The Inappropriate Revolution! Putting the Road Bike into Off Road!
Simmering just under the surface of the Off Road mainstream a revolution is starting to take place… disenchanted with the modern sport there are a host of mavericks who are taking Dirt biking back to it’s roots, back to the days when Motorcycle owners ripped off their lights and registration plates and made madcap alterations to their machines before hacking their road going two wheeler around the fields and dirt tracks of our country. Yep Dirtbikes didn’t always come ready made with a shiny set of plastics, knobblie tyres and bump sucking suspension, back yonder those Dudes just had to race what they had. Those guys were the pioneer’s of what we have now, and yes they had a whole ton of fun whilst they were at it, and it’s that creativity, and whole hearted affordable fun which has been the breeding ground for a whole host of events like Moped Mayhem, Dirt Quake and the Nifty Fifty Moped Endurance Series.
Up in Yorkshire Jon Lawson is taking it that extra step further by introducing an Inappropriate class to Scunthorpe Speedway’s hugely successful Amateur meetings. When he mean’s inappropriate that’s just what it is, think CBR 500’s, Superbikes, Africa Twins, Peugeot Scooters that type of thing, racing around the tight and slippery confines of a Speedway track … get the picture. It’s a strange one for sure, but it’s all part of the craic, and after all that’s riding Off Road should all be about.
Jon, who own’s a motorcycle shop takes up the story “I have been riding Offroad bikes all my life, starting back when I was 8 riding round on the farm, and I have raced Motocross, Enduro and took part in Trials. Dirt Quake was the starting point for me and I raced in that a few times and won my class twice, and I thought this shouldn’t be just once a year. I was at a Scunthorpe Speedway Amateur raceday and they have classes for Speedway, Quads, Dirttracker’s and Pitbikes and I was speaking to Richard Hollingsworth who run’s it and said how about having an Inappropriate class. His answer was, if you can get 4 bikes on the line then let’s do it and it’s escalated from there”.
The Scunthorpe Amateur Speedway series run’s once a month and it really helps keep the speedway club and track running with many of the top speedway riders also taking part to keep their hand in during the winter months.
Jon continues “It’s really taken off with 22 different riders taking part over the summer series. Some people say it’s devaluing it, but we think it’s helping it and the entry fee’s certainly help the club and it’s a great affordable way to take part in Off road racing. You can ride anything as long as it’s a non competition bike, so sportsbikes, superbikes, adventure bikes, scooters, choppers, custom….. and you can be on track for under £500. We have had riders competing on a 50cc Moped (which didn’t come last) right the way upto a 1150cc Buell Lightning. We try and keep it really simple and easy to get involved in. Tyre choice is up to the rider so some riders use knobblies whilst others cut their road tyres.”
Such is the friendliness of their approach, the rider’s scrutineer each other. When it comes to a new rider wanting to take part they fire a picture of their machine onto the clubs Facebook group and as long as everyone likes it your in.
“People make a few alterations to their bikes, but as long as they use the basic frame and the engine is in the same position, and don’t change the characteristics of the machine then that’s fine” says Jon “Some riders use Motocross handlebars and some change their wheels to 19” so they can use second hand speedway tyres, whilst others just ride the bike as it is from the road, with their lights taped up. All in all we just try and make it easy to take part in and make it good family orientated fun. We are waiting for someone to ride to the event and take part on the same bike and then ride home again.”
At the last meeting Scott Speed won aboard a CB500 Honda, 2nd was Gary Clayton back from injury riding a Yamaha SR 500, and the third place rider was on a Kawaski 500. Others who rode were Polly Richardson on a little 125 random Chinese machine, with Denise Lawson (Jon’s Wife) riding on her 250 Honda (which is 37 years old) and Odgie riding a 350 Honda, with Jon riding his ZZR 600 animal.
The craze is spreading too with an Inappropriate class now part of the
Pickering & District club’s Grasstrack event’s. Keen competitors including club chairman Will Bratley on a 1938 Levis have raced at two meetings this season and are already planning for a full season next summer. Spectators also enjoyed the sight of seeing such an unlikely assortment of machines racing and having a go. Denise helps with the organisation of these events as well as racing in them.
Jon has spread his inappropriate wings too taking part in the Bainbridge Hill Climb on an Africa Twin, his friend mate Odgie on a 350 Honda twin which is affectionately known as the Pile driver. “I want to take part in as many different things on one bike” said Jon, and we have a funny feeling we will be seeing him at a whole host of different venues and sports in 2018.
If you are interested in taking part in one of the Scunthorpe Speedway Amateur events in the Inappropriate class join this group on facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/491840734241568/about/. Entry is just £30 and you will have Six times 6 lap races with the Top 3 overall on points winning a trophy. The next event is on the 10th December which starts at 11am. It’s free entry for spectators, and catering is available from Angie’s Tea Wagon. The address of the stadium is Eddie Wright Raceway, Normanby Road, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, DN15 8QZ.