Harley Hooligan History V.2

Posted by mark atkins on

How the hell did we end up in a HD commercial??

Probably one of wildest things I've ended up doing. From what I was told someone at HD was looking for a group of wild idiots with a death sentence to rip Harleys til the wheels fall off. This person at HD reached out to our awesome friend Brawny from Speed merchant and asked if he could get a group of guys that could star in a commercial for HDs new campaign called #RollYourOwn. Like I talked in the last email blast there was a few brands that were HEAVY into hooligan at the time. Speed merchant, SMCO & Rusty Butcher. So Brawney called us all up and we got linked into this wild commercial. I was originally approached to have 2 segments in the commercial which were flat track & they wanted a "jump".

This was my first time doing anything like this. We had to do wardrobe days and even plan out some spots to shoot. HD landed on Glen Helen Raceway for the jump & Perris auto speedway for the Flattrack scene. They really never told me anything about the jump. The day I was supposed to hit it and film this whole scene I just showed up to the track and all these film rigs and people were around this BIG ass about 80ft table top. At the time I was probably at the top of my game but never hit anything that big. So naturally I was a bit nervous.

I guess I should mention the weather was shit. It literally was off and on raining and I started hitting this big ass jump in the rain. First jump went awesome and I felt great so I hit this thing about a dozen times before I noticed we had some issues. My fork tube split in half on the right side and cracked longways. haha I ended up swapping tubes with my other Flattrack bike and got the damn job done! I'll never forget how gnarly it was jumping that tabletop in the rain and even my fork tube cracking in half.

Next scene was Perris Raceway with the Flattrack scene! This was easy. 4 of us ripping around a track with a rhino in front of us filming all the "action". This was a bit easier and went smoothly. I want to dive into this commercial because this was a pivotal time in Hooligan racing. It was getting popular and each race was getting bigger and now we have the factory actually working with hooligan racers. Little did we know this commercial would be played for about almost a year straight. Every UFC fight and more had this thing blasted across it with us in it and cool enough they put our instagram handles on the damn commercial!! Instantly we all blew up and so did hooligan racing.

The commercial was huge for us and a successful campaign for HD. After that we were approach to have our own "factory" hooligan race teams. HD sponsored our company's separately and it was on from there. We each got a small paid contract, a new Street 750 motorcycle to build/race and a list of races to attend for the year. The first one was in Sturgis and most of us had never been let alone rode a bike across the US like that so it was perfect learning experience for all of us.
Funny side story about this trip. My sportster was in the middle and we finished a full crank motor rebuild at 11pm at night then rode it straight to Sturgis at 11pm with no issues! haha This trip was wild and monumental for us. A few weeks prior I ended up meeting Yelawolf the Country/Rap musician. I was supposed to make him leather belts and crazy enough a few weeks later we all ended up in Strugis together. We didn't really know anyone and neither did they out there. So for the next 10 days we all hung out and tagged along to each others events. I'll never forget our first meet up. I met him in front of some big camp area. He pulled up with a little person on a mini bike led us into the venue.
I am getting into detail with this because as this wild weekend in unfolding all of us are blowing up our instagram pages with all these wild events happening. Our first of I think 3 races happened at a AMA track. None of us had ever ridden a big track like this and damn was it fast! All the races went decent and I can't even remember what places we got as we were faking being rockstars out here and people watching. haha
On top of all the fun HD let me take over their instagram for the first time. Getting the keys to the city and logging into the Harley Davidson instagram was fucking wild to say the least for a washed up high school dropout. haha Below is one of the photos I staged and took for their gram! This was almost all of the original hooligan HD teams that came to Sturgis that year.
By the time we came home everyone had FOMO from all the crazy ass things we did that week. We attended 3 Yelawolf shows side stage and even filmed a music video with him inside of the wall of death. Raced 3 races, partied and came home feeling like a million bucks. After this the Hooligan movement online looked like we were fucking rockstars and honestly for the first time in my life I felt like it. We forged some friendships out there that will last a lifetime. After this trip I feel like the hooligan movement got the momentum it needed to shoot to the sky which it started to!
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Hooligan Offroad Racing @ The Mint 400

