Taking J.A. Prestwich board tracking in 2020.
Who’s mad enough to build a brand-new board tracker in the current decade? The answer to that question is Dave Southall, an absolute madman of an electrical engineer who likes to build custom motorcycles in his spare time. He loved the look of old American board trackers, but didn’t love how pricy they can be. No worries, he decided he’d just build one himself and put a bit of a spin on it.
J.A. Prestwich engines weren't typically seen in board trackers back in the day, but that’s at least partially why Southall decided that he’d quite like to see a JAP board tracker in the 2010s. Like anyone would do, he started hunting around all his usual sources for parts, including eBay. That’s when, completely by surprise, he found a crate-fresh JAP engine from 1935.
Granted, that engine was originally agricultural in nature, and likely intended for a rotovator. Still, it worked perfectly well for Southall’s purposes. He got to work building it up to look exactly how he wanted, including sculpting that fuel tank using a mold based on his thigh to get the correct curve up top like he wanted. Hey, it’s all about making the right shapes work together, isn’t it? Why not use every single tool you have in your toolbox?
Shockingly, this build that he calls the Shillington JAP is completely road-legal. Also, I’m confident that you’ll probably never see a builder prouder to talk about how he’s just built what is possibly the most uncomfortable saddle ever in a video. I believe him, though. It looks nicely made, but dreadfully painful to ride.
Southall is no stranger to absolutely bonkers builds, either. When two wheels are simply one too many, you can always reach for this monowheel he built a few years back.
“Brakes are definitely an issue too — if your braking system effectively locks the inner frame to the outer ring when applied, you will roll completely around with the outer ring, known as gerbiling. Best to avoid if possible,” Southall wrote in his instructions to replicate his monowheel build. Sound advice for any build, really.