Rally fans enjoy Hooligan motorcycle racing

Super Hooligan racers competed for top honors Wednesday at Buffalo Chip Campground east of Sturgis. Pioneer photo by Jason Gross

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STURGIS — Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attendees enjoy many types of racing. The Hooligan style received top billing Wednesday at Buffalo Chip Campground.

Hooligan racing features street bikes competing on a dirt surface.

Jacob Crawford sits under his canopy at Buffalo Chip Campground as he waits for Wednesday’s Super Hooligan motorcycle races to begin. The 39-year-old hails from Mitchell, Ore., and entered the Super Hooligan Amateur class.

Ask Crawford what Hooligan motorcycle racing means to him, and this what he will say: “Heavy bikes over 750cc, and no modifications or frame. “Most people are running stock.”

Crawford agrees this racing style allows riders to return to their roots and said it is one of the most inexpensive racing forms.

He has raced motorcycles for a little over a year after having wanted to do so for almost three years.

Crawford drove his father’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle from Oregon to Sturgis. The cycle is a 1200 Sportster Roadster.

Modifications included taking the 19-inch front and putting it on the back, plus installing different shocks and front wheels.

“I’ve been wanting to come to Sturgis for a long time,” Crawford said. He arrived on Aug. 6 for the Super Hooligan series and plans to stay until Friday or so.

Crawford has really enjoyed Sturgis so far. He aid he appreciates being able to ride bikes anywhere, such as immediately in front of the campground stage.

“There is just so much going on,” Crawford said. “You can’t really see it all here at the Buffalo Chip.”

Hooligan racing is the only style now for Crawford, who has also raced in the desert.

What appeals to Crawford about racing? 

“Everybody’s cool in the pits,” he said. “You just can talk to anybody, and everybody’s out here to have fun.”

His biggest challenge centers on learning various details. They include using a metal boot while racing to protect his shoes.

Crawford used street tires in his first competition and finished sixth. An event in California ended with a seventh-place finish.

He plans to compete at Castle Rock, Wash., after leaving Sturgis. While home, he works as a large-animal veterinarian.

“Come watch it,” Crawford said of Hooligan racing. “It’s fun watching guys through 500-pound bikes around the track. It’s an adrenaline rush.”

Lance Joubert also entered the Super Hooligan class as a 46-year-old from Sydney, Australia.

He started this racing style two years ago and said its low cost appealed to him.

“The family and the people racing. It’s a very good bunch of people all doing the same thing,” Joubert said in describing racing’s appeal to him.

Differences in the tracks pose the biggest challenge to Joubert. He described riding a heavy cycle as “a handful.”

Joubert has come to Sturgis for a couple of years because of the motorcycle community. 

He uses a 2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster on the racetrack. 

He modified the heads and cams, with after-market shocks and a different front end also installed.

Joubert estimates it has taken him two years to get the cycle into its current form. “I don’t think you ever stop,” he said.

He owns a restoration company that engages in flood and hurricane disaster relief efforts.

“We’re just hooligans,” Joubert said. “We like to get up, get sideways, make a lot of noise.

“We like to push these machines to the limit.”

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