[Yamaha]

SLIDING BACK IN TIME…

6 months ago | Words: Sean Hawker-Goldhawk | Photos: Sean Hawker-Goldhawk

As we said seven years ago at one of the early instalments of ‘Sunday Slide’ (click here for a highlights video of that 2016 event), “Sunday Slide certainly isn’t a traditional day at the racetrack; it’s a day where a good yarn is valued just as much as a good lap. It’s a place where families and friends of dirt-bike enthusiasts, grease monkeys, senior citizens and hipsters all come together for a laugh and, of course, to ride dirt.”

And guess what? Well, according to Yamaha Motor Australia’s Sean ‘Geeza’ Hawker-Goldhawk, we’re seven years down the track and nothing’s changed! Here’s a classic piece that Geeza penned about his recent Sunday Slide experience at Western Sydney’s infamous Nepean Raceway…

The Jerkyls, a group of self-confessed retro dirt bike misfits, epitomise everything we love and sometimes miss about motorcycles and the accompanying lifestyle. The club’s eclectic mix of members serves as a refreshing reminder of the simple pleasures that attracted us to motorcycles in the first place.

Fun, riding and mateship. Pure, no-frills riding with a solid retro flavour is the mantra of the Jerkyls, and its members don’t mind a good time and a beer when riding is done for the day. To be a Jerkyl is to go the whole nine yards. They praise all things vintage and avoid the soul-less ‘moderns’, and that love extends to cars, fashion, music. For the enjoyment of their members and guests lucky enough to receive an invite, the Jerks aim is to create easy-going events. A place where the pits are full of banter while the soundtrack of the ’60s fills the air, along with the sweet smell of Castrol R, and where a wide range of old bike enthusiasts swap stories about how fast they were.

The Jerkyls recently held its popular and somewhat infamous ‘Sunday Slide’ event at the flat track circuit of Nepean Raceway, located at the foot of the Blue Mountains in Sydney’s far west. Open to pre-1990 motorcycles of all makes and pedigree, piloted by riders of varying vintage and skill level, Sunday Slide is a non-competitive two-day camping, motorcycle riding, and good times grassroots event – literally. If you’re not in the dirt at Sunday Slide, you’re not embracing the Jerkyls lifestyle. The annual gathering allows riders to wheel their pride and joy out of the shed for a gallop – adhering to the Jerkyls’ mantra of “Ride it, don’t hide it!”

A survey of the pit area reveals the shared passion – old dirt bikes, as well as the brand of choice – Yamaha. The consensus being that, if you’re going to schlep your bike across to Western Sydney for a day in the dirt, you don’t want to waste the day kicking it in the guts to get it going. Old Yamahas are fast and reliable – a tradition that continues.

When it comes to the non-competitive on-track action, all experience levels are catered for, with participants split into two groups: beginners and experienced. While the riders are easily separated into the skill groups by self-analysis, attempting to categorise the participating bikes would only be a task taken on by the foolhardiest. While retro two-stroke off-road machines are the weapon of choice – the older, noisier and smokier the better – there’s a fair share of purpose-built flat track machines, speedway bikes and road bikes with knobby tyres, all keen to have a go and have fun.

For two days, legendary racers and could-have-beens from a bygone era squeeze into beaten-up leathers and climb aboard ageing bikes to share the track with inner city hipsters shaking down their latest retro creation. It’s a fun vintage dirt track day, and a celebration of old motorcycles and riders that focuses on the social experience rather than the chequered flag. You might find yourself discussing the colour of the grommets on a DT1 mudguard. But you can ride in as many circles as you want.

MATT HUGGETT’S YZ125G

Sydney-based digital marketing specialist, Matt Huggett, owns a range of bikes including this 1980 YZ125G. Matt is a member of Sydney Desert Sliders – a group who like to have fun in the bush with bikes that are not always the most suitable for the task in hand – including vintage two-strokes.

“It’s more about the riders than the bikes,” says Matt, a philosophy that has led him to be a regular Sunday Slider. His vintage MX bike has been upgraded with RaceTech suspension, gold-anodised Excel rims and runs a universal trials rear tyre for fast and fun laps of the Nepean dirt track.

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