Ever see something on the internet that just blows your mind and you physically exclaim “I must do that”? Well that was my instant reaction when I saw a race report a few years back on a M1GP Mini Moto Endurance. At the time, I was living out on the East Coast… So I had to patiently wait until the correct opportunity arose.
Flash forward a few years to present day 2015. I asked a bunch of fellow moto heads if they would be interested in racing this awesome little event. After receiving enough interest, I went out and bought a lightly used TTR125LE, registered the team and assembled the crew.
Ms.Cheeseburger was on board, no hesitation. Having never ridden a mini moto, or been in a race, this was a no brainer. She was on the team, cause Iron Butt status.
The Inhaler took a bit of convincing, he likes sleep, eating, and hooning for shorter periods of time, kinda like a princess. But after much prodding and nagging/ coercion, he too signed up. Having much experience on dirt bikes, this would be right up his ally. He too, had never raced anything.
Lastly our mutual friend Adam jumped on board, he is a seasoned veteran racer. Having taken many top finishes in Supermoto AFM races etc, having his race experience would greatly aid our goon squad.
With these fellow three sickly individuals, we made the bare minimum of four riders to make a team. The level of stoke was rising.
This little turd bike was picked up in Hollister for 900 dollars, I drove down yonder in 100 degree heat spell in a truck with no AC. But mission accomplished, race bike acquired. It was a low hours bike, little to no use. I believe the bike was purchased 2-3 months before the race, I put some cool Bridgestone BT-45’s on it and some adult sized springs, as that is what the internet told me to do, and then the bike sat.
The Journey Begins:
Friday, the night before the race, our goon squad assembled at mi casa to load the gear, prep the bike, and drive down to LA. Yes, that’s correct, prep the bike. We adjusted the valves, shaved the front fender, applied our slick race number, gorilla glued a tail light on and off we went. Oh, and we each rode the little turd bugler around the block all of once. Super tested for durability. The bike had been ran for five minutes since I had purchased it. RACE READY!
After many hours of slightly hoon’n down I-5 Inhaler woke up from a Patty Nap and exclained “Arby’s!”, so Arby’s we did. It was a horrible decision (more on that later) Did a Walmart pit stop as well:
We arrived in Willow Springs at 1am on Friday night… Team Hired Goons slept for 4 and a half hours Friday night, we awoke at 6 am to nibble on the saltiest breakfast I have ever consumed in my life. Between Arby’s and breakfast salt explosion, none of us had working taste buds.
*smacks lips for hours*
Inhaler also took a snooze at the table:
Team Hired Goons arrives at Willow Springs International Raceway somewhere around 7:45am. Young Lee (race cooridinator) directed us towards our pit zone, which we would call home for the next 24+ hours. The team set up our pit in about 20 mins. Easy up wrapped in Tyvek tarp for extra shade, Ghetto Racing! All of the other teams had lavish pit set ups, multiple easy-ups, tables, grills, sound systems, lights, generators, trailers with beds etc etc. So we really just classed up the place.
Racer meeting, tech inspection and all that other pre race jazz was said and done. We had roughly 40 minutes to “practice” Having never looked at the course map, this was gonna be fun! Adam went out first, did his 4-5 laps, then the Inhaler, Ms Cheeseburger and finally myself. We all came back in giggling like small children, the largest grins I have ever seen. This was gonna be a BLAST!
We decided Adam was going to do the Le-Mans start, for the sole reason that the rest of the team was just too damn lazy to run anywhere… As running is an inferior mode of transportation. Well, it was an excellent move on our part, Adam donned his race Tutu (thanks Walmart) and got a decent start from the way way back of the grid. Drummers were drumming, motorcycles were revving, this banana’s adrenaline was a pumpin!
Adam hauls butt!
