Andy DiBrino Completes Level 1 of the HooliGhana

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When Portland-based wunderkind Andy DiBrino isn’t busy putting it on the box in the MotoAmerica Championship, winning the RSD Super Hooligans flat track series, coaching riders, or just kicking my ass up and down a race track in the Pacific Northwest, the 26-year-old can be found looking for speed in all of the wrong places.

This has led to Andy getting slideways in his backyard flat track and TT course, jumping road race bikes off big kickers, and most recently taking up four-wheeled drifting on local kart tracks.

So, it was only a matter of time before those two-wheeled and four-wheeled pursuits found their intersection, and would become Andy’s latest project.

Enter the HooliGhana – an exercise in motorcycle and car tomfoolery at one our region’s great treasures: The Ridge Motorsports Park.

To find out more about this creation, we sat down with the Zebra-loving man to get the scoop from Andy on his latest project, which to our knowledge is the first Gymkhana-styled video where the stunt driver and rider are the same person. Here’s what he had to say.

What prompted you to make the video?

I’ve wanted to make a motorcycle gymkhana video for quite some time now. But what sure gave this project legs to start moving forward was when I got into drifting, by accident!

My local go-kart track, Pats Acres Racing Complex, accidentally double-booked a Monday I had for a track-day with a drift school. I showed up with my supermoto bike and some friends, and there was a group of guys with E36’s, 240’s, and other cars out at the track.

We decided to share the track for the day and the track owner told me to hop in a car with some guy, who happened to be Formula Drift driver Chelsea DeNofa. I was immediately hooked.

I came back about a week later, took his drift school in a BMW E36 and ended up buying a car off him already set up. I was a natural at drifting the car, and at the time no racing was going on, yet because of the pandemic, so I got inspired to try drifting my Super Hooligan flat track bike that was collecting dust in the garage.

I could slide it on dirt, so why not asphalt right? The idea to combine that gymkhana motorcycle video idea I had with the hooligan bike and car was born.

I had never seen any video of a single person drifting a motorcycle or car, and I wanted to be the first! I thought it would be the perfect time to create some content and try to promote my sponsors. Plus live out a fantasy of mine to be like Ken Block, haha. 

This is a motorcycle site, tell us about the bike in the video.

The bike in the video is my 2019 KTM 790 Duke. It started out as a bone stock bike, but quickly was torn apart and turned into a very custom flat track bike for the Roland Sands Design Super Hooligan AMA National Championship.

I was the first to bring this bike and KTM into the series. Per the rules, the frame is stock. But everything else is custom or modified, like the swingarm, subframe, fuel cell, bodywork, foot controls, etc.

It is outfitted with 19″ flat track wheels and tires, Öhlins 43mm conventional forks and custom shock, FTR750 triple clamps, ODI Handlebars with Rox Speed FX risers, MotoMaster brakes and some custom sliders for crash protection. Most of the fab work was done by Savage Custom Fabrication up in Washington.

They’re modifying KTM’s identical to mine all the time now. What is definitely unique about this video is I am using my race bike with no modifications. Typically drift bikes in other videos have extended swingarms making them easier to control when drifting while reducing grip.

My bike has a shorter than stock swingarm designed to get as much traction as possible on dirt, making it harder to control on asphalt because of the short wheelbase and that sheer amount of traction it makes.

The front tire is the normal soft compound Dunlop DT4 F3 flat track tire, and the rear is Dunlop DT3 R8 medium compound, which isn’t even the hardest option. 

Who created the video?

I did! I hired the film crew, scouted locations, secured funding, created the storyboard and did a lot of the shot planning, created a shooting schedule, the whole nine-yards.

It was a lot of work and at times totally overwhelming trying to ride/ drive and direct the whole thing. But fortunately for me, the crew I assembled to bring this project to life was awesome and super supportive!

When it came to editing, I helped my friend Marcus pick out the shots and layout the timeline, and then he worked his magic. 

What was the hardest part about making the video?

Finding a location was the biggest challenge. I reached out to a lot of tracks in the Northwest and got shut down for various reasons or just couldn’t afford it. My first option was to shoot it at Pats Acres where I learned to drift, but their track surface is so new that it flat out had too much grip for the bike to slide!

Fortunately, The Ridge Motorsports Park stepped up big time to help me out! They were able to incorporate me on some days they had closed for construction prior to the MotoAmerica event there. Their hospitality was second to none and I am really excited to have a relationship with them now after racing there for years.

When the video was actually being shot, there were a lot of little challenges. Like the fact I had no “bumper budget”. I had no spares for the car or bike.

So I basically had to shoot the entire video without crashing. I was able to keep the bike on 2 wheels the whole time. But, I did get into a few obstacles with the car, like a Motul drum and a PVC pipe banner stand that exploded when the back end of my car side-swiped it!

Luckily I didn’t do any damage, except for the time a tire exploded and popped out a side skirt on the car. We were able to fix that with duct tape, of course. It was also crazy windy the days we shot the video. We had to constantly pick up banners, cones, and even fencing. 

What was your favorite part in making the project?

I think my favorite part was planning this entire thing and seeing it through to the end. It was extremely hard too, but that is why it was so rewarding for me. I’ve created other videos, but not to this magnitude. I wanted to show people my skills and creativity.

Having a project that is my own was really fun to work on. It was also very stressful. It’s way easier just to be a hired guy who shows up and rides, then goes home.

But, I didn’t have any of  those opportunities this year to be hired in someone else’s production, so I created my own opportunity and production and I am stoked on how it turned out. I know it could be better in a lot of aspects, but for the limited time and budget I had, my team and I made something pretty cool! 

This is called “Level 1” – So, will there be a sequel? 

The plan is to make one for sure! My ultimate goal is to make HooliGhana a series, just like Ken Block and his Gymkhana series. Obviously I am a big fan of him and I think he has a fun thing going on.

I want to have my own version of that, where I am making videos with new bikes and cars in new locations with new challenges. We will see where this goes. I hope to get more support for the sequel so I can continue to evolve this concept of mine.

Source: Andy DiBrino (YouTube); Photos:© 2020 Nick Zaback – All Rights Reserved