Posted by mark atkins on

One day I got a call from my buddy Doug who happens to co-own Heatwave Visual sunglasses. He told me he had this idea for us to race Harleys off-road at this race called the Mint 400. I didn't really know too much on this race at the time let alone have ANY off-road desert racing experience so as usual I agreed to built a bike and race this sucker! haha Mikey Virus, Barry nobles, Doug & myself took on this stupid idea to try to race this gnarly off-road race. At the time this was the first year the Mint 400 has had motorcycles in years so it was a special one to attend. We all built bikes of what we "thought" was a good idea and things we needed. Boy were we wrong about so much.


We lined up and the first mile my bags that I had stuffed with EVERYTHING to rebuild everything for some reason (apparently thought I would be out there rebuilding my entire bike?) were so heavy they broke my fender off and ripped out some wiring I had. Once I figured this out I was battling wiring gremlins the entire race. I only finished one lap this year which at the time was a 80 mile loop and the longest I've ever ridden a harley off-road at one time. 

 Barry came home with the win after Mikey took a gnarly digger that year and dragged his corpse in for 2nd. I remember Mikey showing up looking like Jason from halloween and his headlight busted off and hanging from the bike. haha

Before & after the destruction. Minus the wiring issues the bike at this time still ran decent! My awesome fairing I had my buddy josh lasted as well and helped me plow thru bushes with ease. 
The following year I made some changes to the bike... good & bad. At the time we were running somewhat race motors. 1250 kits with race heads and decent cams. We didn't learn til later we needed these to be very mild motors to last thru these long off-road races! I made it about 60 miles in before my temp gauge said my bike was about 340 degrees and the motor said no more. haha I ended up toasting this motor completely for this year. Mikey virus won this year! 
2020 rolls around and I took a more "hands on" approach with the Hooligan class and the Mint 400 let me come up with some new rules to get this class to a more level playing field. I separated some faster and more purpose built bikes into "scrambler" class and hooligan was just sportsters now. Although I did this with the help of a few rad dudes advice that are racing in this class there was some push back but in the end it is what was needed to keep this trend going in a upward direction! Below are the simple rules we came up. Hooligan racing is meant to suck. It should not be "easy" because you picked a bike that was built for it. It's meant for not purpose bought bikes. If you simply want to go faster and have a bad ass functioning bike then scrambler class is perfect for you. If you want to be a hooligan you have to shop for your bike in the dumpster and not the dealership.
  • Hooligan
  • Harley sportster ONLY
  • Riders in this class must be sixteen(16) years old minimum.
  • Bikes must have been built as street legal by the manufacturer. 
  • No mono shock
  • No past or present pro card holders.
  • Minimum weight of 400lbs
  • Scrambler
  • 750cc or larger production twin. 
  • Riders in this class must be sixteen(16) years old minimum.
  • Class fits these bikes- Ducati & triumph scrambler & HD pan America
  • No dirt bikes/ ADV bikes allowed.
  • All past or present pro card holders welcome.
  • Minimum weight of 400lbs
I built a new bike from scratch that honestly is the best build I have ever built myself. This bike handled beautiful the entire 90 miles I made it before a swinger bolt backed itself out. I pulled over a few times thinking I had a flat but it was just my swinger moving back and forth about 7 inches. I had some big zip ties and zip tied the frame to the swinger and made it about 2 more miles to another pit with some workers. While they were making tacos in the middle of the desert I asked if any of them had baling wire and they did! I ended up using bailing wire to make it another 6-7 miles in the worst and hardest part of the course to the next pit where some awesome off-road truck dudes supplied me with a fine thread bolt and a oversized nut to use as a spacer. I ended up finishing the toughest race I have ever entered in 4th place. Below are the pics of the wild solutions I did out there to finish this race. I was going to drag this damn thing across the finish if I had to.
Lastly we made it to 2023 and finally brought home the win! Bike felt amazing and me not so much. I really need to train before these damn races haha. This was a long road to get here but I'm glad I finally handled it!
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RB Leather Factory Upgrades!

