers over sixty years of age who don´t have any real life left? Even though we're not huge fans of this kind of high-front-screen bike, we know that they have sold really well for the past few years. So, we figured, there are enough reasons to test this kind of bike, to see if all the cliches are true or false. So, as we like the colour orange, we chose the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.
New World Order
Words: Dave M pics: Seb Seebacher
Quite astoundingly, there are still a great number of people who believe that the only custom motorcycles being built in the good ol' US of A are either massive capacity air-cooled vee twins of domestic origin, or Japanese sportsbikes slung lower than a snake's belly and with a back tyre fatter than both of Kim Kardasian's arse cheeks put together.
But, quite frankly, that is an opinion that is so outdated that it can be found in the Old Testament. The truth is that the custom bikes being built in America are actually as varied as in any other country on this little blue planet of ours – choppers, street racers, flat-trackers, lowriders, diggers, bobbers, cafe racers, supermotos and, yes, even streetfighters are being created in sheds, garages and workshops throughout the fifty states.
Small, But Perfectly Formed
Words: Dave M
Photos: Dricot Thierry
Anyone who follows the world of custom motorcycles with any kind of passion and enthusiasm (or maybe, like me, is just an anorak) will know the name of Krugger.
It's a nickname, and it belongs to Fred Bertrand, the acclaimed Belgian bike builder and double AMD world champion of custom bike building. Fred's built a number of ground-breaking customs over the years, and his latest build was as individual as any of them. Taking a different approach to his normal builds, this one was in collaboration with Yamaha Europe, when they asked him to build a bike from their current range – one that would fit in rather neatly with their Yard Built programme.