Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski finished a career-best fourth overall at the recent Sumter National Enduro in Wedgefield, South Carolina, putting himself in good position as the 10-round series gets underway with its 2019 campaign. Before the race, we spoke with Witkowski and his Beta USA factory mechanic, Jamison Gryder, to get the inside scoop on his 300 RR and how they set the bike up for the tight woods of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series.
Witkowski refers to himself as a “smooth” rider and he likes to take lines that compliment his style. He sets his bike up so the power delivery is smooth and the handling is nice and predictable. Witkowski and Gryder tested with gearing a week before the series opener and eventually settled on a 14-tooth front and 50-tooth rear combination for the Sumter race. The sprockets are stock Beta items, while the chain is made by Regina.
“Last year we ran a 49-tooth on the rear and now we’re at 50 or 51 on the rear with a 14-tooth front,” Witkowski said. “I try to ride a little farther back on the bike in the sand just to keep the front of the bike light, and here in Sumter, we are using a 14/50. For a hard-packed track, we will go to a 14/51 to give it a little more out of the corners.”
As far as the suspension, the RRs come with a Sachs 48mm closed-cartridge fork with anodized sliders, while the rear shock is a newly redesigned ZF Sachs shock with a more compact 46mm piston. The new shock is about a half-pound lighter than last year’s model. The Beta USA team does all their suspension work in-house, and Witkowski likes to run his suspension on the soft side.
“I tend to run it a bit soft,” Witkowski said. “For GNCC last year, we went a lot stiffer, but we soften it up for enduro.”
As far as handlebar and controls, the bar is a Renthal 999, which are perfect for Mike’s short stature and he likes them rolled back. The ARC levers are designed to break away in the event of a crash. Gryder bolts Enduro Engineering hand guards onto the bar, and BRP rubber-mounted triple clamps help to eliminate some of the vibration. Witkowski uses a G2 throttle tube with ergonomic cam system. He tends to lug his bike in a higher gear and prefers a smooth power delivery.
“Power-wise, I run the engine pretty much stock, but I like to run the power valve in to tame it down a little because I don’t like it to rip out of my arms,” Witkowski said. “The Beta has a smooth motor and the 300 is even smoother than the 250 because it has more bottom-end, so it’s good for the enduros.”
“We have a guy who does porting and polishing on the cylinder, but besides that, that’s all we do to the engine,” Gryder said.
The clutch is all stock with a Rekluse clutch cover. According to Gryder, Witkowski is relatively easy on clutches due to his smooth style. “The only thing he really tears up on the motorcycle is graphics and plastics,” Gryder mentioned.
The exhaust is an FMF Factory Fatty with a 2.1 silencer. As far as running gear, Mike runs In-Tech rotors front and rear, and the rear is solid. “We run stock pads on the bikes with a heat shield on the rear,” Gryder said.
Additional items on Witkowski’s bike include stock radiators with Bulletproof Designs radiator guards, IMS footpegs, a P3 skid plate, P3 rotor guard, Bulletproof Designs sharkfin, and a stock brake pedal with an Enduro Engineering brake tip on it for more sturdiness.