Transport yourself back to 1999 and ask Carl Fogarty what he would be doing on a sunny July day in 2016, and we'd lay decent odds on him not mentioning racing against Marge Simpson around a dirt track oval on the outskirts of Kings Lynn. But that's exactly what he was doing over the weekend as part of the controlled lunacy that is Dirt Quake.
Now in its fifth year, Dirt Quake has become an annual fixture at the Adrian Flux Arena in Kings Lynn, and witnesses riders from the entire spectrum of obscurity to superstardom riding largely ill-suited bikes at break-neck speed around the dirt oval, all in the name of having a jolly good time.
Riders enter their machines in one (or more) of the aptly named classes, which include: Chopper, Street Tracker, Harley-Davidson and the very appropriately named Inappropriate Road bike. There is also a dedicated female-only class too.
Dirt Quake is continually growing and is regularly attracts some large names. This year saw Guy Martin return to the madness to come second in the Chopper class after winning in the two previous years. Riding a custom Harley built by Krazy Horse that was completely at odds with its design brief.
Another megastar turning left a lot was Carl 'Foggy' Fogarty, who took the track too on a modified Triumph in the Street Tracker class. Winning both heats before coming second in the final to Calum Pryce-Tidd of deBolex Engineering and beating the Bike Shed’s Ross Sharp on his evil Ducati-powered animal.
Speaking to MCN, Foggy said: “That was crazy, absolutely crazy. I won both heat races and thought 'I want to try and win the final now' but made a mistake and ran wide. But yeah, I’ve got the number 2 plate on the bike and that’s where I finished. Oh well, I must admit I’m actually smiling, I’m quite happy about it. You know, three seconds fifteen years ago, I’d have been f***ing mad right now, but it’s great fun, everyone’s so laid back and it’s just a good laugh.”
As always though, the Inappropriate Road Bike class that brought with it the mania. Racing a broad mix of machines from a Kawasaki GPZ500S to a mixture of mad Scooters and even a burley Honda CBR1000F, all had one thing in common – they definitely weren’t made to be thrashed around a dirt track. Some don’t even have dirt tyres, further adding to the insanity.
Dirt Quake follows on from Round 3 of the DTRA UK Flat Track Championship, which took place on the Friday evening. With Alan Birtwistle taking a strong win over Aiden Collins to take the lead in the 2016 championship after young gun Oliver Brindley clashed with George Pickering while in contention for third. With Birtwistle’s win, Collins and Brindley have it all to race for in the remaining rounds.
What makes Dirt Quake so special is its ability to celebrate the sub-cultures of motorcycling and bring together the most unlikely of friendships from all over the globe. It’s got a true punk feel to it; unpolished, raw and utterly mad – and that's exactly what ultimately makes it so compelling.
Photos: James Archibald
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