¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
8/19/19 8:34 a.m.

I'm always scheming about inexpensive ways to go motorcycle racing again, and our local Hare Scramble series is cheap and has races basically every third weekend from spring through fall.  My plan would be to pick up a 125-250cc 2-stroke and have at it, with the KDX200 probably being my ideal bike choice.  I already have all the safety gear left over from racing RallyMoto.

Anybody race in these things?  What do I need to know other than "go fast, don't hit trees" if I want to get started?

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/19/19 9:22 a.m.

This whole end of the sport seems super accessible. I looked into it a while ago and there is a whole "middle pack" that races with each other and has fun and doesn't worry too much about the fact that the fast guys are super fast. There weren't very many events by me so that sort of snuffed my enthusiasim, also hitting trees. I watched a few videos of the fast guys moving thorough tight woods and was terrified. 

I think you should do it and report back so we all know more than we do today. 

Cooter
Cooter UltraDork
8/19/19 2:19 p.m.

I used to race HS in AMA District 17 back in HS (High School)  

I loved it.  Depending on the course and length of the race, it can be quite a workout.   Pace yourself.  Being young, I would go all out from the start, and beat myself up, while there was an old timer on a Husqvarna who would steadily turn the same lap times every lap, and always end up near the top of the standings.  I was not nearly so consistent.  

I would suggest going to a few of your local races and see what you are up against.  We had a bunch of uphills and downhills that were pretty treacherous, and some of the creek crossings would become nearly impassible after a couple laps of 100+ riders went though.    Make sure your googles don't fog up, as you are going to be sitting for a while in these bottlenecks, waiting for your chance to pick a line though the obstacle.  You will following another rider or riders, so choose wisely; if they fall, you are probably going to have to run over their bike, or you will fall, and get run over, yourself.   The bad spots are easy to find- they are where the most spectators will hang out.  (Keep this in mind while racing, as well)

Our races had full Le Mans starts, or dead engine starts with you standing in front of your bike facing it while holding onto the handlebars, so it is pretty important that your bike starts easily.    This isn't as big of a deal in these days of the "magic button", but ring dings still foul plugs, and I don't know if the little KDX is still kick start or not.  All classes started at the same time (displacement wise), but many times the A riders would leave in an earlier wave.

We ran for either an hour or two, and had a tag on our handlebars that was punched by course workers at every checkpoint.  This is how the laps were tallied.



Call your district office or race organizer, and ask questions.  The first thing I was asked was if I had cut down my handlebars.  What??  I can't remember the measurement now, but I do remember borrowing a pipe cutter to take off a few inches from the bars on my IT175.  

And trees are no joke.   One life lesson I learned from HS (Hare Scrambles) was "If you look at the tree, you will hit the tree"  Target fixation is a real thing when you have an open class bike bearing down on you in a fast single track section.  I still use that lesson to this day.


Any other questions, let me know.   Although my experience is decades old.



 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
8/19/19 2:29 p.m.

In reply to Cooter :

Thanks for the detailed post!  Looks like our local events are 2 hours, and I've already learned the magnetic capabilities of trees from mountain biking and stage rally so hopefully that would translate well.  Attending an event before I attempt to really get into it is a good idea, I should do that and reassess- based on the dualsport rides I've done around here, rocks, roots, trees, and mud will probably be the main things on the menu.

Cooter
Cooter UltraDork
8/19/19 2:36 p.m.

The bonus is that they are actually quite fun to watch, according to my family and friends who came out to watch me c̶r̶a̶s̶h̶  race.

bearmtnmartin
bearmtnmartin SuperDork
8/19/19 3:24 p.m.

I raced hare scrambles for years. I plan to get back to it now that I can be an old timer and start at the front. Nothing like threading your way through fifty rookies all trying and failing to climb the same muddy rooty hill to tire you out. Here on the west coast they are extremely difficult and strenuous events, so be sure your cardio is up to it. And learn to hop a ledge or a log before you try a race. I think a KDX is still the perfect bike for it though. I raced for years on a converted KX250 with a big bore kit (still have it) and I went fast but it was a lot more effort than the little KDXs

lotusseven7
lotusseven7 Reader
8/19/19 8:41 p.m.

Safety wire everything, lots of silicone on all electrical connections, larger than stock fuel tank(IMS), install handguards NOT bark busters, spare levers, spare shifter, spare plugs, brake snake, outerwear pre-filter cover on air filter, gripper seat cover, drill seat foam, roll-off goggles and a whole bunch of other little things that come up while prepping the bike. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
8/19/19 9:25 p.m.

Have you thought about trying an enduro mtn bike race?  Since you already have a bike?  There is one at Glen Park in Stroudsburg on Sept 8.  I'll be in WV watching the World Cup event, but it's a great venue.  Especially if you haven't done one before.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
8/20/19 5:42 a.m.

