If it aint broke, fix it 'til it is.

Moped Madness

Moped madness is a 3h endurance race run by BMCRC, it was first brought to my attention by a thread on essexbikers.co.uk. I posted it on bikechatforums and very quickly our team was formed. Myself, 'G' (club racer) and Korn (admin of BCF and a veteran trackdayer). Bring it on!

The fact we didn't have a bike didn't phase us. I was thinking we'd get something really really cheap, and really ratty off eBay. G seemed to have much bigger ideas, musing over RS50s with 80cc barrels and daytona 675 fairings. Then one day it became apparent we had a bike. G bought an '03 Gilera DNA 125 for £200. It was a category B write off, it had bent forks, it was perfect.

A single cylinder 4 stroke making a claimed 15bhp weighing in at 125kg.

First thing G and I did was whip the engine and forks out. (G also fractured his shoulder a few days earlier). The bike seemed in fairly good condition, it started, it ran, I even rode it up the road. Albeit the clocks and headlight unit fell off when I braked. We also started it with no air filter/box or exhaust. It sounded surprisingly mean!

The engine then went off to our 3rd member Korn who ported and polished the engine and removed the base gasket which upped compression by 16%. He also had a habit of cleaning things, as you can see it's very shiny.

A weekend was set aside for reassembly. I could only make Sunday due to work commitments, but on the saturday a straight set of forks were aquired and fitted, clipons were placed below the top yoke and various things were cleaned.

When I arrived on the Sunday morning we feverishly set about re-fitting the engine which went in with minimal fuss and even started! That was one major hurdle cleared. Korn also fitted the Continental ContiTwist Sport tyres I bought with nothing more than a set of tyres levers and some washing up liquid. I was suitably impressed. We managed a quick test ride but the violently loud exhaust made it a very swift one.

We decided to meet again on the wednesday night (the race is now 3 days away and we've not properly ridden the bike). Wednesday was largely spent fiddling with roller weights and clutch springs. One major thing that saturday's test showed up was that the clutch was not properly working. When we took it apart we found that the clutch springs had stretched to about 130%. This was the result of us running the engine without the clutch bell on. Luckily clutch springs come in sets. So we just fitted a different set.

We managed to each get a decent ride on the bike that night, it went fairly well, and at the end of it the spark plug was a perfect chocolate colour. Previously we also had a massive flat spot about 6k rpm. Korn found that it was caused by a section of the stock air filter. We had used it as a link pipe to fit a comedy huge car air filter. We took it off and fitted a small k&n and all was good.

We were able to test the bike more vigourously due to the fact we had fitted an arrow race can originally from a Yamaha YZF600 thundercat. Korn welded the can onto the stock DNA link pipe, and smoothed the inside beautifully conically with exhaust sealant. Lovely attention to detail that lad. The bike now had a freer flowing Pictured right is the new exhaust, and k&n air filter.

Saturday rolled around shockingly quickly. The minor detail of our fork seals being knackered we pushed to the back of our minds and we set our focus on the race.

This is taken on the morning of the race before scrutineering. We knew we had blown forkseals and no front mudguard. We went along anyway. The bike was given a cursory glance along with our riding kit and all scrutineering cards were signed with no problems. No turning back now!

We each went out for our share of the 30 minutes practise time. Korn celebrated the start of practise by lighting up a big burnout on the 'grid'. G up to this point had stuck by the fact he would only complete the mandatory 3 laps of the race due to being worried about injuring his shoulder. We each did our 10 minutes with no problems. The track was still very wet at this point but our bike was surprisingly fast. Whilst I was on the track I was only passed by 1 bike and lapped countless others. We were in with a good chance!

The other BCF team 'Innit' challenged our bike to a drag race in the pits. Our bike roared away to an easy win. Another confidence booster.



The start was 'Le mans' style with a team member holding the bike at the side of the track and the rider running across the track, getting on, starting the bike and riding off. G held the bike whilst I ran. Our spot on the 'grid' was chosen by picking a numbered ball from a sack. I picked 13. Great.

It wasn't the best start, but it wasn't bad, I was quickly trawling through the pack grabbing back place after place. After a few laps I rounded paddock bend to be confronted with 2 marshalls waving their arms. There was a rider down. He wasn't moving.

Red flags came out and we were herded back to the pits. We took this opportunity for a sneaky refuel. The rider was scooped up and we were let back out onto the track. Each rider completed about 20 minutes riding in each stint. Our signal for the rider to come in was to wave the red R6 mudguard we intended to fit to the 'ped over the fence. Some had pitboards, we didn't.

The racing was fierce but all went pretty much to plan. We were consistantly passed by riders on Gilera runner 125s but we were confident we were doing well! G came in to swap at one point only to find the bike peeing coolant onto the ground in a big cloud of steam. We tightened up a hose, got an OK from a marshall and hurried back out.

From left to right: I get into my uber aerodynamic race crouch. (He still overtakes me). G dices with Luke from Team Innit. Korn at the devils elbow. Luke of Team Innit gets aquainted with a cone.

Team BCF (Scooter) Racing came a very respectable 9th out of 46 competitors. Team Innit came in in an also very respectable 14th. Both teams will be fiercely competing again next year.

The winning team consisted of Steve Mercer a top MRO racer, Sam Bishop an R6 cup and 600 club rider and Bob Farnham, a very well respected engine tuner. All on a 125cc (apparently) Gilera Runner.

An amazing day, my first competitive race. My first ride on a moped. Can't wait for next year.

(Click here to view all photos from event)

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