Braaap! Remember that sound? Do you remember the sweet smell of premix racing fuel; the days when you could be at the track without getting your eardrums blown out, and when roost really didn't hurt all that much? We do, and fortunately so do the folks at Glen Helen Raceway. Yesterday marked the return of a bygone era: the MTA Two-Stroke World Championship presented by FMF. While the name might be a little lofty, the feeling surrounding the event was genuine. Folks dusted off their old two-smokers and scoured the discount racks at their local shops for some premix for what turned out to be an excellent day of racing.
With classes for every age, skill level, and bike size, there was plenty of racing to be had. The track actually ran all the way up Mount St. Helen, and without a single four-stroke out there, it never got too rough or square-edged. In the LA Sleeve Pro Class, there was a great battle between Doug Dubach, Austin Howell, and Mike Sleeter in the first moto. All three riders led at one point, with Howell eventually opening up a lead for the win. However, the overall wound up going to Zip Ty/Husqvarna WORCS racer, Bobby Garrison who came through the pack in the second 30 minute moto to second place behind Tye Hames.
It is interesting to note something about the manufacturer presence at the Two-Stroke World Championship. People who have been around the sport for a while may recall that back in the 1990s, few companies considered race ready four-strokes a viable, or even realistic, approach for the future of motocross. At the time, KTM, Husqvarna, and eventually Yamaha were the only manufacturers to attempt building thumpers that could compete with contemporary two-strokes. Oh, what a difference a decade can make.
Now all of the major motorcycle companies focus the majority of their attention on four-stroke machinery, and while most still produce two-stroke bikes, Suzuki and Kawasaki no longer import them to the United States and Honda has simply stopped producing them all together. So it is a bit ironic that the only major companies still keeping their two-stroke customers happy (Yamaha, KTM, and Husqvarna) are the same companies that first saw four-strokes as the wave of the future.