Posted by mark atkins on

This year I wanted to dive deeper into our craft of leather making. I have always made simple and durable belts with nothing other than a small logo stamp, classic but a little simple for me. I learned recently about "roll stamping" belts and found some machinery that would do so! These machines take a solid brass stamp that is machined out with the logo you desire and with pressure applied make amazing full roll stamp belts. We have purchased a few "stock" designs and I decided that wasn't enough and searched out a manufacture to make custom designs for us! I have added 3 custom designs to the roster and they look amazing!! Barbwire, chains & checkers are available for purchase on our awesome belts. Did I mention these suckers come with a lifetime warranty?

These belts are ALL handmade one a time by myself ( Mark The Butcher) in our little leather shop! The belts come in sizes 30-50 but if you need any larger or smaller size shoot us a message and we can help you out!
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Harley Hooligan History V.1

Posted by mark atkins on

 its crazy to think back on how far this Hooligan thing ended up going in our industry. From not being wanted at the local tracks to million view live streams at X games. We ( Rusty Butcher, SMCO, Speed Merchant & some other awesome companies/friends ) started out this whole thing with a few dudes who just wanted to take a not so smart bike onto the flat tracks. Back then it wasn't the most popular idea to show up to the tracks and a bunch of tattooed idiots would invade the pits to crash and spill oil all over the track. We had the wrong tires, bars, suspension, bike.... literally everything. Shit I even put on trials knobbies one time and ate shit bad because the knobs were too soft, haha. A while after this happened eventually some of the real flat trackers took us under their wings and show us the ropes so we would piss less people off at the track learning. This all started around 2015 and my first race I personally did was a Harley night at OC Speedway around that time. It was a short race for me as I got the hole shot to high side in the first corner to a broken collar bone. haha
The Hooligan movement at the time was "Run what you brung" class as we didn't get dubbed "Hooligan" til later in the year at our first race series that popped up in Del Mar, CA. By the time this series rolled around we dialed in our bikes more and started to get the hang of things. The day I put on real flat track tires and used a hot shoe ( metal slipper on your left foot used to slide into corners) I was pretty dominate of the series. That first year for Del Mar I won everything and ended up the #1 plate for "run what you brung" and "Hooligan". Unfortunately for me the next year people started to get the hang of it and I started getting my ass kicked, haha. Looking back at that Del Mar series we had the best time. The pits were like a giant drunk family that was having a great time. 
 Over the years we have had tons of "team" members under RB Racing. I would always invite my buddies out to build bikes and tag along in the fun... Sometimes not so much fun that would end them coming to the tracks with us like the photo on the right. Hooligan racing aint for the weak that's for damn sure!

Above is a photo of the last race at Del Mar for us. Tensions were high a few years deep into the hooligan movement as everyone wanted to show their skills and win. This was the main event and my front wheel got taken out and it started a 6-7 bike pile up. The race was called after this since so many of us got hurt. haha I think I walked away with a fractured wrist after get slammed like a rag doll and ran over. This I believe was the end of that race series but didn't slow down the Hooligan movement but was only the start.


I will keep updating these Hooligan History emails more and more to give you all an insight on how this whole thing started. 

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Born Free 9

Posted by Rusty Butcher on

BORN FREE 9!! Always our favorite event.. Mike & Grant put on a amazing show. This year they even added a rad race at Costa Mesa Speedway. The race went off without a hitch, awesome team and even more amazing track. Probably one of the nicest tracks we have encountered. Born free shenanigans always as usual, no reception, hot as hell, thousands of amazing bikes and smiles as far as the eyes could see. We sold out of almost everything we bring and people loved our new "Street Reaper" build. I appreciate everyone who came out and supported us at the races as well as the show!

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