Winter for mopeds usually means a nice spot in the garage until Spring, but not in California. Here in Los Angeles, we're ramping up the madness at a dizzying pace. For one, the Los Angeles Latebirds are throwing their second annual rally at the end of March. I personally can't wait. Last year I tried to go on the slow ride on my stock Garelli (31mph max), and was so slow that I got to the starting point too late. So this year should be way different. In fact, I'm actually trying to get some of my extra peds going fast enough for the Latebirds to lend out to out of town friends. At this rate though, I'll be lucky if I have enough for myself, My girlfriend (Margaret), and my friend Al, who is coming out from Chicago, to ride.
SOOO, that's at the end of March (details to be announced shortly), but then, a week later, The Polini Cup starts. For those of you who don't know what this is, it's set to be a moped race league. It's going to take place over the course of a couple months this spring and is at an actual race track in Northern California. Pretty much as soon as this was announced, last November, it seems like it's all people can talk about. There isn't even a prize that I'm aware of. People are just that hungry to have the "fastest moped" bragging rights. I know at least six people from Los Angeles alone that will be competing. Here's a rundown of the competitors so far. I'm going to try to be careful not to spoil any of the tricks they have up their sleeves, so forgive me if some of the info is sketchy.
The Choke/ Latebirds/ Black Widows riders include:
Nick Freightus (sp?)
Nick will be riding his modified "Mopedtard." (A "motard" is a modified, street legal dirtbike... thus the "mopedtard" is a dirt bike frame with Tomos moped engine on it.)
The Latebird and "Swarm" publisher is building a bike based on Shaw's Arciero from what I gather. (See pics of the Arciero below.)
Tommy "Freebird" or "Latebird" Erst
All eyes are on Tommy on this one. Famous for his 70mph Magnum build, he's got some things to prove on the track after his drag race defeat at Gender Bender to Elliott of The Creatures. Despite that loss though, people seem to still see him as the one to beat. Just look at this recent ebay auction to see what I mean.
(Sorry, you'll have to copy and paste, as I don't know how to link on here yet)
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=150322159131 scroll down and read the product description
Tommy will be riding a 70cc Honda Hobbit with one particular modification (Something to note: Tommy's bike was WAY faster than Elliott's. Elliott just had better acceleration on account of his bike having a variator.) According to Tommy though, there are two people from LA that racers should be wary of before him. I'm assuming he meant these next two.
Oh man. If you don't know, look him and his bikes up. This is the guy to watch... or rather, Le Monster is the bike to watch. I'd put money on this guy if I could. He's got the experience and know how. I've heard a saying that it's 15% bike and 85% rider though, so anything could happen.
Owner and proprietor of Choke Motorcycle Shop here in Los Angeles, Jeff is a feared competitor on the racetrack. He's an awesome mechanic, and from what I've heard, he's an equally awesome rider. I've heard Nick (Jung) call the Derbi that Jeff will be racing the "most intense moped" that he's ever ridden.
Woolly Bully Mike
Last but definitely not least is my good buddy and fellow gang member, Mike. He's in the process of making his Morini powered Sebring into a 90cc monster. He's hoping what it will lack in acceleration (due to it's relatively heavy frame), it will make up for in top speed and handling. I'll be rooting for this guy, and if they allow pit teams, I might even crew for him. Anyway I can help at least...
Ok well that's it for Los Angeles racers (at least that I know of.) I guess today's post wasn't so much about MY moped madness, but rather, the general madness in the air these days. Check back here often for updates, and I'll see you at the races (AND rally.)
I almost forgot: For more info on the Polini Cup / Moped racing go to: