When we initially heard about Sideburn Magazine’s annual and notorious Dirt Quake Flat Track event coming to the States, we knew we wanted to be a part of it one way or another. For years we’ve seen the remnants of the fun that was had via online clips and blog posts from across the pond.
So when I got the email about it and it’s US partner, SeeSee Motorcycles in Portland, being the host, I picked up my phone and called the one and only Thor Drake with something that sounded like… “Thor? … I want in!”
I had just launched TheMotoAttic.com and knew that we had to be there and not just to race. I wanted us to throw a Dirt Quake worthy swap meet that was not only free, but catered to the Dirt Quake crowd. This meant doing it with a beer in one hand, and a can of spray paint in the other. Anything else was simply trivial.
You see, this is why we love the occasional shenanigans combined with motorcycles. Is it kitschy? Yes. Can it be perceived as irresponsible? Of course. But guess what… we already know this, which is why we were on a closed course, camping on the grounds, and leaving the risky behavior behind on the heels of breaking down the tents at the end of the weekend.
The event itself was a two day affair with Saturday starting off with our organized moto swap meet from a healthy Noon to Five time-frame followed by proper flat track racing at the Mt. Saint Helen’s Racetrack in Castle Rock, WA. One thing that draws me to being a part of such swap events is the sense of community with people whom the only known thing in common is the love of motorcycles. We don’t need to know each other’s religions, job history, or sexual preference. No. Not here. Here we want to know what you have, how much is it, and where you hail from so we can find you again.
From Langlitz Leathers, to pickup trucks of rusty gold, the swap was a huge hit. Within the first hour there was a ’66 Triumph T120 desert sled with all the fixings sold for $2900, some good trades, and I even walked away with a pair of hagon shocks and my would be race bike for the following day, minus a seat.
Yes indeed, there was something for everyone! Saturday night wasn’t for the weak hearted. Garage rock echoing through the forest until late in the evening while people young and old danced past a slew of tents, vintage vans, and trickling camp fires. All fueling up until the main events on Sunday where racing, in the least sense of the word, would drive people from their hangover laden sleep to suit up, strap a paper race plate to their bike, and head left.
The beauty in Dirt Quake is seeing the innovation that takes place across the boards. From raked choppers with flat track tires to a Ducati super bike laced with knobbies, there were no rules. Only to respect the idea of camaraderie on the track, and may the best man or woman win. In hindsight, Dirt Quake reminds us of why we fell in love with two wheels. It’s dangerous, its heroes are larger than life, and somewhere deep inside, we long for a weekend that played less like a moto GP and more like the final competition in Bill Murray’s “Meatballs.”
And we’re just fine with that!
Event sponsors: Sideburn Magazine, SeeSee Motorcycles, Harley-Davidson, The Moto Attic, Sizzle Pie, Poler, Stumptown, Roland Sands, Icon 1000, Biltwell, Bell, Moto Factory, Iron and Resin, Lowbrow Customs, and 100%.
Photos: Matt Smith