Have you got a son, daughter or child of non-specific gender? Are you looking for a way to get them into bike racing? If so, first of all, have you really thought it through? Because chances are, they’re not going to become MotoGP champion and pay you back all the cash (not to mention the time) you’ve spunked away on their racing over the years. But if you want to give them the opportunity to have a crack at the coolest and most exciting sport on earth, there are plenty of ways to get them on two wheels. In the UK, kids can race bikes from the age of six (and many do). If you want them to stand half a chance of ever being any good, the sooner they start, the better. So, in no particular order, here are five great ways to get the rug-rats racing bikes…
This is how loads of today’s top-level bike racers started out and it’s as good a way now as any because it’s dead easy, and relatively cheap to do. That’s why it’s still one of the most popular forms of bike racing for kids. MX tracks usually charge between £20 and £30 (for kids) for a day’s worth of riding. And there are loads of them. A lot of them have a specific kids track too, so they’ll get plenty of time on the bike. For the last 40 years, the Yamaha PW50 has been the go-to ‘My First MX Bike’. Still to this day, you could do a lot worse. The ‘Bay is top-heavy with P- Dubs so if you can’t find one for less than a grand, you aren’t trying hard enough. They’re only £1,599 brand new from Yamaha. The best schoolboy MX championship for your kiddies, is probably your local one, particularly when they’re starting out. You don’t need to travel the length and breadth of the country to learn the basics. If they look as though they are taking to it like a duck to the proverbial though, you’ll always be able to move up to a bigger, faster championship. Before you know it, you’ll be watching the little bastard start his (or her) first British Championship round.
British Mini Bike Championship
This doesn’t have to be just for the young kids. This is bike racing for kids of all ages (i.e. adults). Why should the little’uns have all the fun? The BMB is a series run for Supermoto style mini bikes (pit bikes) of varying engine capacities. There are classes for seven to ten year olds (on 90cc bikes), nine to fourteen year olds (140/150cc bikes) and twelve to fifteen (on 190cc bikes). There are also mini Supermoto classes for 140cc, 160cc and open (up to 200cc) pit bikes. A reasonably competitive bike can be picked up for a grand or so, making it another relatively cheap one to have a go at. Although the entries are a little bit steeper than motocross. Mini bike racing is always really close so it’s a good way to learn a bit of race craft. It also gives the kids that have only ever had a go at MX a chance to get used to the way rubber grips on tarmac (as opposed to dirt), on a bike that feels fairly natural to them. The Stock 140, 160 and Open classes also welcome adults too. What a great way for mum and dad to really get involved with the kids racing!
FAB-Racing Minimoto Championship
Like the British Mini Bike Championship, the FAB-Racing series has a whole bunch of classes. There are championships for kids of all ages and bikes of all sizes… well not of all sizes. Although there is a pit bike class, FAB-Racing is more focused on minimotos. But there is the option there to move up to the slightly bigger and slightly faster Metrakits or pit bikes when they get a bit older or faster. With five junior classes and five senior classes, there is something for everyone to have a go at. Provided you’re six year old (or older), from the Rookie Minimoto Cup to the Pitbike Extreme 200 class. Loads of today’s top riders started in minimotos before working their way up through the ranks. If you reckon you’ve got a little Marc Marquez on your hands, it’s not a bad place to start. And entries aren’t ridiculous (compared to big bike racing), like in the BMB, You can also pick up something that should be competitive for a grand or two. Oh, and FAB-Racing is an official partner series to the British Superbike Championship too, whatever that means.
Ohvale UK Cup
Ohvale, if you haven’t heard of them are a small Italian bike manufacturer. And the Ohvale GP0, if you haven’t heard of that, is a bike that can’t seem to decide whether it’s a minimoto, or a grown up bike. It’s somewhere in the middle of the two. A 110cc motor powers the GP0 and road racing royalty, Peter Hickman, runs the UK cup. It’s for kids between eight to twelve years old with full race weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), at tracks all across the country. The Ohvale UK cup isn’t just about racing though, it’s about rider development. Anyone who signs up to the 10 round championship will receive riding instruction from BSB riders, race craft training and media coaching; all things that you need to nail if you’re ever going to make it as a professional bike racer.
This has got to be the most famous form of bike racing for kids that the UK has ever seen. IN Competition and Aprilia UK still have close ties to the Aprilia Superteens. The Thundersport GP race series are responsible for running the actual races, though. The list of Superteens alumni is an impressive one. It includes names like Cal Crutchlow, Sam and Alex Lowes, Leon Camier, and two-time MotoGP Champ, Casey Stoner. They all raced Aprilia RS125 production bikes in Superteens Championships of yesteryear. Now, the rules are a little bit different. The class is run alongside the GP3 Junior Cup, so you’ve got a few more machines in there (basically anything that the ACU states you are allowed to race at 13 years of age), but there is still plenty of close racing and hard-fought battles. It’s not the cheapest way to go bike racing for kids, by any stretch of the imagination. It is, however, a great way to start racing ‘proper sized’ bikes. As long as you are between the age of twelve and nineteen.