Nothing gets moto folks’ blood boiling quite like a little two-stroke premix. It’s an additive that ignites a passionate response, because anyone who has ever ridden—or even just heard—a two-stroke knows that they’re fun, affordable, and easy to maintain. They also have a way of reminding most of us of a time when we were younger, dirt bikes were abundant, and that beautiful, crisp smell of a 125cc screamer’s exhaust hung all around crowded race tracks. And that usually sparks some type of debate about whether two-strokes still have a place on the professional level of motocross. Because ever since the AMA adopted an engine-displacement ratio twenty-some years ago that pretty much doubled the allowed cubic centimeters (cc) to accommodate four-stroke motorcycles, the screamers have become more and more silent.
The rapidly advancing four-strokes of the early millennium went from unique to practically unanimous in the span of a half-dozen years, and the last time a two-stroke won an outdoor national was September 5, 2004, when James Stewart won the Steel City 125 National on a Kawasaki KX125. The win made Stewart the most successful 125cc rider in AMA Motocross history, with 27 wins over the course of three dominant seasons. One week later, Stewart showed up at the Glen Helen finale on a KX250F and absolutely crushed the competition, joking to Cycle News, “If I was riding this thing all year I’d be fat and out of shape!”
A two-stroke hasn’t so much as led an AMA National in either class since.
Despite the lack of attention from OEMs—half of whom have stopped making 125cc motorcycles altogether—two-stroke diehards have held on. Even as the herd dwindled to none on the starting gate for Monster Energy AMA Supercross—and only rare sightings in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross—there was a consistent drumbeat to get more two-strokes on the track. And when the WMX Class was transitioned from the pro ranks to the major amateur events, there was suddenly room at some races for an exhibition class. Two years ago, Glen Helen, long the host of the MTA Two-Stroke Nationals (which replaced their old Four-Stroke Nationals), offered an Open class for smokers, and Sean Collier scored a popular win on a Kawasaki KX500. And then last year, Washougal decided to move their 125 Dream Race from September to the intermission of the pro National. A full gate showed up to compete, including multi-time champion Ivan Tedesco and former factory riders and 125SX winners <span class=