Awesome 2014 Season for Syck Bubblegum

Syck Bubblegum at the start gate

Syck Bubblegum at the start gate

Heather's 9th place trophy

Heather’s 9th place trophy

Syck Bubblegum has had a second chance this 2014 season. At the start, the driver, Heather Rowe, ran into some issues with the ignition system on Bubblegum (the KZ1000) sidehack, but with help from fellow racers, she got Bubblegum running and was able to join up with Michelle “Ducky” Sanches for a second season.

So far, the twosome have competed in 13 nights of racing, which equals about 50 heats. Of those, their best finish was second place and they’re currently sixth in points overall for the season. The biggest race of the year – the Matherson Cup – is coming up this weekend at Costa Mesa Speedway, which is the main event for the sidecars. Both girls are anxious to show the boys what’s up. “It’s been a challenge to read the track as it goes away through the night,” Heather says. “My monkey – Michelle ‘Ducky’ Sanches is a tiny mite! Her finger tattoos read ‘pint’ and ‘size.’ I love that!”

The best part for Michelle is feeling like a hero to the younger generation who go to see the races. “It’s been pretty amazing being a female racer/monkey,” says Michelle. “I feel like a celebrity because all the little girls call my name and want autographs or pictures with me. It’s pretty RAD to say the least.”

Heather has also ridden three nights with another monkey, Heather Gledhill, and together they’ve been training to make Heather Rowe a better driver. “I click with her,” said Heather Rowe. “But we are all great friends and super happy.”

Click here to see the race schedule.


Video of Heather and Ducky

Video of Heather and Heather


Inked Bombshell: Combat Barbie Stunts

Alexis Rae a.k.a. Combat Barbie Stunts

Alexis Rae a.k.a. Combat Barbie Stunts

What happens when you mix a blonde bombshell with motorcycles and sick tattoos? You get Alexis Rae: an extremely feisty yet bad ass and beautiful stunt rider. Alexis is a 26-year-old motorcycle enthusiast from Bayport, NY who works at a motorcycle and ATV repair shop. But most people know her as “Combat Barbie,” a name she earned because of her boxing skills and trademark Barbie-long-blonde hair.

But this girl is more than pretty nails and good looks. She’s an incredibly talented stunt rider who has showcased her freestyle ability for crowds all over the country. This chick knows handle a bike in ways most of us only dream of.

And guess what else? She’s covered in ink and every tattoo is a reflection of how this wild child lives life to the fullest. But hey, you don’t need me to tell you. Let’s hear it from her.

MI: When did you start riding?
CB: I started riding in 2009 but didn’t start stunt riding until 2011.

Alexis' back ink by Pepe of The Tattoo Shop in Medford, NY.

Alexis’ back ink by Pepe of The Tattoo Shop in Medford, NY.

MI: How did you get into stunt riding?
CB: I started as “the chick on the back,” which was cool for a lil’ while until I met a group of guys wheeling in the parking lot behind Home Depot. After that, I was hooked and wanted to learn. I bought a 2001 Honda F4i that I crashed many times, but after a while, I was up on one next to everyone else. Now I ride a 2003-2004 Kawasaki ZX-636 and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for my team (Lot Starz), friends and sponsors! Thank you!

MI: What happened to the F4i?
CB: I totaled the F4i in September 2013. It was the craziest thing. I was on my way to work one morning when a truck made a left turn in front of me and I T-boned the truck. I was just down the street from work and it happened so fast that I didn’t have time to hit the brakes. That was the end of the F4i.

MI: Ah bummer! Good thing you made it and now you have a bitchin’ Kawasaki 636 stunt bike. What modifications have you done to it?
CB: My 636 is all stunted out with a dented gas tank, 60-tooth 5th Gear custom rear sprocket, stunt cage, wheelie bar, rear hand brake setup, dirt bike handlebars and a stunt sub-cage. I recently got a StunterX steel frame too.

MI: What other bikes do you have?
CB: I also have a Honda CRF50F with an 88cc big-bore motor, front and rear stunt pegs, big bars, rear hand-brake, wheelie bar,

Alexis performing a spreader: a wheelie with both legs out to the side.

Alexis performing a spreader: a wheelie with both legs out to the side.

a 50 Stunt heel guard and a 5th Gear custom rear sprocket.

MI: Wow. That’s quite the set-up for both bikes. I’m sure having sponsors helps.
CB: Of course I gotta’ shout out to my sponsors:
K&N Filters

Dreamworx Cycles
5th Gear Sprockets
MSP Energy Drink

MI: What stunts do you like doing most?
CB: I really like performing spreaders and 50/50’s (a wheelie with one leg in front and one leg to the side). I’m a combo-type gal; I like to jump around the bike.

