"Unless you've been living under a rock lately you will have noticed that there’s a new wave of bike culture happening. All over the planet a new generation of people are getting turned on to motorcycles - and many "
Dirt Quake IV is HERE!
as Dirt Quake comes around again we catch up with organiser Gary Inman to see what's what....
In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot to be said for the simple joy of racing a motorbike around an oval dirt track.
While the noble sport of speedway may be the root of these things, the shale is home to all manner of machines. Dirt Quake is touching down this weekend and is of course redefining what it is to be a biker. We asked Gary Inman a few questions.
What was the original inspiration behind Dirt Quake?
We at Sideburn Magazine had seen a few photos of choppers on dirt tracks, one from America and some from an event called Kaanaan Kahinat in Finland. We loved dirt track racing, but knew it was intimidating for some people so we made an event anyone could enter on any bike and we tried to limit the amount of machismo attached to the event by having a Carry On feel to proceedings. Our pace car was a motorised pie. Our commentators didn’t know anything about motorbikes or racing. We had a live band play TV themes, from Casualty and Bergerac, between the races. We have race classes for Inappropriate Road Bikes, women and choppers. It’s not a comedy event, but anyone taking too seriously isn’t really getting it. People have dipped their toe in the water at Dirt Quake then bought proper race bikes and become club racers, which is a great spin-off.
My mate reckons Dirt Quake has become a festival of alternative bike culture. What say you?
I think there are so many different niches within biking that there is hardly even a mainstream any more, but ‘a festival of alternative bike culture’ sounds a bit pompous, so I wouldn’t say it.
For a while now the mainstream motorcycle industry have been copying what the custom bike scene have been doing and looking at events like Dirt Quake as inspiration. Are you flattered? Are you bitter? Do you care?
Harley-Davidson sponsored our Dirt Quake USA event and really got into it, covering the expenses of some quick misfits to come up from California to race their mean Sportsters, and that really added to the event. Yamaha Yard-Built are supporting this weekend’s Dirt Quake and so are Bikesure, a big insurance broker, so we work with the mainstream, but it isn’t making out event any less ragged. The opposite, Dirt Quake USA, last month in Washington, was the wildest motorcycle event I’ve been to in 25 years. These famous sponsors are not making anyone rich, they’re just allowing us to rent a great track, pay the bands, and get proper medical cover for the riders.
Who was cooler and why: Eddie Kidd or Evel Knievel?
They were both legends, but I’ve met Eddie Kidd and from what I’ve read about Evel, I know Eddie is a nicer fella, and therefore must be cooler. He crippled himself at a Hell’s Angels event, crashing off some banking after he’d been living it up the night before. Despite being in a wheelchair, and being quite hard to understand, until you get tuned into the way he now talks, he still managed to pull his nurse and ended up marrying her.
And Eddie named his bike Sid because it was vicious. But Evel is Evel, so I’m not choosing between them.
Drake McElroy is cooler than both of them. Look him up.
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