RideApart 6: Flat Track racing for beginners

Dailies, TV -



Jamie Robinson and Wes take bananas to a gunfight, entering 9hp Honda CRF100F and XR100 trail bikes in The Hooligan Derby’s “Run Whatcha’ Brung” flat track race at Ventura Raceway. It’s their first time on a dirt oval.

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  • tomwito

    Nice Job! The episodes keep getting better. That looked like an amazingly good time.

  • Campisi

    Dirt ovals make for excellent weekenders. Some of the tracks I’ve been to had flat-track racing on the same (extended) weekend as mini-sprints and hornets, in the lead-up to a World of Outlaws event. They’re always worth a weekend.

  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    I feel like swimming my XR to California just to try it out!

  • jonoabq

    That is excellent looking fun! Time to start looking for a craigslist junker to fix up.

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D [EX500]

      +1, it can’t be that hard to get a 15 yr old, $400, 150cc Craig’s List dirt bike running, right?

    • John2

      If you’re anywhere near north/central California, AMA District 36 often runs the Junkyard 250 class, for old air-cooled twin-shock bikes like XL250s. Way cheap racing, and big fun. http://www.norcaldirttrack.com/

  • bluemilew

    Apart from the accessibility, what makes flat-track better than speedway? seems like sub-optimal sideways-ness, but im just a spectator anyhow.

    • Scott-jay

      Its Americana, fair grounds tracks, a facet of the AMA Grand National series (flat-track, TT & road racing).
      And, as vid shows, most anyone can ride any bike with some others around a smooth dirt track and have fun.

    • randry

      Flat-track carries more speed through the corners, usually don’t get as sideways, the more crossed up the slower you go, but doing the sideways circus is fun. Learning the craft of flat-track you get good throttle/traction control and will make you an all around better rider. That’s where some of the best ever got their start, Kenny Roberts just to start the list. The bigger the track the better in my opinion. Miles are nirvana. When in doubt gas it!

  • Eric

    Grant, what are you wearing? Who do I have to throw money at to wear the same thing?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Mister Freedom’s Mulholland Master jacket, made in very limited numbers a few years ago now. Easily the best textile jacket I’ve ever put on in my life, hands down. I’d give your nearest Self Edge a call if you really want one. And if you believe in miracles…

  • http://twitter.com/tacotv69 Taco

    9hp. I think my lawn mower has more power. You can burrow it and race that if you want.

  • Wolfgang Romero

    That looked like a truck load of fun. I’m looking forward to the episode that features the Multistrada and the Guzzi I heard you where shooting.

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    I laughed so hard, I had to wipe tears from my eyes! My favorite episode by far.

  • contender

    I’ve been enjoying these videos for a while, and I would most often rather read. After this one I now look forward to future episodes. Nice work guys.

  • Scott-jay

    Right on! Race action sequences especially noteworthy
    (too much track-time breasties).

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      I thought the “breast cam” was hilarious!!!!

  • BigRooster

    Great episode – each week is better than the last – not just content, but production as well.

  • M

    awesome ep.

    flat track is amazing. i grew up around it as my dad was a pro racer back in its heyday and my brother has been a touring amateur racer off and on his whole life.

    indy mile is mecca for our family.

  • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

    My intro to flat track came a few years back at Rich Oliver’s Mystery School with the rest of the crew. Coming from street, it was an eye opener but also shitloads of fun. At the end of day two when your form and confidence rise, you get the steel shoe on and it is incredible. That shoe basically acts as a third tire. Sit on the outside edge of the seat, shove the bike down into a left hander, and if that front wheel whashes out, just hold yourself up with the shoe and drift that thing. It’s insane. He has a tight track with a variety of turns and they provide you with identical TTR 125s in good working order. Check it out now that you’re in CA.

    • John2

      My own intro was at American Supercamp (http://www.americansupercamp.com/), years ago when they ran it in The Barn at the San Jose fairgrounds. Hooked, I went four more times, any time they came to California (usually twice a year) and I could come up with the fee (not usually twice a year). Rich Oliver was a guest instructor for them before he started the Mystery Camp, and they’ve had Nicky Hayden, Eric Bostrom, Colin Edwards, Jake Zemke, Josh Hayes, and a host of other top riders as guest instructors. I’ve never had more fun on a motorcycle than on those XR100s (now TTR125s) at Supercamp.
      Oh, and: elbows up!

      • miles

        Yeah, American Supercamp is awesome. Danny Walker runs a great operation; I have also been multiple times when I can afford it. Now that Rich and a certain CRT rider ripped off his program, he’s doing a lot of business training military servicemen. Where ever you go, its great practice and a ton of fun.

        • John2

          Speaking of fun practice, Danny used to tell the story of how the Hayden brothers would take their XR100s to empty parking lots near home, cone off a tight road course, and ride it in full road race gear. They could find the edge of traction and lean angle; they’d crash but at XR100 speeds they wouldn’t hurt themselves or the bikes much. Cheap little dirt bikes are great for a lot of reasons.

  • DavidMG

    This episode was truly A*

  • Wolfgang Romero

    I wonder, are you shooting more than one episode per week??

  • Archer

    That looks like the most fun you can possibly have on a bike. Seriously.

    How many pages were the waivers for this?

  • The Blue Rider

    “Nobody’s really told me how to… do this yet.” LOL

    So this is the dirtbike riding Wes alluded to last week?

    I fucking love this stuff, guys. Even if I am kinda laughing at somebody else’s suffering…

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Ha, yeah. Seriously, the closest I got for advice all day was a blank stare.

  • Chris

    I’ve been talking with my wife for the last year about wanting to get into this. We don’t have a local track so it requires buying a bike & a cheap truck to haul it with. I’m hoping next year I can get into it. BTW, love RideApart!

    • JMcMahon

      A hitch and a small trailer is a more cost effective way to move small bikes, as opposed to buying a second vehicle.

    • Campisi

      An old cargo van would do the trick as well; just throw some old carpeting in the back and get some wood planks to use as ramps. Bonus points if the van is from the Sixties or Seventies!

  • cramer

    Had a ’83 FT500 that I once intended get running to put to this purpose. Chickened out.

    Between this and Sideburn’s Project FT running at Dirt Quake, I’m tempted.

  • http://www.racetrackstyle.com Racetrack Style

    sissy bars on those cruisers looked raceworthy

  • ontheroad

    Looks like a hell of a good time.

    The XR100 is, IMO, the quintessential fun little bike: good power/size, cheap and pretty well bulletproof, while bendy enough to hammer bits back in place after inevitably hucking it off of/into/across things.

    That said, yours is looking appropriately rough. Did you find that thing in a gully somewhere?

  • Jesse Oakes

    Great video! I def want to try this sometime