Moped racing is back in California!

In 2013 we should organize one big rally/race event in Sacramento area with all the West Coast moped racers from San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, etc… and from other states for those who want to make the drive.

Tomahawk race moped peugeot 103 RCX 50cc single variator photographed by Hilary Andrew (The Gaskettes moped gang).

Woolly Bullies moped gang represented!

First I want thank Neil the organizer, the motorized bicycles racers, all the moped riders and spectators (locals or from LA) who came to support the race event April 7th 2012 at Grange’ tack in Victorville. Thanks to Melvin and Edison for cooking those delicious hotdogs and burgers. It was a good turn out and everybody had a blast, on and off the track.

Lots of people are already talking about bringing their fast or stock moped for the next race or just hang out on the track June 2nd.  Tommy Erst fast moped racer retired after the polini cup might even come next time to race one of my bikes, stoked if his schedule allows it! Brian Warrington moped racer (Latebirds gang) wants to bring his fast peugeot 103. Some moped riders from Orange County are pumped and already working on their kitted mopeds to be ready in 2 months.  We might also see more female moped racers.

STOCK TOMOS CLASS WHY NOT?

Also, I was talking to people in the pit and it’d be nice one day to have a stock parts only tomos class, no performance parts, to compete not with your bank account but your riding skills and maybe just a little bit of porting allowed and stock pipe modification to please the tuners. I guess every model would allowed even with A35 engine with reed may have a slight advantage. A55 racers could prove them wrong 🙂 Maybe it could already happen in June if enough people show up and get it the mix with the slow class or mid range class (to be determined in the morning practice session). We could make a special prize for the Tomos sub category winner. It would be so much fun elbow to elbow with at least 10 Tomos on the track. I’ve heard the Tomos chassis handles pretty good too. The problem is most Tomos on the streets already swapped their stock pipe for a performance pipe right away. Because of that my buddy Melvin recuperated lots of stock pipe brand new, so we could try to provide some missing pipes for the race. So Tomos onwers and racers, get your bike ready and come play with us next June 2nd at the same track!

What a fun day! I haven’t felt that kind of energy on a track since the moped 2010 polini cup (Northern California). I think it’s important to keep moped racing alive for our community and the moped culture in general. If it’s in good spirit, it brings people together, creates some excitement, helps develop better moped parts, and attracts new people.

PHOTO SLIDESHOW:

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It felt good meeting new moped people and catching up with old friends I haven’t seen for while, being too busy building bikes and no time to go on moped rides anymore. Special thanks to Honest Mike from “Scoot TV Show” (youtube channel) who drove from Los Angeles 1h30 with his Honda 250cc h20 scooter (75mph) to get some coverage. Check out his 2nd episode on youtube soon, wait the end of  his videos for the moped division.

Mike just posted a video on his other “2Digit Riderz” channel. Looks awesome man… Thx!

Special thanks to my buddy Shaw a moped guru with 20 years of experience and legend in the community. I hope he comes back in June with a racer riding one of his fast bikes. He showed up to watch the races with his stock Mbk BMX av10 50cc engine 45mph, the only one in the US. Motobecane only made less than 30 in the 80’s, organized one race with a couple of those bikes in the US and that bike stayed in the country as a prize for the American kid who won the race at the time. Shaw got it years later trading a bike with the kid’s dad. Cool story uhh! That bike is for sale by the way but only for collectors ready to spend $3000, with Shaw’s signature for free 🙂

The lesson I’ve learned from this weekend is that racing is not just about winning or building the fastest moped with the biggest crazy monster engine that’s going to beat every bikes, discouraging people, and probably blow up before the end of the race. Plus riding up front alone is not fun at all.

The most important is to have fun with your friends on the track elbow to elbow with somehow mopeds equal in power and chassis equipment, but also fun in the pit sharing your passion for mopeds. The key is to build a fast but safe bike with a reliable engine to compete all day and the rest of the season with your friends. Stockish bikes were doing fine too compensating with really good riding skills. Practice on the track is the key to become a better racer. If you have a monster engine but spend most of your time repairing in the pit, you never progress and end up quitting not enjoying racing.

More photos, videos and details coming soon… but here are the first videos:

VIDEO 1

This is a morning heat race in the mid range class. I’m riding my peugeot 103 RCX (fast class) just to have fun with my moped buddies and bring some on board footage. Chris Hernandez from Woolly Bullies is riding my moby av10 50cc, Tyler is riding a Honda Hobbit, rider from Riverside with a Puch maxi, local riders Ryan on a Honda Urban Express and Curtis on a Garelli. I got off the track early to save my engine for the fast class heat and afternoon races. I’m taking off the start lane slow due to clutch shoes that need to be serviced or a spark plug ignition problem at low rpm.

