From MotoGP to the Indy Mile: Roland Sands’ Desmo Tracker

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Exclusive to Hell For Leather, this render and these photos show what the finished Roland Sands Design Desmo Tracker will look like. If you haven’t heard yet, Roland’s finally lost his marbles, building a flat track racer based on the limited-to-1,500-units, MotoGP-replica, 197bhp Ducati Desmosedici RR. With permission from his doctors, we asked Roland what the hell he was thinking.

HFL: What the fuck is wrong with you, building a Desmo tracker?

Roland: Yeah, it’s a horrible concept. Just fucking horrible. I cringed at the idea initially and then slowly it turned on me like a rabid dog. Truth is, I’ve been wanting to build something with that motor since it became available. I just thought it would be a crasher, not a zero mile bike. But beggars can’t be choosers, can they?

The way I look at it, it’s a great opportunity to get some publicity for a sport I love — flat track racing — while building a completely experimental and functional street legal race bike. My big concern is keeping the tires on it.

HFL: Who’s terrible idea was this?

Roland: My friend Justyn, he is a complete nut. He’s has one of the largest collections of vintage motocross bikes in country along with three Desmos, so he figured he would sacrifice one to the knife. Most people would think anyone who would cut up a Desmo is just another rich asshole. Truth is, Justyn just doesn’t give a fuck. He’s one of the most charitable people I know and God thought he deserved a ridiculously fast Dirttracker. God Bless him. 

HFL: Will it really be able to work as a tracker? Any better or worse than existing trackers?

Roland: It will be a fully functional Dirtrack racer with proper geometry, seating position, bar height, gearing, suspension, the whole nine. I’m patterning it off an existing XR750 silhouette.  I don’t want to say it’s going to work better then what exists today. I’m a racer so I understand the development time and energy put into every machine that’s on the grid at a Flat Track National. Then again, it doesn’t mean we won’t try to make it the best possible flat tracker we can. There is an absolute dark art to dirt track racing. I’ve grown up around it my entire life. Seems like I’ve been going to flat track as long as I’ve been alive. My dad was always  really involved in the wheel and brake side of things and I designed the current Y-spoke billet wheel being run by most of the top factory teams. It’s a crazy 8-lug knock-off wheel. It’s pretty bitchin’ and super lightweight.  

HFL: What modifications do you plan to make?

Roland: All new aluminum sheetmetal, subframe, radiator shrouds, offset triples, single sided swingarm, offset custom spoke 19” wheels and hubs, Goodyears,  high bars, all custom Ti exhaust. Whatever else we can throw at it. We run across new things every day. The name of the game with this machine is to keep it as simple as possible. We’re fighting the urge to make it more complicated. The true beauty of dirt track racers is really in their simplicity. I like to think this bike is a look at what could be a full factory ‘GP Dirtrack racer.’ 

HFL: How will you know you’ve succeeded?

Roland: The current answer is that it already is if it’s getting press and people are talking about flat track racing. That’s a win to me. The long answer is when Nicky Hayden rides it at the Indy Mile later this year, gets off it and say, ‘Damn, that thing really works, I’ll take one.’ Well see if we finish it in time.

Look for the finished bike here on HFL in a couple weeks.

Roland Sands Design

  • JRl

    fuck, I wanna hear that thing.

    • kat

      yes please. and i can’t wait to see video of someone actually attempting to ride that beast. insanity.

  • Kirill

    I want to say this is wrong, but I’d be lying since this is a much better use for a Desmo than being abandoned in some rich d-bags garage cause he’s too scared to ride it.

    • Zach


      • dux

        Agreed x infinity+1

    • Case

      I don’t understand why it’s somehow better if it gets gutted, Nicky Hayden rides it once, and THEN it sits in some rich guy’s garage because he’s too scared to ride it.

      Bored rich guys making beautiful things ugly. *yawn*

  • desmoworks

    Sad to see it doesn’t have a carbon monocoque.

  • Glenngineer

    Never a big RSD fan, but this is the shit right here.

  • nymoto

    Oh my fucking yes, I love this country!

  • jason

    God bless you Roland for being the brave crazy man you are.

  • Coreyvwc

    Envious and full of hatred on so many levels.

  • Deryl

    Might I suggest that you get Kenny Roberts to ride this bike since he was the last person to ride a flat tracker of this caliber.

  • Cajun58

    Clearly unless the engine is seriously retuned the bike won’t be suitable for dirt track racing. Also I agree with Desmoworks that the sub-frame tail section, gas tank and radiator shrouds should all be carbon.

  • Patrick

    who the &^%$ owns 3 Desmossdici!?!

    • Kirill

      Someone with fat stacks of cash and a love of bikes, by the sounds of it


    I love Rolands shit.

  • noone1569

    I can’t wait to see this at the Indy Mile!

  • stempere

    That’s one hell of a project, can’t wait to see it finished.
    Cuddos on the exclusive guys, wouldn’t want to read about that kind of stuff anywhere else.

  • hooligan317

    LOL @ “What the fuck is wrong with you?” and “Who’s terrible idea was this?” Those were my EXACT thoughts when I saw this project.

  • MotoRandom

    The awesome is strong with this one. I know he has his detractors but I really like Roland’s work. Now that the custom chopper scene is moving into rotting corpse mode, I think RSD will move into the major spotlight. He has his own creative vision and actually fabricates instead just being a parts swapper. I still find his Hypermotard to be one of the coolest Ducatis I’ve seen. I can not wait to see this one in it’s final stage. Better yet, I sure hope we get some video of Nicky riding it. 69 Dudes!!! \m/ \m/

  • Scott-jay

    At least one Ducati’s competing in National ‘flat’ track. Seen last two years @ Indy Mile.

  • Mattro

    rsd’s logo got better.