In reply to Ian F :

Also a neat idea- if you don't think my weak little 26er Santa Cruz will fold in half I'll try it!

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/20/19 5:45 a.m.

In reply to lotusseven7 :

I had to google a brake snake. What a nifty piece of specialized gear. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
8/20/19 8:08 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

I doubt it will.  For the most part, the trails at Glen Park aren't crazy-rough.  Just likely steeper than what you may be used to. But given your rally and moto experience, I don't think any of it would seem extreme to you.  

imgon
imgon HalfDork
8/25/19 6:49 p.m.

I used to ride HS in New England and my recollection of the courses was the event organizers would fly over the site in a helicopter and choose a route based on places that looked impassable and then run us through there twice. I ran a KDX200 and then an RMX250, both were good bikes  and I was never a good enough rider to extract their full capabilities. The courses were challenging and mostly fun. Like others have mentioned some.of the hills and water obstacles can be brutal, when spectators suggest a route wait for someone else to try it, it is likely  trap and they will have fun watching you struggle through it. If you are trying to be competitive fo watch a few races and see which class has riders that are about the same caliber rider or age as you.  There were cc classes for the younger riders and then over xx years for.the older people,  like over 30, over 50 etc.  I was in my late 20's when I was racing and many of the older guys would whip my butt, I hadn't figured out slow.and steady gets you to the finish line quicker.than fly and crash. As long as.you don't trash the bike it is a fairly inexpensive racing habit and definitely great exercise. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
8/26/19 5:38 a.m.

In reply to Ian F :

Well, I decided to push it as hard as I could at Nox this weekend to see if the bike and myself were in any shape to do that event, and now the rear linkage has some play in it and one of the front brake pads ejected itself- I feel fine though so I'll see how bad the brake issue is and probably just live with the linkage thing if I'm feeling up to it.

I also failed to make it out to spectate the HS race that was only about 90min away this weekend, I'll have to catch the next one.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
8/26/19 7:25 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Nox is fun and can be a good place to get aerobic training (when it's not busy), but for tech it's not quite to enduro levels.  If you can do a loop over at Ralph Stover, that is a bit more like Glen Park in places. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
8/26/19 7:46 a.m.

In reply to Ian F :

Understood- I'm concerned about the bike holding up given that a single full boogie run of the South Park loop appears to have done some damage.

Suprf1y
Suprf1y UltimaDork
8/26/19 8:22 a.m.

I run hare scrambles in A class, races from 1.5 to 6 hrs long.

People love their KDX200's and they're a good trail bike but not a good choice for racing. Even if you can find a decent one (they haven't been sold in almost 15 years), they are heavy with suspension that is poorly balanced and seriously dated even 20 years ago. I owned two of them and and even won a hare scramble series on one, but it was a really hard bike to ride fast and tired me out quickly. I instantly got much faster (and happier) when I bought a modern bike, and that was almost 10 years ago.

A FAR better choice would be a 06+ YZ125 (or 250 if you can handle the power). The 06+ 125's are shorter and lighter than any other full size bike, which makes them great in the woods, they have a tame motor, and the best suspension in the business.

Most important to me when running a hare scramble is to pick a speed and run it. Know your capability, stay within it, and concentrate on running a smooth, consistent lap. It pays off when near the end of the race you still have energy and you're not making costly mistakes. Every race I get passed by (usually younger) riders ripping past me, screaming wide open, who are beat by the 1 hour mark.

In the last six hour it rained the night before and the course was really slick at the start. By the end of lap one I was in last place - out of every class. Everybody was flying by me, mostly balls to the wall and mostly sideways. I clicked up a gear and took my time knowing that the course would tack up after the first hour and saved my energy for that.  I finished second out of almost 100 bikes.

 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
8/26/19 9:00 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

That was an issue with the older Santa Cruz bikes - they tend to go through pivot bearings.  Fortunately, they are fairly easy to replace and I believe service kits are available from Santa Cruz.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
8/27/19 8:35 a.m.

Hmm... this might be right up your alley:

Pegs2Pedals

paranoid_android
paranoid_android UberDork
9/6/19 5:09 p.m.

Any updates on two wheeled fun?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
9/6/19 9:02 p.m.

In reply to paranoid_android :

No, beat my legs up too much doing house stuff so I've just been doing some road and gravel riding lately- maybe I'll look at racing a MTB enduro again once the floors are finished.

Sk1dmark
Sk1dmark New Reader
9/17/19 11:29 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

I've run an enduro once and it's an absolute blast. I get demolished at things like cyclocross because my stamina isn't as good as those road guys but technical mtb is where I've always been comfy. It's more intense than enduro, but if you haven't gone before I would higly recommend heading over to Blue Mountain and trying out downhill. It's the most fun I've ever had on two wheels

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