Mini Moto Racing: Unleashing the Future Stars
If you’ve never experienced the adrenaline-fueled atmosphere of a minimoto race meeting, then you’ve been missing out on the vibrant grassroots of British two-wheeled road racing. Picture riders as young as six, their elbows brushing against each other, pushing the limits to prove they have the potential to become the next Valentino Rossi.
Witnessing such a spectacle is truly unforgettable and leaves an indelible mark on your memory. It instills a sense of confidence that within these young riders lies the promise of future stars honing their skills on small-capacity two-stroke machines.
Minimoto racing isn’t confined to kids alone; the grids boast a diverse mix of ages ranging from six to the energetic 50s. Every participant relishes the thrill of competition, regardless of their battles on the track.
Contrary to media sensationalism, these mini GP bikes, ranging from 39 to 70cc, deliver pure adrenaline rushes, propelling these sleek machines to speeds exceeding 50mph. They are meticulously prepared with the same level of care and precision as any works Grand Prix team.
History of Mini Moto Racing
In 2007, the MiniMoto Racing Association, the UK’s premier minimoto race series organizer, revamped their class structure within the eight-round championship. This modification aimed to foster greater competition across the classes. The anticipation was palpable as the competitors flocked to the South Wales Karting Centre at Llandow on March 31st and April 1st for the first meeting of the season.
The paddock buzzed with excitement as over 160 competitors readied themselves. The winter months of preparation had finally come to an end, and the new season was about to commence. The scent of two-stroke oil lingered in the air as the unmistakable rasp of small-capacity engines filled the atmosphere.
The format closely mirrors that of big bike races. Saturdays are dedicated to practice and qualifying, while Sundays are reserved for warm-ups and race days. The bigger wheel Metrakits, acting as stepping stones between minimotos and genuine grand prix race bikes, compete in two races. Additionally, four races take place for the minimoto classes and sidecars.
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Saturday morning provided racers the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their machines, adjust to new equipment, and learn the intricacies of the track. For newcomers to “The British” Championship, it was a chance to dispel any lingering winter rust or blow away the cobwebs before the serious business of qualifying began.
Even during the practice sessions, it was evident that the level of competition would be fiercer than ever. A strong local presence added to the excitement, and as expected, the pace picked up rapidly on the slowly warming track, basking in the last rays of March sunshine.
The rivalry between Team Racetech, Havoc Racing, and Minimoto Racing race teams was reignited. Familiar battles between old adversaries permeated all the classes, creating an atmosphere charged with anticipation. Riders left their mark by setting remarkably close times during qualifying, just before rain interrupted the proceedings and brought the day to a close.
Following a brief warm-up on Sunday for each class, the day’s racing commenced.
Moto Mini Race Ranking
The Junior Production A class, catering to riders aged nine to 13 and weighing under 36kg, brought together some old rivalries. Bradley Ray emerged as the standout performer, sweeping all four races. Wayne Ryan secured a well-deserved second place overall, while Ben Bailey claimed a creditable third spot.
In the Junior Cadets class, showcasing 4.2hp machines and riders aged six to 13 weighing 36kg and over, Josh Daley displayed a dominant performance, leaving the field behind and accumulating a maximum 100 points. Sam Cherry continued his impressive weekend with a solid second-place finish, while George Powell secured third.
The seniors’ classes are renowned for their fiercely contested battles, often resulting in thrilling and hard-fought encounters among full grids.
The Senior Production B class, featuring production spec machines and riders aged 14 and above weighing 75kg and over, kicked off with non-stop action from start to finish. Corner after corner, positions swapped, and riders attempted daring moves, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, into the final corner.
After four frenetic races, Dave Perry from Team Racetech RT2 emerged as the victor, with three wins and a third-place finish. Last year’s champion, Chris Martin, now racing for Havoc Racing, secured second place, while his teammate Lee Sweetland claimed third.
The Senior Production A class, boasting a strong field and riders aged 14 and above weighing between 60kg and 75kg, delivered depth and breathtaking racing. Phil Scott, representing Racetech, put on a commendable display, winning all races with a well-deserved clean sweep. Karl Raper fought hard and clinched an overall second place, while Steven Cook took home third.
The Senior Production Lights class witnessed a dominant performance from Danny Kent, reinforcing his status as a rider destined for greatness. Kent claimed victory in all four races, leaving his competitors in his wake. Mike Corderoy secured four second-place finishes, while Matthew Stainer and Phil Canessa shared the points for third place.
