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On Aussie Sundays

Sunday Motors is a new brand of purpose-built flat track machines that could very well nurture the next Casey Stoner. Who better than dirt-track legend Ben Grabham to get them sideways.

It is pretty crazy to think that Dirt Track racing in Australia has been around since 1925 but for the last 30 years you could not walk into a motorcycle dealership and buy a production dirt track motorcycle. The only ones you see are custom builds or modified motocross bikes, but with the introduction of Sunday Motors’ new fast-track range, that has changed.

A sub-brand of American dirtbike manufacturer YCF, Sunday Motors has so far produced two flat-track models, the 150cc S147 and the 190cc S187, which are competition-spec motorcycles but designed to be ridden by anyone of any skill level.

Right now, it’s tricky to see exactly where these two models fit in Australia’s dirt track scene, as the main junior classes comprise of three categories; 85cc two-stroke, 125cc two-stroke and 250cc four-stroke. Likewise, the senior scene is mostly split between 250cc and 450cc four-strokes, so right now neither of these two offerings fit directly into an obvious class.

But that aside, both bikes look amazing with their scaled-down 1980s flat-track styling in gloss black and they ecome even more appealing when you see the price tag: $3699 for the S147 and $4999 for the S187. The best way to see where they might be able to fit into our dirt-track scene is to get our hands on them and get to the track.


Seeing the Sunday Motors S147 for the first time I was both excited and nervous. It certainly looks the goods in the scaled-down flat-track styling it has going on. I am a fan of its black clean look and, for a motorcycle that is only $3699, the finish is more what you would expect to see on a much more expensive bike.

The low slung exhaust gives it a racy look. In fact, I am actually a bit surprised to see the length Sunday Motors has gone to make sure this is race ready, and that’s why I’m excited. Features like the rubber sleeve over the left stainless-steel footpeg to provide grip, as most of us run a steel slide shoe on our left boot when racing dirt track.

The bit that’s making me nervous are the small 14-inch wheels shod in a tyre with the name Timsun on the sidewall – the last time I rode on a dirt track tyre I’d never heard of before, I had to allow two meters either side of the line I actually wanted to be on as they had provided zero grip.

Jumping onto the S147 it did feel reasonably small for my 178cm tall body. The seat is nice and firm like a flat-track seat should be and the handlebar feels nice and swept back for good cornering. Firing the S147 into life is effortless, too, as it has electric start. The exhaust note is what you would expect from a 150cc four-stroke single, but quiet enough not to upset the neighbours.

Heading down the first straight, all I could think about was how well the Timsums were going to grip in the first corner. But, tickle me pink, these tiny flat track tyres feel amazing and it only took a few laps to get the S147 up to maximum speed. Sunday Motors has nailed the suspension on this model as the back end never bounced or unloaded me at any point, and the front fork provided great grip and feel from the front tyre with its supple feel.

Both brakes felt more than strong enough the few times I needed them to stop, too. This little bike would be an ideal learning or training bike as it is so easy to ride, it even has enough punch to keep me entertained and busy on a small track. Hopefully Sunday Motors gets these approved for juniors as they would have so much safe fun racing them.


Cosmetic wise, the 187 looks very similar to the smaller-capacity 147, with the only real difference being the red numbers. When you get closer and look at them side by side, it’s clear the Daytona Anima 190cc engine is slightly bigger and doesn’t have electric start.

Sitting on the 187 feels exactly the same as the 147, the only time I notice a difference is when I had to fire it into life. Starting the 187 with the kickstarter is quite easy, providing you give it a decent full kick. Once alive, it’s obvious the Daytona engine is a different beast as it builds revs like you would expect a race 250F engine to, and the exhaust note is much more snappy and angry, without being obnoxious.

Heading down the first straight, the 187 surged forward with every twist of the throttle. I now had real concerns about the Timsuns handling the extra power. Distracted, I found myself going way faster than I planned to – the engine builds speed way faster than you expect – so I had no choice other than to turn in and hope for the best. Luckily (for my sake and pride), the tyres stuck like glue to the loose-granite surface.

Now that I had full faith in these tiny hoops and knew the 197 was capable of much faster speeds, I let it rip. Even at what felt like twice the speed of the 147, the suspension on the 187 handled the extra speed and forces no worries at all. I’m super impressed at how well Sunday Motors has the chassis working – the last time I rode anything this small on a flat track, I was 15 on my Suzuki RM80 and I hated every second of it, as it was twitchy and all over the place. Sunday Motors has definitely nailed the setup and geometry for this style of riding, and it’s a good thing, too, because the engine is fast enough to do some serious damage if the bike didn’t handle.

This particular 187, only has a rear brake which was no issue for me on the track I was riding, however all S187s imported into Australia will come with a front disc brake, just like the 147, and that will make them even more versatile on smaller tracks.

I hope Sunday Motors gets these approved for junior racing, because as well as being quite competitive, they are a very affordable way to go racing – you need up to $30,000 to build a front-running dirt-track racer these days. There’s plenty of people who don’t want to burn a race engine’s life up in training laps, so until the homologation can happen, I reckon the 187 will prove to be a very popular and useful training bike. It’s fast enough to get the heart rate up, you need correct technique to log fast laps and, if you do throw it down the track honing your skills, it will be much more affordable to fix.
Or, maybe Sunday Motors should make a dozen available at dirt track meeting where riders can turn up, pay a fee and race in an inexpensive one-make dirt-track series. Now there’s a thought.

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Test // Ben Grabham
Photography // Bernie den Hertog