Moped Racing with the USCRA - New England!

jumpsuit steve /

This summer I joined the United States Classic Racing Association, and had the pleasure of competing with my moped in the "Modern 50cc" class. I am offering my experience up here as an example in hopes that anyone sincerely interested in racing their moped, or any vintage bike for that matter, has the information to participate in this opportunity for the upcoming seasons.

Their mission statement is (for) : "The preservation and racing use of historic racing motorcycles, fostering close and competitive racing in a spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie, making classic motorcycle racing accessible to interested enthusiasts, and, most importantly, having fun!"

Current rulebook can be found here or if you join the USCRA group on facebook under the files section.

The USCRA has classes for bikes that range from Pre-1965 50cc all the way through 1990's superbikes.

In order to participate in USCRA events, you must be a member of the American Motorcyclist Association, join as a member of the USCRA (annual fee), and complete their one-time training school for a lifetime racing license. They run the school the evening before each event. Usually lasts a few hours, and this year each race had 5-10 people in the school.

It consisted of a track walk and safety/smarts discussion about how they run their tracks, and some good racing practices.

The circuits they ran this year included the 1.6 mile road course at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH

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Canaan Motor Club in Canaan, NH 1.3 mile road course (also has different configurations for shorter and tighter runs.)

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And also participated in events at New Jersey Motorsports Park, and talk of trying out Thompson Motor Speedway.

The basic breakdown of the smaller displacement classes are 50cc two-stroke / 75cc four stroke max. displacement. then they get chopped up into Classic (pre-1965), Supervintage (pre-1983), and modern (1984-present). in depth class restrictions can be found starting on page 24 of the rulebook (p.15 of the pdf)

All machines must be prepped for the track, and pass a safety inspection before going out. This generally means that you gotta safety wire a bunch of stuff on the bike that could leak or fall off causing a hazard. you can get away with nylocks and RTV in a lot of places, but you gotta make an effort. no road trim or glass or anything like that. and everything has to have a belly pan. number plates too.

I managed to slap my Peugeot RCX/SPX together enough to pass tech and get out for both Canaan and NHMS. Malossi gr1 on malossi cases, polini cp19, ninja g3, bidlaot variator, stock clutch pulley. still have my leftover gearing from when I was running the larger pulley on a long swingarm.

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Canaan is an incredibly fun track. virtually no elevation change, but a combination of flat, camber, and off-camber corners. The scale is so much larger than Kart tracks, so I was actually able to get up to a high top speed regularly, and most of the cornering was high-speed. Tires, suspension, and frame bracing became significantly highlighted concern compared to my experience racing this bike at Cherry Valley.

I only ran warm-ups at NHMS. the track is like a game of Mouse Trap. each turn is kind of like its own obstacle, and you gotta string everything together just right in order to maintain momentum and stay in the game. longer track and lots of elevation change!

I was technically competing against the other bikes in the Modern50 class (ns50r, rieju, and other shifty 50's) but was running head to head with the Supervintage crowd. this was stuff like AR50, RX50, TS50, etc. I played cat and mouse with the NS for a few laps, but he ultimately ran away with it. Overall, I placed 2nd at Canaan.

Most people initially gave me the "good luck, kid!" and a doubtful or confused head-cock until i got on the track. people seemed genuinely into the bike and its performance, coming from a crowd of motorcycle enthusiasts and racers.

The executive director gave me some confidence that there is room for bikes like this in the club, if not just operating under the current classifications, but potentially honoring a class crafted specifically for peds. but i imagine there would really have to be a healthy enough showing of enthusiastic riders. so show up if you want to race.

The track manager at Canaan also expressed interest in hosting events, independently of the USCRA, and/or potential track reconfiguration for a moped class during a USCRA event. He said the track was paid for the day they finished building it, so there is an opportunity to make a day of racing affordable for an interested group. ATTN: MopedGP East organizers looking for a spot!

Overall, my experience has been good so far with the organization, and specifically with bringing a moped to the track. It is indeed an investment with race school and the two annual memberships, but for me who is as poor as the rest of us, I have found it absolutely worth it. weekend events run both days. That is two 15-minute warmups (AM) and a 6-8 lap race per day. If you are only racing 50cc, it is $90 a day. IMHO, it is a waste of my time and money if i don't get to race my bike.

excited to continue development, and y'all got all winter to prep those machines. good luck and hopefully see some more peds out there in the spring!

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