Monday, April 7, 2008

Motorbike Drag Racing-Dumaguete

I am always interested in manifestations of popular culture where ever I travel. It is particularly interesting for me to see current trends in motor sports transfered to other cultures; adapted and translated to the local tastes and in this case budget.

Motorbikes, step throughs, scooters; whatever you call them, they all descend from the venerable Honda 50 Cub. This classic first of its kind motor bike was voted best all time motorcycle by the Discovery Channel. An amazing fact since it was competing with Harley's, Triumphs, Matchless, and other very powerful classic machines. The Cub won because of its impact on popular culture, its durability (at the shows end they dropped one from a 5 story building and drove it away), and it's world wide distribution.

Today in Asia, and specifically the Philippines, there are many descendants of this classic design. Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki all make updated 100 and 125cc versions whick resemble futuristic cafe racers on a miniature scale.
This is not wasted on the after market crowd. There is not so much disposable income in the Philippines, so the kids customize there $1000 dollar motorbikes instead of Toyota Celicas. They spend at least that much money again replacing parts for both appearance and performance sake.

What you see is anodized accessories, custom seat covers, lowered frames, ultra thin tires and alloy or cast aluminum rims. On the performance side they add, unneccessary (but cool looking) oil coolers, performance exhaust systems, and tweaked engines. Some street racers have hidden neon lighting under the fenders and custom headlighting. Basically everything available to hot rodders for their cars is utilized on these miniscule two wheeled bikes.

Some do it for style, while others go for performance. Drag racing is a popular weekend activity here, while illegal on public roads, it happens with regularity. If you are in the know, word gets out where the weekly races happen. Commonly refered to as "underbones" these racing bikes are stripped of every bit of plastic coach work, seats removed, all lights taken off, all in a legitimate effort to decrease the weight. When doing any performance mod, decreasing the weight is the single most effective means of increasing performance.

Some of the bikes look like stripped down Mad Max creations, while others really are an artistic expression of personal style. I get to see quite a few of these as students come by our place often. The coolest one I have seen so far is a 1970's vintage Honda Dream 70cc bike. Stripped like an underbones style it is tastfully painted with chromed accessories. The rear fender is bobbed and it just looks sharp.

Here is a video slide show from You Tube that highligts a gathering in Dumaguete. I don't take credit for the hip hop/Alternative soundtrack, turn it off if it becomes too much, it does accuratly relect the social scene surounding the bike crowd.

This next takes place in Tanjay just north of Dumaguete. Check out the people in the road, "and no one got hurt"

This last one I included just because this guy gets the prize for Wheelie King.

1 comment:

kate said...

Hi sir this is Katherine Imson from GMA7, I've read your post about motor drag racing, sir we are currently doing a story about different types of drag racing and the story will touch the motorcycle drag racing, the story will air this coming June 2, 2009. Sir baka naman po pwede nyo kami matungan para magawa po namin yung story? should you have any queries please feel free to contact me anytime through these numbers 9284239 or 0917.4980825. I am hoping for your immediate response sir, maraming salamat po.

Katherine Imson
GMA7, News and Public Affairs