VIDEO 2

I won the morning heat race motorized bicycle/moped fast class. The fastest e-bikes in the straight weren’t there yet. I knew my bike was fast so I didn’t give 100%. I wanted to check out my competition first, other bikes strengths and weaknesses. That’s usually more what you do in the practice sessions. Some high level moped racers even skip practice to save their engine’s full power for the race. Some even turn off their engine soon after the race and push the bike back to the pit. The heat races are actually important and determine your position on the start lane for the official race in the afternoon. You can also put a little bit a psychological  pressure on the other racers and make them doubt in the afternoon. In racing, every little thing counts 😉

I’m competing here with my peugeot 103 rcx 50cc h20 moped single variator + launch lever against motorized bicycles Harbor Freight 200cc 4t dual variated and e-bikes. No Morini 50cc h20 12 hp engines this time.

55 degrees Celsius = 130 degrees Fahrenheit ideal water temperature reading at full power.

VIDEO 3

This is it! Afternoon official race mid range class. Neil let me participate with my Peugeot 103 rcx (fast class) to play with the other mopeds and get some good on boar footage. I think Chris Hernandez (LA) finished 3rd with my white motobecane av10 50cc #191 behind the winner an old green “piston bike” and 2nd e-bike I think.  Tyler (Orange County) yellow hobbit #199 was doing good but had some carburetor float problem in the straight and couldn’t finish the race. Ryan Mayer a local moped and dirt bike rider with the Honda Urban Express #167 showed amazing riding skills sliding with his skinny tires.  Rider from Riverside rocked a white puch maxi with license plate and even lights on sometimes! Jake Martinez (Orange County) had some mechanical problem all day with his awesome blue Puch magnum top tank, bike a little heavy and with bad weight distribution for the race track, he’ll be back with a better moped next time.  I gotta say, there’s something special about moped/bicycle racing in America, the bikes, the racers, the outfits, the riding style. It looks like a fun video game. Enjoy the race!

VIDEO 4 (Short video because my camera went out of battery)

I won the fast class moped/motorized bicycle official race. I’m racing with peugeot 103 RCX 50cc h20 single variator against the fastest bicycles 200cc 4T dual variated (they didn’t seem as fast as last race in Nov 2011), and the electric bikes even faster than the last time. The orange e-bike rider with 2 cameras on the helmet was the fastest top speed bike of the day and blasted me easy in the straight. I was getting 55 mph top speed vs the e-bike 65+ mhp. But I would catch up at the end of the straight with less weight, better  brakes and engine braking power. I was also a little faster in the twisty, e-bikes seem to be very heavy and need to adjust the power with electronic controllers for smoother acceleration off the turns. They seem to brake slower due to their weight and no braking engine forces.

No excuse but it was my second race in a roll coming off the mid range class and I was getting a little tired and my engine too. At mid race, I was starting to feel the pressure. The fast orange e-bike was getting better in the twisty and slowly catching up on me 4 turns behind but his super boosted electric motor heated up and burnt. Once they become reliable with a better cooling system and adjust the crazy torque in the turns those e-bikes are going to be hard to beat and fun to compete against for any fast moped.

BONUS ARTICLE:

The same weekend across the Atlantic the 1st moped race of the 2012 season was taking place in northern France. My friend Remi master tuner brought 2 race bikes. One of his pilote 50 years old Chi King broke his leg last year. He recruted a new young pilote Antoine who comes from the 50cc motorcycle racing world. That was more a test race and his first time on a moped 50cc single variator + launch lever. Thanks to his good riding experience and the power of Remi’s bike he was able to win a round and placed 3rd overall. Well done guys! He’s shooting for  the 2012 season title, good luck to him and Remi’s team. This is the highest level of moped racing and it’s become tougher every year with people coming with big guns. Believe or not Remi’s has the smallest budget and recuperates old vintage parts here and there that he brings back to life. Other racers kinda make fun of him cause his bikes don’t use modern high tech parts or don’t look shiny but he wins races with his skills and experience, haha…

He’s riding a Bidalot RS prototype moped with 50cc G3 Bidalot engine 28mm carb 18hp restricted on purpose at 14,500 rpm for reliability. 14,500 rpm (some reach 15 to 16,000 rpm). Those “fast class” bikes don’t look much like mopeds anymore because they evolved over 30 years of racing. Most of them use Bidalot custom aluminum frames, real adjustable 32mm hydraulic forks, wide magnesium wheels, front and rear brakes, and full motorcycle fairing. But they use motobecane 50cc moped engine technology with single variator + launch lever, with huge intake cases like Bidalot G3 or custom made, some use small stock motobecane Av10 cases + 50cc h20 kits + 19 carb and still get 15hp out of it.

