I was wondering what your thoughts were on the matter of the 125/250F class. A 250F is a lot more powerful motorcycle than a 125cc two-stroke. I think it’s totally ridiculous to let these bikes ride together and call it fair. But hey, life isn’t so why can’t we make our sport fair?I love the magazine and I was just wondering what you guys thought on this issue. You always have very good words of wisdom.
MikeMike,There are a lot of issues to be considered on the 125cc two-stroke vs. 250cc four-stroke issue. The rules allowing four-strokes to have a higher displacement go back many years with the AMA. In fact, back to a time when a four-stroke of any size had little chance of beating an equal rider on a two-stroke. Even when Husqvarna won a world championship on a four-stroke, the bike was so radical and exotic that any normal rider would have hated it. So it is understandable that none of the factories were very concerned about the rule.Then Husaberg built the 501 short-stroke motor, and it started to turn heads in European motocross. You may think that we have it bad in this country, but the European racing community feels more pressure to have clean and politically correct racing machinery. I think in the end, whether the rule is fair or not, most of the manufacturers feel the cleaner running four-strokes have more of a future. The feeling is that two-strokes would probably be regulated out of existence in the future, so what is the big deal if the buying public kills them a bit early with their wallets?Our own crystal ball isn’t that clear about the end of two-strokes. And certainly in the near term they are still alive and hopefully kicking. Many are hoping that there will be a backlash to the sound output and expense of rebuilding thumpers, and that riders will return to two-strokes. We don’t foresee a mass exodus to two-strokes, but riders who appreciate a good deal will keep two-strokes close to their heart.If we had to say what was “fair” given current four-stroke technology, it would probably make sense to allow 300cc two-strokes race against 450s, and 175 or 200cc two-strokes racing against four-stroke 250s. We say 200cc because the KTM 200 SX we tested in 2004 made almost exactly the same power as the best 250cc four-strokes all the way through the powerband. But I just don’t see that happening, because I don’t think the manufacturers have enough faith in the two-stroke market for motocross.We do see 125s as a great learning tool for riders just out of the 85cc classes, and we don’t want to see it go away completely. One thing that we would like to see happen at the local level is a return of a 125cc class for two-strokes only. If you and your friends have a group of 125cc lovers who want to race, approach your promoter as a group. In the early days of racing five guys made a class. Promoters are not in business to turn away money. If you attract a group of 15 or 20 riders, I can’t see any local promoter turning you down. How do you think there got to be a +25, +30 and +40 class at every track? Money talks to promoters. With the good prices that new and used 125s are going for, a 125cc two-stroke class could be a great entry-level, modest-budget approach to racing.Karel Kramer
Senior Editor, Dirt Rider magazine