Had a quick look down the entry list for last weekend’s opening round of the Scott National MX champs, which was run at FatCat Moto Parc, and one of the things that struck me was the full house for the 125 class. Which, whisper it, means a full grid of eighth-litre strokers.
 
Now, some may well see this as a stuck record but if there’s one thing that I believe will keep up the numbers in MX, especially in these challenging fiscal times it is – on cost grounds alone – a healthy two-stroke scene.
 
Now, this isn’t just an excuse for a poke at the four-bangers. The latest thumpers whether 250 or 450 are absolutely awesome machines and the majority of riders who take their sport seriously are going to go the 250F/ 450F route. They are fantastic pieces of kit.
 
But the fact remains, and always will, that the class structures were skewed by the powers that be to ensure that in top class competition, two-strokes were effectively dead ducks. Did anyone truly believe that a 125 (or even a 144) stroker was ever going to be competitive against a 250F – or a 250 popper versus a 450 four-banger? Of course they didn’t.
 
No, it was purely a political coup designed to kill the strokers stone dead. Which it almost did although, pardon me if I enjoy a small smirk here, there are signs that even the FIM believe they came down too hard, too soon on the simple – if a trifle smokey – two-stroke.
 
Anyway, four-strokes rule in the upper echelons, which doesn’t worry me in the slightest. What does worry me is what happens much lower down the foodchain. The four-poppers are not exactly cheap, either to purchase or to fix should you be unlucky enough for the the Big Bang to strike.
 
Now, much as I wish we were all in the 50p (45p) tax bracket the reality is that not everyone who wishes to ride mx can afford to buy a 250/ 450F in the first place, much less budget for a re-build.
 
A two-stroke on the other hand is an inherantly simple design and even when complicated slightly by reed-valves, power-valve and even water-cooling they are still a comparative doddle to work on. The real winner is that even if you are unlucky enough to totally grenade your motor the chances are that it can still be re-built without having to take on a loan the size of the sovereign debt of a small country.
 
A piston, maybe even a barrel should a real disaster befall you, a con-rod kit and a couple of bearings and seals and you have an as-new motor!
 
So, we’ve already established that (unless your name is Matt Moffatt – check-out the results from the Scott Nationals on centre pages!) a stroker isn’t going to win you many Open races. But, it is blindingly obvious that all that is needed is two-stroke only classes so that like can compete with like and we are back in the game. 
 
Which brings us back to that full line-up of 125 strokers last weekend! Remember, these are bikes that our leaders consigned to the scrap bin at the stroke of a pen. Leaving aside the fact that a great many riders actually LIKE racing and maintaining their two-strokes, these are the bikes that, whether purchased new or pre-owned, can boost the overall number of riders actually competing. Not to mention the possibility of attracting new blood into the sport without them having to blow all the family silver in one go.
 
Let me remind you that our lords and masters attempted to make trials go all four-stroke at the same time as MX sold its soul. It was foiled only by the trials manufacturers, all relatively tiny concerns with the exception of Honda-Montesa, who basically ignored the directive and simply continued their merry way, knocking out fabulous two-stroke models. The alternative, basically, was they would go bust. And guess what?
 
By sticking with two-strokes they are all still in business, no-one has been arrested and trials continues to be a healthy sport. If you want to ride a four-stroke in trials that’s absolutely fine. But no-one is forcing you.
 
In MX it is ‘horses for courses’ and there’s plenty of room out on the track and in the race programme for the strokers... as the weekend’s line-up proves.
 
MEANWHILE, as Scottish Six Days Trial time rapidly approaches the importers finally confront the Herculean task ahead of looking after all the competitors riding their make of machine. The support they give to riders these days is huge and I know for a fact that not all riders appreciate their support.
 
You don’t have to go back too many years to a time when it was ‘every man for himself.’ You had to sort out your own fuel, back-up and spares, tyres etc and if you broke down the only person who was going to get you going again was yourself.
 
It is fantastic that the importers now provide the level of service at the event, but riders shouldn’t just take this for granted.
 
You still have to take ultimate responsibility for your bike and yourself. Don’t turn-up on Sunday morning with a wreck expecting the importer to rebuild it for you before scrutineering. Believe me, I see this happen every year...This week editor JD is pleased to see that the strokers are still packing MX grids - before looking ahead to the Scottish...
 
