Flat out and
turn left - Trev has a go on a speedway bike
By, Trevor Hedge - August, 2000
Motorcycle speedway has to be one of the
most spectacular motorcycle sports around. 65 horsepower, extremely
light weight (80kgs), one gear, no brakes, next to no suspension and the
true crazies of motorcycle sport slide these things around at up to 160
How hard is it?
West Australian speedway champion Lee Redmond sat me aboard his 500 so I could find out for myself.
First thoughts - The left peg is a lot further forward than on a conventional motorcycle while the right peg seems to be somewhere out near the back axle! Strange is not a strong enough verb to describe just how weird this felt to me.
Where do I sit? - There is a seat of sorts but it seems to be in the wrong position and definitely not designed for comfort. I realise about now that these bikes are nothing like a normal motorcycle but are made for one thing, and that is to slide sideways, FAST, and to the left.
The big 500cc single cylinder lump is very sensitive to the slightest twitch of the throttle. That said, throttle control was about the most I got the hang of during my two 5 lap stints at the bumpy Moora track.
I must say it was a very strange experience to head straight for a solid wall before tipping in to each turn. If you come off, there is only one way to go and that is to the outside, towards the wall.
It was more of a sense of preservation of Lee’s bike rather than myself that was making me very cautious however.
The bike was geared for Lee's corner entry speeds, which were a lot faster than my 'pussy' efforts, so when entering the same corner at the pitiful speed I was traveling, the engine wasn't really on song and responding like it would when in the 'sweet' part of the rev range.
The slightest touch off line and I was out into the deep and bumpy stuff being rattled about like a rag doll.
Cheap speedway bikes can be had for as little as $3,000 and I left Moora with the idea of actually buying one to try and get the hang of it, but then remembered how unfit I am and thought better of it. If I was a bit fitter I think I would give speedway a go as sliding a motorcycle totally sideways at over 100kph sounds like my type of fun.
Lee started out on dirt bikes, but after trying speedway he never looked back as he reckons it is the best rush he has ever had.
Most of the recent 500 Road Racing GP successes learned the basics of their craft in speedway or dirt track. Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Mick Doohan and Garry McCoy just to name a few.
For spectators it is a fantastic form of motorcycle sport with the crowd able to get close to the action in a relatively comfortable environment. No wonder it is still going strong today.
FREE classifieds - Late Braking News - 2002 New Bike Catalogue
Product News - Wallpaper - Racing - Bike Tests - Discussion