For the past few race seasons I have been getting coaxed into buying a mini. No I don't have a kid thats been begging me, nor do I have a wife or girlfriend trying to learn how to ride. I was getting talked into buying a mini by a couple middle aged men so I could go riding with them, at this event called the F150 4 hour endurance race.......Wow that could have came out better. Ive been told how much fun this series was and being so into supermoto on the big bikes that it was something I had to check out. So this past December I decided to hunt for a cheap mini to do this event and get my foot in the door. I wanted to see if I even liked racing the thing before I went and spent thousands on a bike like some of my friends had. After spending a whopping 20 minutes on craigslist the weekend before christmas I came across an ad for a 2003 crf100. The guy was asking $600 for it and claimed it started on the first kick. I gave him a call, met him at his house an hour later and was now the proud owner of a crf100, after talking him down to $400. Not a bad price, I thought, to try out the endurance series.
Fast forward to April 6th and I all but forgot about doing any work to this bike or for that matter even seeing if it would start for me. After I buzzed it around the block when I purchased it in December I just rolled it in the garage and didnt touch it once. The morning of the race I decided just to roll it in the bed of the truck and figure it all out once I got to the track. Luckily I have really good friends who love to help. I was able to snag a set of used take offs from a friend, had to mess around with the clutch cable a bit and do a bit of grinding to make a brake lever fit. After that little bit of work it was time to see if she would start. Fired up on the third kick and ran a little rough for the first couple minutes but she cleaned out and "purred like a zebra should". For the 4 hour race you need at least one other rider to split racing duties with you so I had my good buddy Mike Poli come and help me dominate the competition on this beastly (stock) crf100. We registered as "Team Zebra" and immediately proceeded to get out for practice. I wasn't in gear yet, as I had been frantically trying to get everything on the bike, so Mike hit the track for practice.
Mike headed out for and the bike was running perfect or at least as perfect as one could expect. The bike was noticeably slower than anyone other out there but that was to be expected because every single other rider was on a 150f or bigger. So needless to say we weren't expecting to be competitive. At that point we both just wanted to see if we could get through the four hour race and if our zebra would make it. After that one practice it was time for the race to begin. I was definitely a little nervous heading out there to start. I never rode this bike before and here I was lining up to do a 4 hour race against much faster bikes and much faster riders. It was going to be interesting for sure. I started in the back, after the flag dropped for us to go all I was trying to do was not get lapped until after the second lap. Weird goal I know but thats just how much faster the guys in the top class were. After about 15 minutes of being on the track I lost the clutch completely and from there on out we were just power shifting the rest of the 3 hours and 45 minutes.
Mike and I would trade off every hour so we could stay fresh. It was surprisingly tiring trying to ride that slow bike fast for so long. The suspension was awful and was bouncing me all over the place, the brakes were almost non existent, the one thing it had going for it were the tires were sticking. At the two hour mark we traded again for fuel and my last hour on the bike. I can honestly say time has never moved so slowly before. It was taking us about a minute a lap. It really felt like an eternity on the bike. Swapped again for the last hour and Mike rode her home for Team Zebra.
We both ended the day really happy we entered, extremely tired and oddly enough extremely happy it was over. While I would (and will) do this event again on that little crf100, doesn't mean it was not terrifying. We would be getting passed like we were standing still, getting passed extremely dirty in corners, and had to deal with riders being extremely aggressive for what we thought was going to be more of a friendly competition. It was still a ton of fun and well worth the money I spent on that little bike! Oh by the way, we ended up taking third in our class!!
Out of three.
The next race in the series is this coming Saturday (May 10th) and if you are anywhere near OVRP in Cuddebackville NY it is well worth going to check out!