The level of riders at the Moto Mini tournament
In the British Aircooled A class, Kent continued his winning streak, triumphing in all four races. Luke Shelley demonstrated his form by finishing second, and Gary Hopewell secured third, further validating the importance of consistency in securing podium positions.
The Aircooled B class witnessed a one-two for the Fast Forward Racing team. Neil Harrison carried his exceptional form from the winter, securing three wins and a second-place finish, with teammate John Pattison finishing second overall. Darren Norton claimed third place, adding to the excitement of the competition.
The Senior 4.2 A class witnessed a dominant performance from Greg James, securing a clean sweep of wins. Richard Ogilvie claimed second place, with Joe Stevenson finishing third overall.
In the Senior 4.2 B class, Ian Develin started the races with unmatched intensity, securing first place overall. Bernie Hook and Stuart Latham tied on points for second and third positions.
The Supers Class, featuring anything-goes open racing in the up to 50cc category, delivered fast-paced, heart-stopping action from start to finish. With six laps of tire-melting excitement, precision and control were of utmost importance.
In the Supers A class, Racetech dominated the proceedings, with Phil Scott cementing a remarkable weekend by clinching the first-place finish overall. Dan Underwood showcased his skills with a strong second-place finish, while Luke Holness secured third.
The Supers B class was equally enthralling, with positions constantly changing. Danny Hedger emerged as the overall winner, displaying incredible skill and determination. Chris Martin secured second place, with Nick Densley finishing third.
In the Supers Lights class, Danny Kent proved his versatility, emerging victorious once again. Mike Corderoy finished second overall, closely followed by Scott Redding in third.
The F1 Sidecars witnessed a commanding performance from Mike Mantell and Louise Hutt, securing wins in all races. Gordon Martlew and Phil Mapplebeck claimed second place, while Mick and Daniel Leigh finished third.
The F2 Sidecars showcased an impressive display by Mick Williams and Sue Morrell, securing a clean sweep of wins. Jon Carver finished second, and Geoff Ribchester and young Yanna O’Neil made an impressive debut, securing third place.
The 4T Sidecars had Richard Guest and passenger Marc Coyles as the sole participants, earning valuable points for the season ahead.
The FAB Racing-run Mini GP50 and 70cc British Championships serve as a high-quality stepping stone between minimotos and mainstream big-wheeled race championships, featuring incredible riding skills and talent.
The racing is divided into three classes: Mini GP50, Mini GP70, and Mini GP-Fun 70’s. The 50cc class consists of three 10-lap races, the 70cc class features 12 laps, and the Fun70 class covers 10 laps, designed for adult riders.
Bradley Ray dominated the Mini GP50 class, winning all three races with unmatched skill. Kyle Ryde displayed consistent and tenacious riding, securing second place overall. Harry Comber’s two third-place finishes and a fourth-place finish were enough to secure third place, edging out Aaron Climpson.
The Mini GP70 class witnessed an intense battle between Fraser Rogers and James Flitcroft in races two and three, with mere fractions of a second separating the two in each race. Lap after lap, they raced side by side, showcasing exceptional control and skill.
Unfortunately, James Flitcroft’s Did Not Finish (DNF) in the first race left him tied for third place overall with Luke Helm. Jason Douglas secured a highly commendable second place overall, but it was Fraser Rogers who emerged as the deserving first-place finisher. Rogers showcased exceptional talent, securing two wins and a second-place finish, leaving no doubt about his potential for the future.
The Mini GP-Fun70 class lived up to its name, providing thrills and spills for all. As the checkered flag dropped, Robert Keys claimed the top spot, with Stephan Castille finishing second overall and Paul Baxter securing third.
Overall, the minimoto race meeting at the South Wales Karting Centre in Llandow showcased the true essence of British two-wheeled road racing. From young riders as young as six to passionate competitors in their 50s, the event brought together a diverse mix of participants.
With bikes ranging from 39cc to 70cc, the track witnessed the exhilarating display of skill, speed, and precision that rivalled even the works GP teams. The MiniMoto Racing Association’s modified class structure added to the intensity of the competition, ensuring a memorable start to the 2007 racing season.
With anticipation and excitement in the air, the riders left no stone unturned in their pursuit of victory, leaving a lasting impression on all who witnessed this grassroots racing spectacle.