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YSR Racing in the Northwest

The little bikes that could and still do

It's a little known secret, but there are a number of riders in Puget Sound who race Yamaha YSR's for fun and pleasure.  While Seattle has yet to accommodate these riders, Portland will, and so on various weekends during the season the trek is made. 

The Yamaha YSR is a 50cc or 80cc two-stroke motorcycle that look like a regular full sized sport bike in a smaller scale. YSR's are raced in parking lots, on go kart tracks and on regular race tracks. YSR Racing often occurs in conjunction with big bike races, go karts or even scooter races in some areas of the country.

YSR racing isn't as high speed as full size racing, but it is an excellent alternative for people who can't afford big bike racing or are not prepared to risk life and limb for the pursuit of a little fun on a motorcycle. The idea of fun outweighs the drive to win at all costs. Most people who race YSR's do it because they love motorcycling and enjoy the rush of competition. Some of the racers have even stepped down from other types of racing to pursue YSR racing. It is not untypical to have big bike racers, former dirt trackers, motocross racers and people who have never raced anything but YSR's all in the same race.

Crashes are not usually serious, due to the relatively slow speeds of the average crash. The average crash on a YSR is a lowside. You see that the seat height is only 36 inches: there isn't far to fall. Racers are required to wear the same level of protective gear as big bike racers (leathers, back protector, helmet, gloves, boots) and this helps prevent injury.

YSR's also provide a semi-safe place to hone up racing skills before stepping up to lightweight GP race bikes like Honda RS125's or Yamaha TZ125's. Many of the current race leaders in the AMA sport bike classes have come from a YSR background. Noted examples are Aaron Yates, John Hopkins, Tommy and Nicky Hayden.

There is no national organization for the sanctioning of YSR races, but the classes follow a general pattern in the U.S. and Canada. Generally, the class structure is as follows: Stock, Supersport, Superbike, and 80GP. Most tracks break that class structure down further having Novice and Expert Classes.

The racers come in all sizes and shapes, with weight not really being as much of a factor as one would think. There are many 200lb plus YSR racers throughout the world. There are many YSR race venues in the world. For example; the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, The Netherlands, England, Greece, Japan, Denmark, and many more. There are about 10 different race organizations across the U.S. at this time. Our club is just one of the newest.

Yamaha Motor Corporation produced the YSR50 for release in the United States from 1987-1992. It is unclear as to what market it was targeted. The only 50cc motorcycle still in production is an Aprilia RS50.

Although Yamaha no longer produces this motorcycle, both OEM and aftermarket parts are still readily available. There are companies who focus on producing parts exclusively for the YSR.

The YSR is the most popular bike for the mini road type of racing, but there are many other options. Common bikes include: � Honda NS50 Water cooled, 17" wheels, 50cc � Honda NSR50 Water cooled, 12" wheels, 50cc � Honda MB5 Air cooled, 18" wheels, 50cc � Aprilia RS50 Water Cooled, 17" wheels, 50cc � Honda XR100 Air Cooled, 4 stroke, big wheels, 100cc

Additionally, it is not uncommon for a typical 80cc dirt bike to be super motarded (stiffer suspension, slick tires, lowered) and run in the 80cc classes.

Where do people typically find YSR's? Most of them are buried deep in your neighbors' garage underneath all the typical junk in there. People bought them because they were cute and seemed harmless. The rode them and after realizing that they were only knee high to that guy down the street in the monster 4x4, they put them in the garage and promptly forgot about them. Most YSR clubs have message centers with classified ads so that race ready bikes can be sold.

What does it take to get a YSR race ready? It depends. If you are building a stock race bike it takes about 3 hours, some patience, an ability to follow directions and some basic parts. All the information can be found online. The YSR communities also have email lists which members are more than willing to help out with setup and troubleshooting.

Check out www.ysrracing.com for more details.

Specs for a YSR: Type 2-stroke, Single Displacement, 49.3cc Starting Kick, Lubrication Autolube, Transmission - 5 speed Overall Length - 62.0", Overall Width - 25.0", Overall Height - 36.6", Wheelbase - 41.5", Seat Height - 25.6", Dry Weight 165lbs

Source of data: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/motorcycles/how-to-roadrace/ http://www.teamcalamari.com

Ron West

Ron West is as local YSR racer living in Puget Sound


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