There are few things in life that are as rewarding as racing. Being a parent comes to mind, maybe helping the guy on the corner who needs a sandwich, adopting an orphan, but beyond that, not much. Racing MiniGP (Mini Grand Prix) or pocketbikes is the least expensive form of racing on two wheels. When compared to Big Bikes (big bikes is what mini racers call bikes over 125cc.) racing where you could go through a $350 set of tires in a weekend, mini bike racing is very inexpensive. A set of mini tires could last a few seasons!
The best thing to do is go watch a race. Start by find a racing organization near you and show up to watch. Donít plan on racing the first time you attend. Just watch, observe and enjoy what is going on, and then decide if it looks like something you would want to do. Be careful, it's addicting.
If there is a vendor there, talk to them. Vendors are more than happy to help you spend your money true, but they also know a lot about the interworkings of the sport. Most importantly, talk to the racers. Most racers will be more than happy to talk to you, especially when they donít have wrenches in their hands or their bikes in pieces. If they are sitting around kicking back, say hello and let them know you are interested in racing.
Before you talk to people you probably need to know a thing or two about what is going on at the track.
These are bikes with tiny wheels that really are scaled to look normal if a 7 year old is riding one. But make no mistake, these tiny machines can exceed 50 MPH.. Pocketbikes in particular have a wide range of variants. They do not shift and they use a centrifugal clutch. They really break down into two camps:
These are Chinese pocketbikes, and are great for getting started. They are inexpensive, but with that comes the need for extra TLC if you want to race more than work on the bike. They are the Yugos of pocketbikes.
These bikes are typically made of high-grade materials: billet aluminum, carbon-fiber. Regardless of manufacturer they typically share the same engines. A DM rider will be able to share engine components with a rider who has a BMS. In this field it is most important to get a bike that has good parts and fits you. Think of it like when buying a bicycle, there are different levels of components and with more money generally comes a better product.
Typically 50-80cc shifter bikes. Typical bikes are Honda NSR50, Honda NSF100, Metrakits, Derbis, and Yamaha YSRs. You may also find a 125GP bike with a 80cc motor in it as well.
These are dirt bikes that have slick tires. They can be anything from 50cc 2-strokes to 525cc 4 strokes. Typically most mini bike clubs limit the bikes to somewhere around 230cc 4 strokes. Anything bigger and they are just too powerful for the typical GoKart track.
The most important thing is your gear. You can expect to pay anywhere from $400 for used quality gear to $2000 for new to custom stuff. Unfortunately the cost of protective gear doesnít change because the bike you ride is any smaller. Again this is an area where you get what you pay for. If you have a $50 head, buy a $50 helmet. It is cheaper to buy a good suit, then take a few weeks off of work and wait for skin to grow back. If you are buying gear for a junior rider, make sure the gear fits. There is no point of getting gear if it is so big they canít control the bike.