Super Hooligan Racing is now an officially a racing series, taking on a nationwide format for 2017. They have 10 races on the calendar, spread between February and October, with the season finale taking place at the Bolsa Chica Bonzai in mid October.

Super Hooligan Racing has popped up at a number of events in the past few years, but I was curious to get more background on how it came to be so I sent flat track racing enthusiast and pretty picture taker Scott Toepfer a million texts this morning until he woke up and gave me the rundown (at least from his recollection).

Hooligan racing has been happening since the 1970s, with flat track racers bringing their street bikes out to race during intermission for fun. Often, they were just the bikes the guys used to get to the track, and guys ran everything from choppers to scooters.

What's now known as "Super Hooligan" came out of the Harley nights at Costa Mesa Speedway in Southern California. Between those and the Hell On Wheels guys hosting all sorta of inappropriate racing exhibitions, Southern California motorcycle culture developed around this idea of racing big, heavy twins. See See Motorcycles and Sideburn's Dirt Quake's added steam by showing how "run what you brung" races, with heats filled with everyday riders, could be so much fun.

They held a Hooligan race at Sturgis in 2015, where See See Motorcycles' Thor Drake raced a Harley-Davidson XG750 he'd been given to customize for The One Show. Thor managed to beat the west coast guys, but then lost to Jordan Baber, a pro flat track racer on a FTWCO Harley.

The first Super Hooligan event was actually just a marketing stint Roland Sands put on in conjunction with Indian. They gave him a fleet of Scout 60's to customize and turn into "race bikes," and hosted an unveiling in an old warehouse near Long Beach where the guys "raced" in a sketchy paved oval as more of a demonstration.

Thor Drake
See See's Thor Drake and his Harley-Davidson XG750Scott Toepfer

Since then, Super Hooligan races have been side entertainment at a number of events from bike shows like the Handbuilt in Austin and The One Show in Portland to the Superprestigio of the Americas in Las Vegas last year to the flat track races held in conjunction with MotoGP at CoTA.

And a lot of the credit is owed to Roland Sands, but there were also a lot of others who helped give the races a face by participating in many of those initial events. Guys like the Guardado brothers (Suicide Machine Co) or Mark Atkins (Rusty Butcher) or Chris Wiggins.

The Super Hooligan race held this last weekend in conjunction with The One Moto Show in Portland, Oregon marked the first event of the series.

Roland Sands
Roland SandsScott Toepfer

The rules state that the bikes must be stock production street bike frames with 750cc or larger twin motors. Aftermarket swingarms, changes to the neck angle, removal of the subframe, and changing the shock mounting locations are all illegal, as are any geometry changes that aren't bolt on. Front brakes are only allowed for specific TT events. For a full list of the rules, check the Super Hooligan site.

The winner of the series will take home a new Factory Indian FTR750 professional GNC flat track race bike, which will run most of us a cool $45k or so, as well $1000. On top of that, Dunlop and Bell both have payouts for first through third place.

What's interesting is how this turn into a real series, with real money on the line, will change the nature of hooligan racing. Until now, the closest thing to "factory support" was mostly small companies devoting some of the marketing budgets to support bike builds and travel, but it was still about guys with normal jobs lining up for giggles and the chance to beat their peers.

Harley hooligan racer Hunter Klee posted this on Instagram:

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@sammyhalbert celebrating his win in the #hooligans class in Salem Oregon at the @the1moto race. It's a little like doing a burnout because you have the worlds biggest four inch dick. Sure, it's the biggest, but it's still only four inches. This class isn't popular for the pure speed or skill of it; it's popular because it's filled with a bunch of almost middle aged dudes that don't train and have full time jobs that mostly involve motorcycles. If this type of racing is going to become more popular by making it more like Professional flat track, I think people are missing the point. We aren't pro flat track, just like the WWE isn't Olympic Wrestling, or how Monster Jam isn't the Paris to Dakar rally. It's a delicate balance between racing and pure entertainment. Having a GNC1 pro show up and destroy the field doesn't make for an exciting race or help the sport grow. It might be hard to swallow to accept that our little half time gay parade of Harleys and Indians has grown the sport of flat track, but it has. If the goal is to to make it more like regular flat track where the crowds are small and and promoters struggle, then I'd say it's taken a step in the right direction. PS. Nothing against Sammy. He's an excellent racer and exciting as hell to watch when he's up against equally skilled riders. Nor am I insinuating he has a small 🍆. It's a metaphor people. #harleyhooligans - #harleydavidson - #mediummade -

A post shared by Hunter Klee (@medium_made) on Feb 12, 2017 at 5:23pm PST

Hunter is viewed by many as one of the pivotal people in bringing hooligan racing back into the mainstream, and his post has opened a really interesting discussion on just what defines the spirit of the hooligan with everyone from Roland Sands to Carey Hart to Rusty Butcher to Andy DiBrino weighing in. The debate is about whether adding a prize and pros takes away from the accessible nature of it, and whether it's going to turn the series into AMA pro flat track racing, which is having a hard time gaining traction with fans, if it becomes more about winning and less about racing.

What I appreciate most about Hunter's post, as well as most of the responses, is the open dialogue these guys have about the nature of something they clearly love. The point is to have fun and get more people on bikes and entertain people, but how to do that is tricky. It's cool to see Hunter wrestle with wanting the sport to grow, and understand that having bigger name guys come out can bring more fans. But he sums it up nicely when he says that getting beat by guys like Aaron Colton and Andy DiBrino make him want to get better and go faster, but having guys like Sammy fly in to beat them all on a borrowed bike is demoralizing.

Honestly, I don't have an answer either, but I appreciate the spirit of inclusiveness they're trying to keep as they go though growing pains and it's really neat to see such a dialogue happen.

Aaron Colton
Aaron Colton ripping at SuperprestigioScott Toepfer

The Schedule

Date Event Location
Feb 12 The One Pro Salem, Oregon
Feb 17 Mama Tried Miwaukee, Wisconsin
March 25 American Flat Track GNC Woodstock, Georgia
April 22 Hippy Killer Ho Down Perris, California
June TBD Costa Mesa Super Hooligan Night Costa Mesa, California
July 22 & 23 Dirt Quake Portland, Oregon
August 9 Buffalo Chips TT Sturgis, South Dakota
August TBD Wheels and Waves Cayucos, California
October 7 American Flat Track GNC Perris, California
October 14 & 15 Bolsa Chica Banzai Bolsa Chica State Beach, California