Sliding Back In Time
The Jerkyls, a group of self-confessed retro dirt bike misfits, epitomise everything we love and sometimes miss about motorcycles and the accompanying lifestyle. The club’s eclectic mix of members serves as a refreshing reminder of the simple pleasures that attracted us to motorcycles in the first place
Fun, riding, and mateship. Pure, no-frills riding with a solid retro flavour is the mantra of the Jerkyls, and its members don’t mind a good time and a beer when riding is done for the day. To be a Jerkyl is to go the whole nine yards, they praise all things vintage and avoid the soul-less ‘moderns’, and that love extends to cars, fashion, music. For the enjoyment of their members and guests lucky enough to receive an invite, the Jerks aim is to create easy-going events. A place where the pits are full of banter while the soundtrack of the 60s fills the air along with the sweet smell of Castrol R, and a wide range of old bike enthusiasts swap stories about how fast they were.
The Jerkyls recently held its popular and somewhat infamous Sunday Slide event at the flat track circuit of Nepean Raceway located at the foot of the Blue Mountains in Sydney’s far west. Open to pre-1990 motorcycles of all makes and pedigree, piloted by riders of varying vintage and skill level, Sunday Slide is a non-competitive two-day camping, motorcycle riding, and good times grassroots event - literally. If you’re not in the dirt at Sunday Slide, you’re not embracing the Jerkyls lifestyle. The annual gathering allows riders to wheel their pride and joy out of the shed for a gallop – adhering to the Jerkyls’ mantra of ride it, don’t hide it. A surveying of the pit area reveals the shared passion – old dirt bikes, as well as the brand of choice – Yamaha. The consensus being if you’re going to schlep your bike across to Western Sydney for a day in the dirt, you don’t want to waste the day kicking it in the guts to get it going. Old Yamahas are fast and reliable - a tradition that continues.
When it comes to the non-competitive on-track action, all experience levels are catered for, with participants split into two groups: beginners and experienced. While the riders are easily separated into the skill groups by self-analysis, attempting to categorise the participating bikes would only be a task taken on by the foolhardiest. While retro two-stroke off-road machines are the weapon of choice - the older, noisier, and smokier the better - there’s a fair share of purpose-built flat track machines, speedway bikes and road bikes with knobby tyres, all keen to have a go and have fun.
For two days legendary racers and could-have-beens from a bygone era squeeze into beaten up leathers and climb aboard aging bikes to share the track with inner city hipsters shaking down their latest retro creation. It's a fun vintage dirt track day, and a celebration of old motorcycles and riders that focuses on the social experience rather than the chequered flag. You might find yourself discussing the colour of the grommets on a DT1 mudguard. But you can ride in as many circles as you want.