Had a quick look down the entry list for last weekend’s opening round of the Scott National MX champs, which was run at FatCat Moto Parc, and one of the things that struck me was the full house for the 125 class. Which, whisper it, means a full grid of eighth-litre strokers.
 
Now, some may well see this as a stuck record but if there’s one thing that I believe will keep up the numbers in MX, especially in these challenging fiscal times it is – on cost grounds alone – a healthy two-stroke scene.
 
Now, this isn’t just an excuse for a poke at the four-bangers. The latest thumpers whether 250 or 450 are absolutely awesome machines and the majority of riders who take their sport seriously are going to go the 250F/ 450F route. They are fantastic pieces of kit.
 
But the fact remains, and always will, that the class structures were skewed by the powers that be to ensure that in top class competition, two-strokes were effectively dead ducks. Did anyone truly believe that a 125 (or even a 144) stroker was ever going to be competitive against a 250F – or a 250 popper versus a 450 four-banger? Of course they didn’t.
 
No, it was purely a political coup designed to kill the strokers stone dead. Which it almost did although, pardon me if I enjoy a small smirk here, there are signs that even the FIM believe they came down too hard, too soon on the simple – if a trifle smokey – two-stroke.
 
Anyway, four-strokes rule in the upper echelons, which doesn’t worry me in the slightest. What does worry me is what happens much lower down the foodchain. The four-poppers are not exactly cheap, either to purchase or to fix should you be unlucky enough for the the Big Bang to strike.
 
Now, much as I wish we were all in the 50p (45p) tax bracket the reality is that not everyone who wishes to ride mx can afford to buy a 250/ 450F in the first place, much less budget for a re-build.
 
A two-stroke on the other hand is an inherantly simple design and even when complicated slightly by reed-valves, power-valve and even water-cooling they are still a comparative doddle to work on. The real winner is that even if you are unlucky enough to totally grenade your motor the chances are that it can still be re-built without having to take on a loan the size of the sovereign debt of a small country.
 
A piston, maybe even a barrel should a real disaster befall you, a con-rod kit and a couple of bearings and seals and you have an as-new motor!
 
So, we’ve already established that (unless your name is Matt Moffatt – check-out the results from the Scott Nationals on centre pages!) a stroker isn’t going to win you many Open races. But, it is blindingly obvious that all that is needed is two-stroke only classes so that like can compete with like and we are back in the game. 
 
Which brings us back to that full line-up of 125 strokers last weekend! Remember, these are bikes that our leaders consigned to the scrap bin at the stroke of a pen. Leaving aside the fact that a great many riders actually LIKE racing and maintaining their two-strokes, these are the bikes that, whether purchased new or pre-owned, can boost the overall number of riders actually competing. Not to mention the possibility of attracting new blood into the sport without them having to blow all the family silver in one go.
 
Let me remind you that our lords and masters attempted to make trials go all four-stroke at the same time as MX sold its soul. It was foiled only by the trials manufacturers, all relatively tiny concerns with the exception of Honda-Montesa, who basically ignored the directive and simply continued their merry way, knocking out fabulous two-stroke models. The alternative, basically, was they would go bust. And guess what?
 
By sticking with two-strokes they are all still in business, no-one has been arrested and trials continues to be a healthy sport. If you want to ride a four-stroke in trials that’s absolutely fine. But no-one is forcing you.
 
In MX it is ‘horses for courses’ and there’s plenty of room out on the track and in the race programme for the strokers... as the weekend’s line-up proves.
 
MEANWHILE, as Scottish Six Days Trial time rapidly approaches the importers finally confront the Herculean task ahead of looking after all the competitors riding their make of machine. The support they give to riders these days is huge and I know for a fact that not all riders appreciate their support.
 
You don’t have to go back too many years to a time when it was ‘every man for himself.’ You had to sort out your own fuel, back-up and spares, tyres etc and if you broke down the only person who was going to get you going again was yourself.
 
It is fantastic that the importers now provide the level of service at the event, but riders shouldn’t just take this for granted.
 
You still have to take ultimate responsibility for your bike and yourself. Don’t turn-up on Sunday morning with a wreck expecting the importer to rebuild it for you before scrutineering. Believe me, I see this happen every year...