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Four Stroke Dirtbikes: The New Reality? Going For Broke?

by Charles Owens on 08/13/2012

We hear this scenario way to often. People getting priced out of this sport is reality. Some of these people are very talented, and are faster and more dedicated than the competition. Where are they? They can’t afford the rebuild and maintenance cost’s associated with racing a Four Stroke at the professional (or Semi) level.

The following article was written by Kevin Cameron over at Cycle World 

Imagine a little piece titled “Affording Your New Four-Stroke Motocross Bike.” It would cover such topics as being born a Saudi prince or maybe a yachtsman, techniques for quickly acquiring large amounts of other people’s money, such as fraud, bank robbery, etc., and non-violent financing techniques of the kind used for years by Team Obsolete’s Robert Lannucci, who has said he never spent a dime of his own money on racing.

It would also include a cheerful explanation of how we got into this mess: “Back in the beginning, the idea of four-stroke MX machines sounded hot to everyone, because at that time, our ideas about four-stroke MXer’s had been conditioned by Honda’s many super-durable XLs—the bikes we bought for our kids and kept up at the lake, which now, 25 years later, are still starting and running like trains every summer without so much as an oil change.

“How little we knew! When the new MXer’s arrived, we loved our first rides—the grunt, the sound, the revs. But then came the day when someone (was it Dad, or was it Junior?) didn’t get the valve clearance exactly right or the adjusters tight or something. Anyway, the way the dealer told it, the valve was hitting the seat pretty hard. Then, a valve seat ring must have come loose. After a while, it got kicked up on the edge of its counterbore and held the valve open. And then the piston beat on it pretty good, wrecking the piston, rod, cylinder, head, valves, cam—well, it wrecked everything. The charge at the bottom of the usual ‘get running’ work order was $3500, give or take a few good lunches.

“Dad was a little quiet when he saw that bill, but, well, the family that races together, stays together. Then it happened again. I’m a sophomore in college now, and I’ve forgotten all about motocross because an accounting degree is hard work. Dad said college would save us a bunch of money over motocross. That was after he’d stopped shouting and ranting that, “Who did we think he was, Earl Hayden or something?” Anyway, it sure was fun while it lasted.”