Here are some pics of Remi the mechanic and his 2 race bikes, left Relica tubular light steel frame, right Bidalot RS aluminum frame:

The vintage 20 years old Bidalot 50cc G3 engine he rebuilt for the Bidalot RS bike just before the race:

Here’s Antoine the new pilote in the middle with 3rd place trophy and his RS bike #48.

 

VIDEOS :

Bidalot RS on board footage of the 4th round, it’s fast. Notice at the end of the video Antoine following Remi’s instruction to turn off the engine soon after he exists the track to push the bike back to the pit and save the engine parts. The less the engine runs the better the performance, his bikes only run on the track and for the races, I don’t think they even do the practice sessions. His rebuilt engines after each race start for the first time only once they get to the race event.

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From outside the track:

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8 comments

  1. electricbiker

    You moped guys really blended into the still evolving bike racing community, friendllest bunch out there! Loved #175? vid, it was interesting to note that the rider really was hanging back, mostly just checking out the competition.

    We promise to try to be faster at every event and make it worthwhile for your finest to race amongst us. Keep those excellent fast an’ beautiful builds, along with the racing vids a coming.

    Great to meet and race with you guys, Will (aka SoSauty) #114.

    • tomahawktuning

      Hi Will,

      I was riding the fast moped 50cc black and green #174. I probably met you in the pit. Thanks so much for welcoming the moped racers to your event. I think we blend right in and add some different and interesting engine technology. There’s a lot to learn from each other. It’s just a matter of time before the bicycle racers catch up on some of the fastest mopeds. The e-bikes are actually the fastest on the track right now. They just need to work on reliability and cooling system, and get better in the turns or break faster, they’re carrying a lot of weight and have no engine braking forces. Can’t wait to be back in June, we may even build a motorized bicycle.

  2. Neil

    Hi Chris.
    I really liked how you summed up the new Motosport of motorized bicycle racing!

    ******************************************************************************************************
    “The lesson I’ve learned from this weekend is that racing is not just about winning or building the fastest moped with the biggest crazy monster engine that’s going to beat every bikes, discouraging people, and probably blow up before the end of the race. Plus riding up front alone is not fun at all.”

    ******************************************************************************************************
    Here’s to many more races with you “Mopeders” joining in on the fun.

    Next race is back at Grange Motor Circuit on Saturday June 2nd.

    Thanks
    Neil aka SoCal Motor Bicycle Racing

    • tomahawktuning

      Thx Neil.

      Good job once again. I really had a good time.

      I’m looking forward to the next race with even more bicycles and moped racers.

      We’re gonna make this event grow bigger every year.

      Christophe

  3. Graham

    AH! No gloves, tennie shoes and why the hell is everyone hot-footing the turns?

    So awesome to see moped racing alive and well, so terrifying to see the sketchy gear and riding practices. Please tell those guys to show up with the right equipment. I agree that full leathers at 30 mph is kinda silly, but the gloves and boots thing is just stupid. There are so few moped racers out there, I want to see them alive and racing!

    • tomahawktuning

      I kinda like no gloves and tennis shoes, I got some respect for those guys and looks rad! But yeah I would never do it even at 30 mph I’m a pussy! Safety first 🙂

      Here’s an answer to your question. A private message from local moped and dirt bike rider Ryan racing with the Honda Urban Express:

      “I felt slower in the corners on the urban than at the latebirds rally when i was riding my qt. I was more confortable with the qt and was knee dragging and simultanily breaking both the tires loose in the corners, though i wasn’t meaning to break them loose. I only got to ride the urban the day before the race and wasn’t totally confortable with the bike. I didn’t know when the front tire would break loose so I weight shifted more to the rear and foot draged instead of hanging my knee out like i did on my qt. It is kinda fun sliding the rear but deffenetly slower. I need some leathers to get my knee down without fear of taking off my knee cap.”

  4. honestmike

    Gotta confess that my Vid footage was mostly Free Riding… hence the lax gear.
    Had a blast out there & I didn’t even ride!!! It was just awsome docummenting this day.
    Hope to have a GUT RIDER Race in the future… for dudes 225lbs+

    -Honest™

    • tomahawktuning

      Thx for covering the event Mike!

      See you next time at the same track June 2nd.

      225lbs+ class sounds good, find some dudes who want to race. We’ll make a special GUT RIDER trophy!

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