THE OUTFIT

Yamaha XS650/750

The team first acquired the sidecar outfit back in 2012.  At the time, it was a bit rough around the edges but perfectly raceable. When it wasn’t racing, the rig was in the shop being worked on. It has seen constant modification and has evolved into the much more reliable and aesthetically pleasing unit that Ben and Dave race now.

It started out in 1996 as a chalk drawing on the shop floor of Jean Guy Ratcliff in Maxville, Ontario. Jean Guy is well known and respected in the North American sidecar building world. In the summer of 2018, he rolled his 21st sidecar project out the shop door. Back in 1996, the present day Razorback Racing outfit was Unit No. 1.

They started with a frame and parts from a Yamaha XS650. Jean Guy says that one night he and a friend drew out the design, got some pipe and started welding. “Godzilla”, as it came to be known, was born that night. It was big, ugly and cumbersome, but it got the job done. Jean Guy raced it at Shannonville the first season (1996) with Peter McKinstry as passenger.

At the end of the first season, Peter bought it from Jean Guy and raced it for the next two years with Sandy Harris as passenger. Sandy describes the rig during those first years as an “ongoing disaster”.

“We would do two laps and then something would break. We would come in, patch it up and go out for another lap, only to have it happen all over again.” Sadly, that’s not uncommon for a sidecar. (Harris went on to build her own rig and race it successfully for many years.)

The trail on Godzilla goes a little dark after 1998.  McKinstry sold it to someone and it went to New Hampshire. It’s not known at this time if it was raced again. It may have just sat neglected for 11 years until 2009. At that point, it was advertised for sale. Len Fitch (Woodslee, ON) purchased it and brought it back to Canada. Len has done much to promote Canadian motorcycle and sidecar racing and this would be his first venture into the sidecar world.

The rig was too wide, too short and had been generally neglected for years. Len stripped it down to the bare bones and brought it back to racing condition. He narrowed up the chair, built a new fender and fuel cell and headed to the track.

The outfit raced in the 2010 VRRA series with various drivers and passengers. Fitch very generously sponsored these racers with the intention of raising interest and promoting the sport. Mike Vinten then purchased it from Fitch and the team of Ewan Brown/Mike Vinten continued racing it for part of the 2011 season.

It was then sold to the Razorback Racing team of Dale Minnett and Dave Minnett. It has raced since in both the VRRA and ARHMA organizations and has seen constant improvement ever since. Very little remains of the old Godzilla. Only the engine cradle itself remains original and virtually every other component has been rebuilt or replaced.

In the fall of 2015, Dale sold his share in the rig to Ben Ollila. The new owner/passenger decided the improved version of Godzilla needed a more appropriate name and it has been redubbed “Terrifying Taxi”.

The “Terrifying Taxi” is no longer ugly and unreliable. It now sports the title sponsor Aspen Fuel's bright apple green colours, a new improved XS650/750 engine, a longer, narrower chassis and 17” wheels. It took the team to the VRRA P2 Sidecar championship in both 2016 and 2018 and will see more updates as they work hard to stay on top.

© 2019 Razorback Racing

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