How do I get started with mini racing?
You've decided that minis are awesome (because they are), and now you want to get started mini racing - fantastic! However, the mini racing rules offer a huge number of possibilities, anything from a 70s-era moped up to a built-to-the-hilt Honda CRF150R or a GP-framed YZ85 two stroke. What's the easiest and cheapest ways to get started mini racing? Here's some guidance on how to get started with minis.
Turn-Key Race Setups
There are a number of easy and inexpensive formulas that are competitive within the series; all of these will get you racing with an absolute minimum of effort or wrenching.
Street 125 with a Grom, Z125 Pro, Kymco K-Pipe 125, SSR Razkull 125, or Benelli TNT 135
The Street 125 class is intended to allow most 125 minibikes sold as street-legal to be immediately competitive. Honda Groms, Kawasaki Z125 Pros, Kymco K-Pipe 125s, SSR Razkull 125s, and Benelli TNT 135s need some safety wiring, a catch can, and removal of street equipment and you're good to go. An aftermarket exhaust is optional, and most suspension work is unnecessary.
Formula Middleweight with the YCF 150 SM
The YCF 150 SM meets all of our technical requirements for the Formula Middleweight class out of the box, sliders and everything, with only some basic safety prep to do before it is ready to go racing. At 150cc, the YCM SM will be competitive from the start in the FMid class. In the Washington/Oregon area, Adam Black with HH Performance is the local YCF dealer.
Formula Middleweight with the Kayo MiniGP MR150
The Kayo MiniGP MR150 is a Honda CRF150F-based GP-style minibike that should be immediately competitive in the Superbike class. For smaller riders or those who prefer a GP-style ride over the supermoto-style configuration of the YCF 150 SM. With a Honda powerplant, plenty of motor and other upgrades are available.
Formula 125, Formula Middleweight, and Open with the Ohvale GP-0
The Ohvale series is another set of turn-key motorcycles that will be competitive with zero or near-zero modification required. Although there are some challenges to running the Ohvales in the endurance race (mainly fuel tank size), our 2019 results show that you can definitely be competitive on them. An Ohvale GP-0 110 can race in Formula 125, GP-0 160 in Superbike, and GP-0 190 in Open. For the sprint/GP races, an Ohvale should be hard to beat in it's class. To purchase or rent an Ohvale GP-0 for a NorthWest Mini Moto race, contact Forza GP.
Competitive Open-Class Setups
For minis racing in the Open endurance class, the most successful solution to date has been the Honda CRF150R, various 85cc two-stroke motards (Honda CR85, Yamaha RM85, Kawasaki KX85, KTM 85 SX). For our tracks, 17" wheels are favored although 12" wheels have had some success. This can be a very expensive build, but thousands of laps have proven this to be a very effective formula for Open.
The Ohvale GP-0 190 has also been competitive in the Open class endurance, but is hampered due to gas tank capacity. In sprint racing, the GP-0 should be extremely successful.
Honda XR100/CRF100 and Supersport
The Honda XR100/CRF100 platform is the most popular formula in past years for the Superstock 125 class. The typical formula is:
Replace the front wheel with a 16" wheel from an XR80
Replace the tires with Bridgestone BT45 tires
Install a BBR or TBoltUSA 120cc kit and a high-flow oil pump (optional - plenty of teams run stock displacement).
Go racing - this is a competitive machine even with stock suspension
Other Popular setups
Kawasaki KX65 on 12" rims (Formula Middleweight)
Yamaha TTR-125 on 17" rims (Formula 125)
Aprilia RS50 (with and without a 75cc overbore)
Various scooters - we've had a wide variety!
Almost anything! We've had an Open-class RM85, TTR-125, SSR pit bike, and KX65 all finish within 5 laps of each other in spots 2-5 at the end of a 6-hour endurance race.
Resources for Building A Mini
If you'd like to build your own racing mini, there are an almost-endless combination of platforms and parts that can lead to endurance and sprint racing success. Below are some common resources for building up a mini racebike:
MiniMob Racing has a huge selection of parts for a variety of racing minis - https://www.minimobracing.com/store/. For insane XR100 builds, these guys have all the Takegawa Superhead +R parts you can afford.
GatorRimz for wheels and tires - https://gatorrimz.com/
Fine Turn Precision out of Tacoma makes custom no-drill front axle sliders and many other custom parts for a variety of minis - https://www.facebook.com/Fineturnprecision/
MadLabs - sliders, brake kits, and more for a variety of minis - https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/MadLabs-1510672099237488/
For the truly dedicated XR100/CRF100 enthusiast, https://japan.webike.net/ has everything under the sun, especially if you can read Japanese.
Read the rules! There's important information in there about bike prep, essential gear, and how to conduct yourself at our races.