MI: Yeah, I’d probably fall off trying to do that. Speaking of falling – any tricks that were hard or scary to learn?
CB: The hardest trick to learn was highchair wheelies where you have both feet in front of you, pop the clutch and give it throttle. It really made me feel uncomfortable.

MI: Of course all that practice pays off! You get to perform in front of crowds!
CB: I do perform at shows and events up and down the east coast and I recently started performing out west. I just got back from Butte, Montana where I performed at Evel Knievel Days, which was one hell of an experience, especially since my team was there too! I’m looking forward to traveling around the world doing what I love and that’s to RIDE!

Combat Barbie, as featured in

Combat Barbie, as featured in

MI: Rad! But it’s mostly guys who do stunts, right? What is it like to be a female stunt rider?
CB: I feel that women get noticed more because there are so few of us. Stunt riding pushes me to be tougher and show others that a girl can be as strong as the guys when it comes to throwing a 400-pound motorcycle around. I don’t get to ride with other female stunt riders often because they live all over the country, but when we do get to ride together, we tear shit up!

MI: Have you made any media appearances?
CB: I was in the February 2012 issue of SportBikesIncMag. I was also in the newspaper in Bogota, Colombia, as they had their first annual stunt competition and I was a judge. My favorite media appearance was when I was on channel 12 news during a “lot bust” where 20 cop cars, news reporters and helicopters appeared at our stunt spot as the cops handed out trespassing tickets. They thought we were a “biker gang,” which we aren’t.

Alexis (on the bike) with another female stunt rider, Christina Billings. This photo went viral.

Alexis (on the bike) with another female stunt rider, Christina Billings. This photo went viral.

MI: Does crazy stuff like that always happen at the stunt spot?
CB: There is never a dull moment. Things happen all the time. From cops showing up and kicking us out to people having gnarly crashes.

combatbarbiestunts_6MI: Good times. Now on to the important part. Let’s talk about your tattoos.
CB: I have eight tattoos that are all in random, odd places: a Kaika’ana / Kaikaina on my left wrist, a star on my right wrist,  a pinup-biker girl with my name “Combat Barbie” on my upper arm which is soon to be a sleeve, the word “anarchy” inside my lip, the phrase Death By A Thousand Ki$$es on my right thigh, wings which take up most of my back, the phrase “Sporty Spice” on the bottom of my foot and a bandana with my brother’s name on the left side of my ribs.

MI: That’s quite the collection of ink. Who were the artists?
CB: Two out of eight tattoos – my back piece and thigh – were done by Pepe of The Tattoo Shop on 112 in Medford, NY. If you live on Long Island, I highly recommend Pepe! I got the other six tattoos when I was in high school at random tattoo shops and I don’t remember who did them. Let’s just say it was “one of those nights!”

Combat Barbie 50 StuntMI: Why are you drawn to tattoos?
CB: All of my tattoos either have a memory or reason behind them, except one. Tattoos give you freedom of speech. You only live once. I’ve seen some crazy, amazing tattoos, from big to small, to bright with eye catching color! I love how someone can make art out of their body.

MI: How do you respond to all the haters out there?
CB: “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” I’m not too worried about people who judge. I work at a motorcycle shop and ride street bikes. It’s my life style and who I am. If you don’t like it, sucks for you! 😉 I got better things to do like ride and get tatted!

MI: Any advice for new stunt riders?
CB: If you’re learning and practicing any trick – make sure you wear your gear! You can always fix your bike, but not yourself!

Photos courtesy of Combat Barbie

FDA: Contaminated tattoo ink causing infections

TAM Blog

This is why you SHOULD NOT get tattooed at home or by a scratcher.

Thinking about getting inked? Check the bottle first.

The Food and Drug Administration is warning tattoo parlors, their customers and those buying at-home tattoo kits that not all tattoo ink is safe.

Last month, California company White and Blue Lion Inc. recalled inks in in-home tattoo kits after testing confirmed bacterial contamination in unopened bottles.

At least one skin infection has been linked to the company’s products, and FDA officials say they are aware of other reports of infections linked to tattoo inks with similar packaging.

Infections from tattooing are nothing new. Hepatitis, staph infections and even the superbug known as MRSA have been tied to tattoos. Dirty needles and unsanitary environments are often to blame.

But people getting tattoos can get infections in the skin even in the cleanest conditions. The ink can carry bacteria…

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