Racing Mopeds ......
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Thread: Racing Mopeds ......

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Racing Mopeds ......

    Part One:

    I remember back in the late 80’s – early 90’s – when” Bike Magazine” announced the first “Moped Endurance Race”. Naturally, the more insane of us rallied to the call, and we soon had a team put together.

    Initially, the intended race bike was (despite a budget of zero) an FS1E, the notorious moped from Yamaha, reputed to be capable of 50 mph (downhill with the wind behind it). Curiously, they all soon disappeared from the market as the other teams (with the relevant spending power) gobbled them all up. There was always the option of the now infamous “Puch Maxi” – but we couldn’t stand the shame of putting something out there with pedals on it.

    We eventually settled for a Yamaha Passola. Partly because someone’s wife had one they weren’t using, and besides - it was good for a giggle. The flimsy “step-through” was duly presented to the committee, various responsibilities assigned, and while some people wandered off to arrange the logistics for the day, myself and the husband of the donor bike settled down to “butchering” it.

    First up, we ripped the plastics off, and got the drill out. The handle bar arrangement was a simple “T” bar, with one single bolt hole holding it in place. Needless to say, 5 minutes with a hacksaw later, and it was soon shortened by two inches, but unfortunately, that was the bit with the hole in it. Husband to the bike says “How are we going to re-drill that then, both holes have to be dead square”. I replied “Bollox, you hold it, I’ll drill it” – 30 seconds later and it was a perfect job.

    Having lowered the front by two inches, we set about the rear end. The donor bike had an off-set mono shock (you have to remember these were back in the old days, and the bhp was even less than the TW). We got hold of a shock absorber from a Honda 400, and just slapped it on there. This of course raised the back end a tad, but at least the combination saved us the expense of trying to get a pair of clip-on bars on there.

    Meanwhile, we’d managed to get some sponsorship from various places with the required sense of humour, free spark plugs (in exchange for wearing the company stickers), a few quid here and there, so we decided to splash out. There was a company advertising custom built two-stroke expansion chambers for any given model. Had to be done. Although I think they raised an eyebrow at the Yamaha Passola bit - still, in the interests of science, they set to.

    Back at the ranch, we’d managed to source a FS1E carb, which duly got put into service. We didn’t bother jetting it for the bike – hey – they’re both 50cc and Yamaha’s, so what the hell …….

    A week or so later, and we collected the custom exhaust. That thing was a piece of work. Matt black, upswept, and just “mean” looking. They said that tuning it was easy, just cut bits off the end until she’s right. We put it to the bike and started her up, the “crackling” sound taking our minds off the apparent insanity of the rest of the set up. With only two days to go, all that remained was to up the octane of the gas far beyond the 98 standard, and wait for the off – (this particular interlude involved large quantities of beer, and still remains a little hazy).

    Well, we rocked up to the race track the night before – place looked like a go-cart track – but hey, what the hell – it wasn’t as though we’d be making any speed down the straight, it was only 100 yards long. Crawling from our sleeping bags and emerging into the still frost bitten morning, we surveyed the tire wall. At 3 feet high, it looked like it would survive any impact we were likely to put it through, and decided to go to scrutineering early. Funny thing about scrutineering, for one they are completely devoid of a sense of humour that early in the morning, but on the up-side, it gives you plenty of time to re-tweak the bike afterwards before the start.

    Many admiring glances in the pits beforehand – well – OK – just as many people doubled up laughing, but it all counts. I’ll admit this was perhaps the craziest Passola on the planet, but then, they didn’t have to race this thing for the next six hours.

    We spent the next half hour deep in conversation – “You start” – “No, you’re going first” – “Hey, this was your idea” – “Hell, you fell for it” ………….. but eventually, we were out of time, and out on the grid.

    (Cont) ......
    Fred, TWilight and Gerry like this.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Part Two:

    They’d opted for two classes – “conventional” and “step through” – 40 of each – and a simultaneous Le-mans start. Needless to say, it was “joyful chaos”. By the time we’d got to our bikes, we were laughing so hard at some of the antics employed by some of our fellow racers that we hardly noticed our bikes had been trampled in the rush. A couple of the riders weren’t doing so well at that point either, but it was all taken in the spirit of the game ………

    The first few laps were chaos, as every time we’d pass the start line there were still a few people desperately trying to start their bikes. We’d merrily plough straight through the carnage, trying to avoid “static obstacles” (as they subsequently became known as). Eventually, it all levelled out, and became a game of “whack the slow ones out of the way”. Have you ever played “Road Rash” ? - It was like that, but without the nunchucks.

    At some point, another rider went down in front of me, and I hit the anchors - hard. Courtesy of the “recently improved dynamics” of the bike, to wit, the tail being higher than the front, I went straight over the top of the bike and on top of him. Soft landing, though I’ll never forget the look on his face. “Rabbit caught in the headlights” just about sums it up.

    Having uttered such curses as are appropriate at times like this, (I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, it wasn’t pretty), I got back on the still running bike, and suffered the body blows of the inconsiderate gits passing by. (In retrospect, I should have tried zig-zagging – might have dropped one or two).

    Well – three quarters of a lap later – and thanks to that crash, the exhaust had shaken itself so lose the thing was a trip hazard. I wouldn’t have minded if it had simply fallen off in front of everyone else, but by now it was only useful as a bird scarer - and the vultures up my arse were unlikely to be impressed.

    Fed up – I pulled into the tire wall half way down the straight – stuck the stand down, and ripped the thing off the bike. It must have guessed what sort of mood I was in, and came away cleanly. I shoved it into the tire wall, and got back in there - in no mood to take prisoners.

    With absolutely no exhaust on the bike – my lap times reduced by 2 seconds – there was enough of a bend where the exhaust port exited the cylinder head to produce a back “reflection” and keep it all working as it should.

    We came 32nd in class – had a blast – and f****d over (racing) as many as we could along the way. We may have died – but we died with our swords in our hands.

    The moral of this tale ?

    Next time someone tells you that some kind of fancy exhaust will gain you anything – don’t believe it for a moment …………………….
    Fred, Indiana, Dryden-Tdub and 5 others like this.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Xracer's Avatar
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    I remember reading some where the French tune the tits off their peds and race them. Don't think I want to ride an 80mph ped!

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