Pocketbikes w/ Sidecars? Look Out World!
Mini Sidecar Track Day @ Willow Springs Kart Track
Get the Flash Player to see this player.I was speaking with Marcelo Oliveira over at East Coast Minimoto about acquiring a carbon fiber pocketbike for MO's test and review and a few other highly illegal schemes we had in mind (involving moving Brinks trucks and plastic explosives) when he says, "Hey, Ebass go check out this link (http://pocketbike.com/sidecars) It's got video clips of these nuts who race pocketbikes with sidecars. You're gonna love it"!
Rruhhhh??? My ears went up like a dog that just heard the refrigerator door open."You've gotta be kidding right"? He wasn't kidding, and from the moment I first set eyes on them, I knew that these absurd creations were the province and dominion of the few, the proud, the MOrons. I simply MUST ride one! And so through a series of calls and emails it came to pass that we were able to arrange a Willow Springs Kart Track rendezvous, with Dan and Suzanne of West Coast Mini Sidecars. The whole gang was there, Fonzie, Sean, myself and even Ashley, who traveled across the Pacific Ocean and several time zones to attend this most MOronic of events.
Fonzie and I got there early and after watching Dan and Suzanne lap the circuit with grace and élan, we saddled up and with a helpful shove from the experts, were on our way. I drove first which is sort of a misnomer, since the "driver" does little more than manage the throttle and braking while the monkey abuses the sh*t out of them by either climbing over their back and laying on top of them to turn right, or yanking on handles cinched on over their leathers while hanging off the sidecar to turn left. The handlebars don't do squat. It's all about the monkey, Baby!
A few tentative laps later, we decided to switch positions and lo and behold, a mini-sidecar racing phenom was born! The laws of physics dictate that if you wanna go fast around a turn on one of these things, you gotta get as much weight as far to the inside as possible to keep the bike from just flipping over at 35 mph. My 210 lbs of ballast provided about a 25% increase over Fonzie's skin and bones, and being born lacking the self-preservation gene enabled me to hang off near horizontally until my helmet was practically scraping the pavement. This led to vastly decreased lap times and some views of the world that I will not soon forget.
It was sort of like being a fly on Valentino Rossi's toe slider. With our newfound speed, we were soon able to hang near Dan and Suzanne. What a blast! Waiter, get me a doggie bag, I'm taking mine home!
About an hour into the festivities, Sean and Ashley showed-up. Sean had never driven or monkeyed on a sidecar before, but Ashley had some prior experience as a monkey on full-sized racing hacks. Both Sean and Ashley have motorcycle roadracing championships to their credit, so we knew we were in for some trouble.Sure enough, after a couple of awkward laps, Fonzie & I found ourselves being passed by our bosses. Dan and Suzanne were mildly impressed, but didn't feel too threatened by Sean & Ashley's speed.
After a bit of pondering, Sean said "I think I could go much faster solo, because I'd only lose time in left turns, but gain serious speed everywhere else on the track. Dan said he didn't think it could be done effectively and Sean replied "Wanna Bet". What followed can only be appreciated through the miracle of video. Suffice to say Sean lapped Dan and Suzanne about every 3rd lap. After a while, Dan and his wife pulled-in and just stood around watching Sean abuse the hell out of and generally ride their second sidecar far beyond its limits.
We didn't think he'd ever stop and feared we'd lose the oportunity to do anymore riding, but Sean suddenly ejected himself mid-corner and went rolling across the track.We thought it was an accident, but turns out the Executive Editor had simply over-heated the little sidecar. He decided to bail-out when it started to puke boiling water all over his left thigh. Moral of the story? If you have a neat toy and you desire to keep it neat, don't let an aggressive 220Lb pro racer ride it.
|Technical specs provided by West Coast Mini Sidecars|
|Engine:||Polini 40cc factory prepared 12 hp, 2 stroke-racing engine, water-cooled, pull start.|
|Carburetor:||Delorto PHBG 15|
|Brakes:||Disc front and rear, cable activated.|
|Tires:||Front - 90/6.5 - R6.5 Tubeless Radial racing slicks|
Rear - 1.10/50 - R6.5 Tubeless Radial racing slicks
Side - 90/6.5 - R6.5Tubeless Radial racing slicks
|Dimensions:||Total height - 22 inches|
Seat height - 15 inches
Inside sidecar dimensions - 25 inches long, 14 inches wide.
Wheelbase - Front to rear 29 inches.
|Models:||6.2 (Air cooled) in single color paint - $3,099.00 MSRP|
Super class / Open class (water cooled), single color paint - $3,799.00 MSRP
Super class/Open class (water cooled), custom paint (as above) - $3,999.00 MSRP