Timing in life is everything, so when custom builder Jason Paul Michaels was brutally introduced to flat-track racing, it took just a second to spawn a Hooligan.
That ‘time stands still’ sensation when it was ‘just me, the bike and the track’ was all it took for the Florida bike builder to want everyone to share the experience.
So as soon as the baptism of fire was done, he set about building the first Street Twin Hooligan motorbike so people could experience the ‘awesomeness’.
Inspired by Super Hooligan rules, Jason and his crew built what they believe is the perfect race bike from stock, with a shed-load of rad mods.
“The end result is a stock bike that can be 100% competitive in a race scenario. When the Street Twin came out, based on its low centre of gravity, power delivery specs and wheelbase, I knew it was going to make a great flat-track bike,” he says.
“For Hooligan racing, where you’re typically on smaller tracks, horsepower doesn’t always win. The Street Twin is light and flickable and has just the right amount of power to get through the gears and back down between the straights and corners.”
For Jason, whose Standard Motorcycle Co is one of the leading lights in the custom industry, the catalyst for getting out on the track came in the form of award-winning bike builder Roland Sands.
“I always wanted to race and just never found the opportunity until Roland introduced me to flat track. I was hooked. Something about sliding out of control while managing to maintain it was beyond thrilling to me,” says the self-confessed ‘Triumph guy’.
“When I got on the flat track and started racing, a sense of clarity came over me. While I was on that track, the only thing I thought about was that moment right then and there. It opened my eyes and helped me fall even more in love with motorcycling.”
FTR caught up with Jason to find out more about his ‘awakening’.
Q. So what is the essence of Hooligan racing?
A. “It’s a throwback to class C racing in the 40s, when all the guys at the track who weren’t pros (some were) could race and have some fun. The best part is that anyone can be a hooligan racer. You just have to be willing to stick your neck out and hit the gas. The rules are simple: 750cc and up, stock frame and street registered. That’s it! No one is too young or too old, so long as they can push themselves to their own individual limits. It’s not about winning, it’s about getting back to the core of racing and having fun. Racers help each other with parts, cheer one another on and whoever wins, they all share in the celebration. There’s something very special about that type of atmosphere.”
Q. What would you say to someone who’s never tried it?
A. “What are you waiting for? Get out there! You can take an old vintage bike, a new Triumph Street Twin or Street Cup and by just putting 19” wheels and some decent bars on it, turn it into something you can pilot around a flat track. There’s also the benefit of building relationships. The first race I showed up to I had no intention of riding but within 20 minutes I was because the other racers wanted me to be able to experience it. That’s beautiful and is what motorcycling is all about.”
Q. What does your Hooligan racing future look like?
A. “I want to get as much practice time with Johnny Lewis at his camp, Ten Training trainingby10.com , as I can. Then from there, it’s hit as many races as possible. The SDTA southerndirttrackassociation.com/race-schedule.html has been kind enough to let us open a Hooligan class so anyone in Florida who wants to race can do it.”
Head over to Bike EXIF for a full profile on Jason’s bike.
Base Bike – 2016 Triumph Street Twin