April 03 2020 Friday at 12:21 PM

The Zissou - Junkyard Build Off

IV League Flat Track invited us to build a themed flattracker for their Junkyard Buildoff. The rules were to find a 500cc or less bike for $500 or less and put $500 or less into it, and then race it at Del Mar on March 19th. So we did it. With grandiose ideas and radical intentions we opted for the "or less" option on all rulebook categories. We found a de-raked '82 Yamaha 400 SECA that had been crashed on a farm in Wisconsin for $350 and went to town. Normally de-raking involves chopping up the frame, but our donor bike had been in a front-end crash and the forks were bent just perfect. After putting most of our allotted $500 budget into a huge 500-tooth rear sprocket and 18" dirttrack tires to mate with the radical stock rims, we spent the rest on Scuba gear off eBay. Thats where the theme of the build comes into play. Life Aquatic. Zissou. Jaques Couseau. Frontiersman of the deep sea. It all seemed like fun and ridiculous but we took this part very seriously, blue shirts, beanies, scuba gear, the whole 5 yards. The bike looked pretty rad with no tank, so our initial plan was to use a diving oxygen tank for race fuel worn on the rider's back during racing. Logistics of the one-way fuel line quick-disconnect turned out to be a bit more complicated than we imagined so we opted for a tin water bottle to hold just enough fuel for an 8-lap main event. And we didn't want to catch on fire. Josh Mills, one of the Deus Family riders who is pretty deadly on his TT500 was out of a bike for the weekend so we invited him to race The Zissou. Millsy raced like the dickens, and made the whole team proud: in a field of 6 bikes, he brought home the bacon with a solid 2nd place finish behind Southland Fabrication's Alex Wood (builder of high-end frames that Woolie has used for Deus builds) on a Honda XL350 that was substantially less junkyard-ish than our lopsided vessel. Josh held off Aaron Colton, close on his heals on an XR200 the entire race. Good fun, really. All the Junkyard Buildoff bikes are now up for auction on IVLFT.com. Proceeds exceeding the reserve will be donated to a charity benefiting military servicemen and women. The Zissou is set at $700, and for all who might be interested, the bonus is that the '82 SECA comes with a clean title and rego!