Late last year, the MOron crew participated in yet another 24-hour minibike road race, this time aboard the Benelli TnT135. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, but we got spanked – like bringing a knife to a gunfight spanked. Not surprisingly, the winning team consisted mostly of kids who couldn’t reach my head even with their arms fully outstretched. Surely their power-to-weight ratio helped, but we’d be dumb to think the kids weren’t also very skilled at their craft (and a lack of fear helps, too).
But where does a kid even start to try a mini road race machine? Unlike in Europe, where the opportunities are vast, there aren’t many avenues for a child in the U.S. to get their hands wet with motorcycle racing unless they start motocrossing first. That’s where the United Mini Racing Association (UMRA) comes in. Developed for riders, by riders, the club’s aim is to spread the word about racing little motorcycles, no matter your age or skill level.
While participating in the 2018 24-Hour, we caught up with Ryan O’Neill, Tony Nolley, and Mike Franklin – three of the club’s stalwarts – to get their take on why riding and racing little motorcycles is so fun, and why more people should try it. Try as we might, we couldn’t fit it in with our 24-Hour event coverage, but the conversation was too good to simply leave on the cutting room floor. So here you go. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed doing it.