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 Streetfighter Challenge Draws the Crowds in Ramsey

THE TT Races may have been cancelled, but that didn't stop bikers competing at the annual Streetfighter Challenge.

The event, one of several organised every year by Streetfighters magazine, attracted a big crowd to the Mooragh Promenade, Ramsey, on Sunday to watch some stunning bikes bidding to be fastest over an eighth of a mile strip.

The streetfighter phenomenon began in the late 1980s and has grown since.
The magazine, first edited by BBC Television's Top Gear presenter Steve Berry, has a worldwide readership of almost 50,000 and has launched an American edition. Howard Cartledge, from the magazine, explained the growth of the culture. 'It is a very northern thing,' he said.

'It is basically that you get a Japanese bike, strip it, take away the fairing and put the power on, turbo or nitrous, and bored-out performance parts. 'They are always big bikes. They are never under 600cc. It is an attitude thing. It is about a bike that goes fast in a straight line. It is about street bikes. Most of our featured bikes come off the street.

'The basis of most streetfighters is the Suzuki GSXR. That is the bread and butter of our readership, but we have had Triumphs and Ducatis. 'The most common bikes are the GSXR and Suzuki Bandit. The lad off the street can come along and have his bike scrutineered and, as long as it is road legal, it is track legal.

'At the lower level it is quite a cheap sport. You turn up, pay £25 and run all day.' Howard said one of the streetfighter stars, Wayne Little, started on a GSXR doing 12 seconds over the straight distance. That's now down to nine seconds on a modified bike.

'We did a survey a few years back and found 62 per cent ride a Suzuki and 70 per cent earn more than £25,000 a year,' he said. 'They can be expensive toys, but that doesn't stop the man in the street modifying his bike. Anyone who has a road legal bike can come along have it scrutineered and have a go down the strip.'

The magazine runs a championship around Britain, including a round at Jurby in July, called Straight Liners. At the TT event in Ramsey bikes can reach 150mph or more, despite covering a shorter distance than in championship rounds.

Howard said: 'We run the competition over 12 rounds throughout the country and we're sponsored by Pirelli, which is a good sponsor because we say a tyre lasts five miles.

'At Ramsey we've had crowds of between 11,000-15,000 and up to 90 bikes taking part. This is the fifth year now. 'A lot of people want to have a go but won't because they don't want to feel like a fool. 'We've had great support from Ramsey Commissioners. I think they support us because the event is very important to the town.

'We have actually got quite a little Manx contingent now. Some Manx riders come over for our rounds in York. 'There are a couple of guys from Onchan and Colin Eastwood was the fastest in the sprint last year.'

For full story and more pictures see the Manx Independent.

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