I’d just bore you with a break down of each stint, hell, I don’t remember half of them. Seeing as we only had 4 members on our Goon squad, we each rode 6 stints, ranging from 1-2.5 hours each. At the beginning of the race, it was just too effing hot. We were lucky if we made it an hour before pitting. But everyone was posting good lap times, so we were totally okay with this. The first 6 hours went off without a hitch, no crashes, lap times stayed consistent, time in the pits was minimal, the grins on our faces just kept getting bigger and bigger. After everyone had done two stints out on the track we just sat there in our ghetto hovel laughing like lunatics. Riding this silly little TTR around a go-kart track was the most fun any of us could remember ever having. Who knew 9 horse power could be so much fun!?
We soon realized that the TTR was having front end issues, it was pogo’ing so hard through the corners, the front tire was only making contact with the ground half the time. (It turned out to be a combination of things… The tire was not seated entirely on the bead, we were running extra hard fork springs, and the oil in the fork was probably OEM being 9 years old… Pogo bike for the win!)
Cheeseburger out there hauling the mail:
I went out on my third stint, ended up following a really quick Grom, setting our team, lap record of a 1:01, and then low siding pretty hard thirty seconds later. Luckily I was wearing a Helite Air Bag Vest. It took the brunt of the impact, but once I had stopped sliding I realized I could not get up. It was like being a little turtle stuck on it’s back. I couldn’t get my footing, and my arms wouldn’t touch the ground. It took a minute to get up, then I couldn’t bend over to pick up the bike! So I ran around the other side of the bike and pulled it up by the handlebar. At least my tail bone didn’t hurt! Lesson, don’t try and keep up the the Groms, the front end just doesn’t have the traction.
Things started to get weird…
The sun set, around the time we all started to do our third stints, fatigue started to set in. Also, this was about the time where we realized that we would have to make multiple runs to the gas station, as we had only brought one 5 gallon gas can… This would eleminate any down time as the night dragged on…
Most of us had already consumed 2-4 Redbulls/ 5 hour energy’s, as sleep was minimal the night before. Before my third stint I drowned a Redbull and half a 5 Hour energy and hoon’d out onto the track. Instantly I got behind a XR100 with a bigbore kit. We had an epic battle for close to an hour and a half. Well, I thought it was epic, we braked so hard into corners I thought the poor bikes were going to sheer in half. But I finally passed him! Only to get behind another TTR! We battled, and battled and slammed the door in each others faces over and over again. Finally, again, I passed him. Then I got behind the Catalyst Reactions Grom. Not exactly sure which of their lady riders I got behind, but we played for a long time as well. Then it donned on me, I had been out on the track for a really long time. I looked up finally and saw Cheeseburger practically throwing a tantrum in the pit board section. Ok, one more lap around and I will pit.
*Insert face plant*
Yes, I lowsided, again. Once rolling into the pits Adam gassed up the bike and ripped out onto the track. “Grant, you have been out on the track for two and a half hours…” Woops?!
That was around 3am. Most of the evening/ morning was just a big blur.
Kinda like the Inahler, so fast he is a blur:
We each finished our 4th stint somehow. The Inhaler and Adam passed out for a few hours, they needed their beauty sleep.
The Morning Sun:
6am came around, we still had six more hours of racing?! Cheeseburger and I had about 45 minutes of sleep the night before, Adam and the Inhaler had “a bit” more. Somehow, between the pogo fork front end, and the complete lack of sleep for two days, Hired Goons was staying consistent in our lap times. Looking back, this is a miracle in itself. We were bouncing between 8th and 6th place for the last 8 or so hours, so this was crunch time! On one of the Inhalers last stints, we woke him up ten minutes before his time to go out. He threw on his leathers, jumped on the bike and I pushed him through the pit area, (as the bikes had to be under foot power only in the pits) he exclaimed in a half delirious half sleep deprived wail “I just woke up!”
*starter clicks, engine screams, and he goes WOT down the back straight*
I’m still not sure if this was the funniest thing I had heard all weekend, or I was dipping into the insane/sleep deprived filth pool. But I had to sit on the ground and laugh for a few seconds as tears rolled down my face.
