July 10, 2018
Hooligan racing today, in essence, couldn’t be simpler to get the drift of, if you excuse the pun – turn up on/with a motorcycle (any motorcycle) over 750c and race it around a dirt oval. That’s it.
There’s conjecture about its origins; some say SoCal-based ex-servicemen kicked it off after WWII. With no hard cash for an actual racing bike but owning a street machine (possibly ex-military as well) to play with, they’d roll up to an event, race, then ride home.
Perhaps there’s truth there – it’s also how the whole bobber/custom scene really got going – but more likely is that Hooligan racing as we’d recognise it started somewhat informally in the ‘70s, when flat-track racers would wheel their street bikes out during the intermission and thrash ‘em round for the hell of it. And those bikes could be anything – from a scooter to a chopper.
Click forward to the 21st century and over the last decade a “run-what-ya-brung” movement has re-emerged from the shadows, with events like DirtQuake/SnowQuake in Europe and races organised by See See Motorcycles in the US letting ‘ordinary’ riders race through heats for a great day out on two wheels.
And as is the way over the last few years some of this movement has got bigger, better, faster and louder. Super Hooligan racing grew out of Harley nights at Costa Mesa Speedway, Southern California where the idea of riding the wheels off a big H-D V-Twin – and chucking in a load of tricks along the way – has drawn big crowds baying for action. For Harley-Davidson, who are title sponsor it’s a great way to connect with a grassroots sport which, after all, is where a great deal of the Motor Company’s 115-year history lies.
Ultimately, Hooligan racing is about having fun with friends riding bikes. You do it to talk about it over a beer after, and all-in-all a weekend’s cheap (and very) analogue hardcore racing is, perhaps, the perfect antidote to an increasingly digital world…
About Harley-Davidson Motor Company®
Since 1903, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom with cruiser, touring and custom motorcycles, riding experiences and events, and a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise, riding gear and apparel. For more information, visit www.h-d.com.