Photography by KT Fender
Every time we get a call from Sideburn’s editor Gary Inman regarding a go fast turn left party, we can’t but just jump in. Last call happened in December, while still wandering around the streets of Japan, and an aerial photograph of Ice Rosa Race Track, in the midst of the Italian Alps, its all it took. Immediately I phoned Mauro from Classic Co. my buddy Fred O. & Kristina Fender & we had the Wolfpack!
Under the nomenclature SNOWQUAKE It was going to be an invitation only race cohosted with the cool folks at Deus Milano. Limited to 30 entrants, no one had a clue about how to equip the bikes or how they would behave on the ice, but that was just the start of the fun part. Regulations said the way to go was to self install 4 to 7mm studs on Knobby tires and preferably have the wheels covered for safety reasons.
One of the best qualities of Sideburn’s races is that they attract racers, weirdoes and aficionados from all over the world. As part of the 2nd kind, this time we loaded our bikes and joined the Sideburn Gang in the shadow side of Monte Rosa, which happens to be the second highest mountain in the Alps with its 4,637m, right after the omnipotent Mont Blanc. With temperatures well below -10˚C, even the oil in the front forks was frozen that day! The race was set up to kick off around 10:30am, but had to be delayed as by then still half of the bikes couldn’t even start! Dead batteries and temperamental ignitions were in rise due to the alpine cold. With standard frozen toes and finger tips you could see the biggest grins in and around the improvised paddock, where the Deus boys were serving hot wine and a nice chat.
By noon the riders meeting kicked off and the traditional “Quake” number plates were handed to all the riders. The atmosphere was unbeatable. We had riders from all over Europe… France, UK, Spain, Italy, Greece, Corsica, Germany, Switzerland… Even from the USA! All bikes were split into 2 categories; Category 1 for those bikes with only rear brake; Category 2 for bikes with front and rear brake. We had brought to the arena E.S. Petardo, E.S. Big Bad Wolf & E.S. La Sal del Diablo so we were bound to Category 2. The only rule was to never mix categories on the track. All the rest would be made up as we went along. As it couldn’t be in any other way, each racer got to choose who he wanted to race with, and if achieved a position in the top 3, he would write his score in a white board in the pit lane. All the scores would be then added to find out who would make it to the final.
The first time you hit the ice you get the sensation that you will not make it to the end of the first lap but that is only because you’re terrified & too dam slow. Once you start gaining self confidence, push the throttle harder and get better inclination angles, the studs dig thru and you get some awesome grip with a fabulous constant slide, parallel to non other feeling. Power sliding at its best. Pure bike porn!@#
5.000 kilometers in the Wolf Van was the price to pay for ice-moto-heavenThe Death Spray Custom crew drove all the way from London on Adam’s El Camino. The BSA on the bed was so frozen it gave them a big headache but finally gave in and reigned on the track before the end of the day
20W50 or die
Pirelli sponsored the event & brought for Marco Belli the Marilynn Manson of ice tires. If E.S. BBW had been allowed to sport some of those 30mm spikes, can’t help but wonder what would have happened in the race
Throttle & trust its all you need to break thru the ice, but you can’t do anything to over-rule physics. The 500+ (4mm) studs on BBW”s tires couldn’t handle the power nor the weight of the beast, but still Mauro put up a hell of a show!
E.S. La Sal del Diablo felt awesome, for a bobber, on the turns, but the hardtail and the low riding position was a mess on the bumpy straight lines, making it impossible to stay on the seatE.S. Petardo: Possibly the hardest motorcycle on earth to power slide with. Those familiar with the steering angle of Ducati SS frames will know how terrifying this thing was on the ice
Not many things can beat the adrenaline rush of a dozen motorcycles in the start line The legendary daredevil Serge Nuques, this time on a crazy black chopper, leaves behind the Viba MV Augusta being picked up by P.A. Treust after his crash fruit of a close encounter with E.S. BBWAdam and his BSA showing some signs of recovery from the cold trip onboard the El Camino all the way from London E.S. Big Bad Wolf captured terrifyingly sideways & just before threatening Mauro with what could have possibly been one the most expensive high-sides of his life!@#$Anyone can push harder but only real wise men know when its time to call it a night and retire safely. For the memory of the presents will be the fights on the track with mad Treust and the Viba MV and an awesome 2nd place on one of the heats that smelled like victory
It was so awesome to see our buddies from the DTRA kill it sideways with their framers. George was the winner of Snowquake 1, by the waySideburn’s Gary Inman and his beautiful DSC Wood Rotax tasting the Ice
Never felt so protected in my life and guess what? Maybe Im getting old but I liked it! Me & the little Triumph made it to the final but only to run out of gasoline on the starting lineThe Elvis of motorcycles Giovanni Bussei was a delight to watch flying on the ice!