A few seconds later he was out there trying to beat my lap times:
I finally managed to get some sleepy times from 7:30-9:30am’ish. Banana was real tired:
Finally I was awoken by Adam and the Inhaler. “Hey, Cheeseburger has been out there for about an hour or so, it’s about your time to go. Get dressed”
“Oh, and it’s about 10am, we really only have 2 hours left”
“Awesome!” I exclaimed
“So we were thinking… maybe… you could just do it?”
I snapped back to reality, wait. They want me to do a two hour stint, at the end of the race, in the 100 degree heat? Quickly I glanced up at Adam and Inhaler, they resembled shells of the racers they were the evening before. Adam was hankering for a shower, the Inhaler just didn’t want to ride no more.
“I can try to do the two hours? Just check in with me at an hour or so to see how I feel” I groggily replied as I hopped on the bike.
Well, the next hour or was was too a blur. I did lots of laps, went real real fast. Watched our competitors pit a few times and I thought to myself “It has to be about that 1 hour mark if they are pitting, I am freaking exhausted, have the worst dry mouth ever, and my legs are cramping. I should pit” A few laps later I see the Inhaler and Adam in the grandstands, but instead of asking if I was “ok” (cause let’s face it, none of us are “ok” at this point) Inhaler is up there just waving me on like a mad man. No one is in the pits, no one is in their leathers. I’m gonna die out here.
Somehow, I rocked out with my banana out and pound out even more laps. The front end chatter was getting worse and worse every lap as the track heated up. It was like riding a darned jackhammer through the corners at 30mph. My legs were on the verge of complete failure. The saliva in my mouth had turned to a mucus like substance. Sweat was dripping into my eyes. Make the pain go away! But miraculously, my lap times got faster?! I went from pulling 1:07’s to 1:05’s down to 1:04’s! Zero Fucks Given, but still trying not to crash on the last hour of racing.
Soon there after I started seeing the racers from Japan/Taiwan walk out to the finish line. Their team was pulling the fastest lap times around the track by far. Great riders, fantastic sportsmen to boot. As time dragged on, they started laughing at me as I rounded the corner to the front straight, as all of the visible front end chatter was hilarious to watch. Soon, their laughter turned to cheering?! They were cheering for me! As the riders on the Groms would pass me (as they were pulling sub 1 minute laps) they would all turn around and give me a big thumbs up and a grin. Damn, I must be the laughing stock of the track, excellent… But to be honest, the team of racers from overseas really gave me a second wind. I was so close to calling it quits and pulling into the pits before they showed up and started cheering. If you are reading this, I cannot thank you enough!
Then entire paddock started pouring out onto the race track. The end must be near! Thank Mexican Baby Jesus! I’m gonna live!
All of the sudden there was a metal on metal screech, the bike pitched from one side to another with the rear wheel locked.
“Oh mother of…”
I held on for dear life as the bike went lock to lock three times and eventually came to a skidding stop on the side of the track. I jumped off, looked down and saw that the chain had fallen off the sprocket and jammed in every place possible.
I took off my gloves and threw them into the atmosphere. The corner worker ran up screaming “NOT THE FOOR-TWEANTY BIKE” I couldn’t help to laugh as he tried to push start it. This poor child had sat out in the sun for the entire race, he just wanted to see the hooligan mobile finish the damn race!
Well, we didn’t finish… DNF, two laps from the end of the 24 hour race. It’s hard not to laugh at that.
All in all, this long mini moto race, was by far the most fun I have ever had on a motorcycle. 8+ hours (mostly sleep deprived) pinning it to win it on a 9 horse power bike, with a top speed of 35mph. Today marks 4 days after the race, the DNF smile is still strung across my face. Not only are we headed back for next years race, but we’re going to prep the crap out of our small not so race ready bike. Engine goodies, suspension mods, full super fast race bike exhaust, gotta beat the Groms!
I’d like to congratulate Catalyst Suspension Team, “If it ain’t Grom, I don’t want to be right” They rocked out for 24 hours and took the win!
Joe of 4TheRiders took a good portion of the pictures listed above, you know, the ones that look professional.