MX Sports has announced the Supplemental Rules and Classes for the 2012 Red Bull AMA Amateur National Championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch. Click HERE to read them. The biggest news is a new Two-Stroke (16+) class, which will pit fast riders on two-strokes for the first time in a long time. The class is open for A, B, or C riders, all you have to do is qualify, ride a two-stroke, and be older than 16 (and the Schoolboy 1 (12-16) class, still dominated by two-strokes, remains for younger riders remains).
Finally, two-strokes are back! Or are they? Our staff weighs in. Be sure to add your thoughts n the comments section below.
I've been told this a million times: If you think you're the only one who is not crazy, well, you're the crazy one. So call me crazy. I keep marching out a theory that no one seems to agree with, but I keep banging the drum. Here goes:
If you're an OEM, and you're building four-stroke street bikes, ATVs, lawnmowers, UTVs, boats, leaf blowers and everything else, why would you want to invest R&D resources in a highly-competitive racing field, where you have to update products every year, just to sell a few thousand MX bikes? Doesn't it make much better financial sense from an engineering standpoint to keep two-stroke MX bikes down and keep the four-strokes in business? I fear that deep, deep inside, companies that make MX bikes don't want to see two strokes make a comeback.
No one agrees with me on this theory. And I have no sources to back this. But still, did you know the original YZ400M works bike was based on taking a cylinder off of a four-cylinder, four-stroke roadrace bike? Did you know all of the 450 MX bike engines have spawned 450 four-stroke ATVs?
With my nutball theory in mind, I don't think this new class will change the big picture for the sport. Sorry, until the OEMs want to allow two-strokes back to the top, nothing is going to change to make it happen.
But that's the big picture. In the small picture of this one class, at one race, it will be awesome. Two-strokes sound awesome, and since everyone loves 'em, you'll see nothing but smiles once these motos take off.
But, unlike so many of the other classes at Loretta's, I don't think this one shows the way of the future.
Run for the hills, the two-strokes are coming back! Well back to Loretta Lynn’s anyways and for me, this is a cool thing. It’s good to give the people who still mix their gas somewhere to race. There’s no denying that in recent years, people are rediscovering their love for the ring-a-dingers and now they have their own little championship to contest and everything.
In this day and age of people putting out press releases touting their Vet World Titles won at Glen Helen, a new amateur class that is two-stroke only will definitely get the “professional” amateur title hunters out for blood. I can see these classes being very popular among the vets of the world, no doubt about it.
With KTM the only OEM still very active in R&D on their two-strokes, maybe the starting line becomes a shade bit too much orange and gets the other OEM’s thinking and maybe putting out a 250 two-stroke or updating the one they have. Competition is always good, it’s what gets the blood pumping and new ideas coming out.
I’m also looking forward to seeing what people drag out of their sheds and what’s the oldest bike there and how cherry some of them are. I can see it now, some old pro shows up in the A class on a mint Kawasaki KX500 and smokes the field which then gets every local Craigslist’s overrun with people searching for the mighty 500’s.
And then maybe Jeff Stanton comes back to try and reclaim that one title that always escaped him and then maybe his old mechanic Dan Betley goes into storage and dusts off Jeff’s 1994 CR500 and then maybe that gets Mike Larocco seething (the last 500cc MX champion and therefore defending champion) and he decides to line up to make sure he remains the top 500cc rider in the country and then maybe David Thorpe sees this and he gets mad and then…
BRING BACK THE 500’s NOW!!!!!!!
If you think there are a lot of squids at your local motocross track these days, think back to when two-strokes dominated the dirt. It seemed like every ten minutes someone was high-siding in a gentle turn, or looping out on a double right out of a corner. If you don’t remember those days, you’ll just have to trust me. I was after all, a big part of that carnage (not my fault, I rode a ‘97 CR250), and the only reason I could afford to keep riding was because I worked in a motorcycle shop and got a deal on the parts I was breaking every weekend.
Then, along came the four-stroke. With its abundant and predictable power, the squid factor decreased rapidly, almost overnight, and it seemed like just about everyone I knew that was making the jump to four-strokes was getting fast all of a sudden. I swam against the current for as long as I could, but when I found myself bailing off my KX250 in midair after a particularly nasty loop out at Riverfront Park in Nor-Cal (it’s never a good idea to ride “one more lap”), I decided it was time to add some strokes to my life.
Since making the switch to four-strokes, I don’t get tired as quickly, my lap times are much lower and I don’t crash nearly as often, although the guys I ride with might find that last one hard to believe. Here’s my point: For motocross, supercross and arenacross types of racing, the four-stroke engine configuration is superior. It delivers easier to use, predictable power, and unless the rules governing displacement change, it will always be the king of horsepower in its respective class.
When the rules were written defining CC limits of two-stroke and four-strokes, four-stroke technology was nowhere near what it was today, and when the manufacturers (namely Yamaha) decided to start taking advantage of the rule, the four-bangers had an advantage, almost right out of the gate. The only way I see two-strokes making a major comeback is if the AMA drastically changes the rules at the pro level to give two-strokes the same CC advantage that four-strokes currently enjoy. For example, allowing 250 two-strokes to race with four-stroke 250s. With the amount of research and development the manufacturers currently have tied up in their current bikes however, major rule changes like this on the pro scene are highly unlikely. Don’t be sad two-stroke lovers, you’ve still got nostalgia and woods racing, and now, you at least have a brand new class at Loretta Lynn’s!