When I first moved to California in 2010, I was dead-set on conquering the rolling hills on any dirt bike I could get my hands on. I quickly found out this would be much more difficult than simply riding my dirt bike out of my garage and off into the sunset like my father recounted from his days of riding in the 70’s. Red sticker, green sticker, spark arrestor, blah blah blah. These terms were completely foreign to me and my motocross riding experience in the Southeast. So I put my off-road riding ambitions on hold and bumped the street riding up as priority. Over the next 5 years I would progress from street squid, to street hooligan, to track day addict, and now a novice club racer. It was time to take up another challenge.
I had met Young Lee at one of our Grand Opening events in Culver City, CA. Young is the owner of M1GP, the popular mini road racing organization down in Southern California. He had his CRF50 on display and I was instantly intrigued as I thought there was no way an adult could pilot one of these things successfully on the kart tracks they participate at and then I saw the photos and the videos. I was sold and made a promise to make a trip back down to do some racing on my unmolested Honda Grom.
The throttle has been completely pinned since the beginning of this year with my first club racing season with the AFM, so I had yet to make good on my promise until a month ago. I decided to not only sign up for a road race with M1GP, but go ahead and dive right into the deep end and race for 24 hours with 6 of my closest NorCal racing friends as teammates. On September 19th and 20th, myself and fellow racing brethren will compete at Willow Springs International Raceway Kart Track in Rosamond, CA for the M1GP 24 Hour Super Endurance Motorcycle Race. This race is considered one of the highlight races on their schedule and this year’s is sure to be a big hit. Our team name: If this is GROM, I don’t want to be right. The pilots: Myself (Gordon Pull from Cycle Gear), Joe Salas (4theriders), Tomas Covinha (4theriders and Catalyst Reaction), Jim Williams (Catalyst Reaction), Andrew Lee (Andrew Lee Racing), Eric Kondo (Eric Kondo Racing), and Todd Chamberlain (24 Hour Endurance Extraordinaire/Wrench). We’re all shaped a little…um… differently, so if nothing else we’ll provide some comic relief for the spectators.
The Grom in stock trim is a great bike, but it quickly shows its flaws when pushed hard. We knew very quickly we’d have to do some modifications in order to make the bike competitive, but also safe. Ground clearance and stock suspension are quick to bite you in the ass if you’re not careful so we immediately ditched the stock springs for some aftermarket fork cartridges and a rear shock courtesy of K-Tech. Bars were swapped out to some racier Pro Taper moto bars and Driven rearsets are on the way as we speak. The bike in it’s current state is fairing pretty well. We’ve tested it a few times at the Stockton Fairgrounds kart track and even managed to get some hardware with it. The race is rapidly approaching and we’re looking forward to the challenge!
There is a lot more to do between now and race time. Be sure to stay tuned for more updates as we go over a detailed build-out on the bike to make it more track worthy.