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Heroic Failure: Flat tracking the Sinnis Scrambler

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake
Motorcycle racing is a serious business. It’s time consuming, usually expensive, and always risky. But there are still a few folks willing to have a laugh while chancing an ambulance ride, and Grant Killoran is one of them.

Grant is the marketing manager for Motorcycle Parts Warehouse, based near Brighton on the south coast of England. “In my ideas for marketing this year, I made a note,” he tells us. “Take a scrapper, fix it up and take part in DirtQuake.”

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake
DirtQuake, for those outside the small but passionate flat track fraternity in the UK, is an annual ‘run what you brung’ event owned by a TV company and open to all-comers.

There’s a festival atmosphere, and an air of frivolity as squadrons of mostly crap bikes line up in a series of loose classes.

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake
Like most of us, Grant is saddened when bikes are consigned to the scrap heap, so he decided to rescue one and enter it in DirtQuake. “Motorcycles elicit so much joy from their riders, it’s a shame to let them die an ignoble death,” he says.

“I wanted to prove you don’t need to be a motorcycle mechanic to breathe life into one of these heaps!”

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake
So the hunt began. At MPW, there’s a bike graveyard—mostly populated by the remains of scooters, and the carcasses of old YZF-R125s that are bent out of shape.

In this pile, Grant discovered a 2015 Sinnis Scrambler. And if you haven’t heard of Sinnis before, that’s okay—neither had we. The bikes are made in China by the Jinan Qingqi Motorcycle Co., there’s a network of over 100 dealers in the UK, and every new Sinnis comes with free breakdown insurance. (Yes, really.)

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake
The Sinnis Scrambler resembles a shrunken Triumph Bonneville Scrambler, with power coming from a fuel-injected 125cc single. But the bike Grant chose had been molested.

“It had already been customised,” he explains. “The lights, wiring and other bits and bobs had been removed. It was almost perfect straight off the scrap pile, making it a slightly easier task for noobs like us to tackle.”

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake
Grant slotted in a set of Ultra Low bars and grips from Renthal, and upgraded the hand controls with Rezo billet aluminum levers. The guy who’d worked on it previously had already swapped out the flat seat for a café-style unit from another Sinnis model.

He was also responsible for installing a 147cc big bore kit, in attempt to lift horsepower a little higher than the standard 11. It was a critical mod—the stock Sinnis motor is derived from the Suzuki GS125, a bike that MCN deemed to be “about as exciting as cold porridge.” Grant simply had to install a new carb, and he added a Toro GP muffler.

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake
There’s a rusty jerry can cap on the top of the tank for high-speed refueling and involuntary castration, and new HEL brake lines keep the stoppers in tip-top condition.

For added weirdness, the MPW guys replaced the torque link arm with a section of chain, and a switch lifted from a missile launch system now controls the ignition.

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake
Grant applied to enter the Inappropriate Road Bike category In DirtQuake. “As this was a 125, it seemed the most appropriate category to me.” But the DirtQuake organizers thought the Sinnis was more suited for the Street Tracker category, and effectively killed off any chance of success.

“It was probably the most hotly contested group, with bikes that could actually do this kind of thing!” says Grant. Nevertheless, he zip-tied on the numberboard.

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake
With trepidation, a new battery and a little ethanol booster, the MPW lads tried to fire up the Scrambler. But nothing went to plan; first it wouldn’t start, then it wouldn’t idle. But with the help of some trackside friends, this lil’ scrapper was finally ready to take the field.

“I wanted to prove that a pair of relatively unschooled guys could put in the work necessary to get a bike going,” Grant shrugs.

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake
“Ultimately, we achieved what we set out to do. We took an unloved bike from a scrap heap, fixed it up, got it running, and entered it into DirtQuake—with a whole heap of success, failure and electrocution along the way.”

Grant finished stone last in both his races, but seems sanguine about the experience. And we’re betting he had a lot more fun than most pro series racers.

Respect, mate.

Sinnis Scrambler flat tracker built for DirtQuake

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