Article originally appeared in MiniMoto Magazine Issue 1 2004
If you’ve ever raced an event anything like the Elsinore Grand Prix on a big bike, then you understand how exhausting it can be. You’re out on the course for 45 minutes to an hour beating yourself to death trying to make up time while being whipped by saplings and pelted with rocks – it’s brutal. But have you ever tried racing a Grand Prix like that on your pit bike?
Imagine how much more difficult it would be to be that much closer to the ground, with less horsepower, less stability, etc. Flogging a mini around a course like Elsinore is definitely a challenge.
“You just have to really pick your lines because the main line is too rough for little bikes,” said race winner Joel Albrecht of Two Bros., who teamed with Dave Cullinan to dominate the event. “You’ve got to watch out for the holes, so you use a lot of the edges of the track and cross over from one side to the other. Basically, you ride where the big bikes don’t want to.”
The Albrecht/Cullinan team was never really challenged, leading off the start and lapping much of the field.
“We won by quite a bit,” Albrecht said. “The guys who got second (the Miller/Vanderwater team) had a hard time starting their bikes off the dead-engine start, so they were obviously at least the next-fastest team to us, but we got a heck of a head start.
“We ended up going pretty slow in the end because there was an industry team race in with our race, and those guys had to ride double on the last lap. We didn’t want to lap them because we wanted to made them ride double – if we lapped them, they wouldn’t have had to do it. There was one particular team on a Fat Cat that was waving me by on the next-to-last lap, but I wouldn’t lap them. It was fun.”
After the Albrecht/Cullinan team came Miller/Vanderwater, Engle/Terzian (who were riding a trick Sano KTM 65 chassis with a modified XR50 motor in it) and then Austin/Shedarowich on a Two Bros. Suzuki DRZ110.
ELSINORE GRAND PRIX
1) Joel Albrecht and his teammate, Dave Cullinan, dominated the pit bike class at the Elsinore GP. 2) Rolling Advertisement: For sale, $2500. You’d think you’d be more likely to sell a bike that’s up front during the race. 3) Sara Price went fast while her brother Dean was waiting in the pits. She was a frontrunner in the 65cc class, too. 4) Aaron Austin flogged his RM-Z110 to fourth overall with his teammate. 5) There were all types in the team race, including this KLX running a headlight. 6) Dean Price rode strong, although he didn’t fit the XR50 nearly as well as his little sister did. 7) This is what pit bike racing is all about – racing! These guys went at it for laps just like this. 8) The tricked-out XR50 was running conventional forks, although it wasn’t running too close to the front. 9) The Miller/Vanderwater team rode a Sano KTM 65-framed XR50 to second overall.