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Benjaminís Two Stroke Story

by JohnNicholas on 02/06/2010

A short while ago I received an email from one of the members of the site, asking if he could have permission to use the Two Stroke Motocross logo on his bike graphics. We worked out the details and Benjamin sent in some photos and included a short blurb about his racing. Below is additional information about Benjamin including his email to me, along with some photos. Enjoy!

Hi John,

I got the TSM graphics last night and I think they look pretty sweet. Iíve attached a couple of pictures so you can see how they look. I couldnít resist throwing a few riding shots in there too. Feel free to put any of the pictures on the website if you would like to. Thanks again for the permission to do these graphics. I think they look great and will hopefully get a few more people to take a look at the website and figure out that two strokes are the way to go.

Thanks again,

PS: Hereís some info on my racing and the bike:
2008 YZ 250
Race Tech Next Gen Gold Valves
Race Tech Pressure Springs, Rebound Seperator Valve
Cycra Hand Hand Guards
ASV F3 Levers
Aluminum Throttle Tube
Renthal 1-1/8? Bars
Twin Air Filter
Wiseco Piston
Dunlop Geomax Tires

Next Purchase: Oversized Motomaster Rotor

Next I asked Benjamin some questions about his racing and two-strokesÖ

Have you always raced two-strokes?
I grew up racing two strokes just like most people. My first bike was a broken down 1978 RM 80 that my dad rebuilt for me to ride. I rode 80ís, then moved to a YZ 125 and followed that with a YZ 250. After that 250 though, I fell victim to the marketing blitz that tricked so many other people out there and bought a 2006 CRF 450. After two years and too much money in maintenance, I realized the error of my ways and now ride my 2008 YZ 250. I canít see myself ever buying another four stroke.

If you raced four-strokes, what made you switch back?
I rode my 450 for about two years, and while I thought it was a cool bike at the time, it really didnít help my racing or my wallet. I burned through clutches like they were going out of style. Other maintenance costs started really adding up too. I was constantly worried about it blowing up too because if it did let go, I wouldnít have been able to afford to fix it, and my riding days would be essentially over. Being a poor college student at the time, this really weighed on my mind because I canít go without riding.

Besides making financial sense for me, switching to a two stroke makes engineering sense too. I recently graduated with my Mechanical Engineering degree and from that standpoint, a two stroke is a much better design, especially in a motocross bike. CC for CC, you cannot beat a two stroke for power output.

I think it hurt my riding ability too because it made me lazy. After two years, I was sick of riding my overweight, maintenance-hungry, time bomb so I decided to go back to the two stroke.

After the first ride on my 250, I was really questioning my decision though. I was still riding lazy and two strokes do not reward that. After the second ride though, I remembered what I was supposed to be doing and my lap times dropped several seconds from my previous best on a 450. After that, I knew I had made the right choice.

How long have you been racing?
My first race was back in 1996 when I was ten years old. That puts me at coming up on 14 years now.

What is your best racing memory?
Iíve had a lot of good racing memories over the years. Some of my favorites have been this last year, racing the Washougal Amateur days after the National. It was the first time I have raced Washougal and it was a blast. After getting a terrible start from out 42-man gate, I worked from about 37th place down to 21st in our short moto. That was definitely a fun race, but left me wishing for another 5 laps or so! Iím planning on going back up there this year and really showing my full potential and try to put the two stroke on the top step of the box.

This last season was also pretty memorable as I placed 2nd in both Open Am and 250 Intermediate in our local club (Owyhee Motorcycle Club) summer series as well as 2nd Overall for the year in 250 Intermediate. I won the Open Amateur year-end championship.

From a riding standpoint, pretty much every time I swing my leg over a two stroke makes a good memory. Theyíre just so much fun to ride. Iíve ridden some friends new four strokes lately and theyíre just boring. When Iím wide open on my 250, I canít help but grin.

In the classes you compete in, what percentage of your competition races four-strokes?
I would say that even 2 years ago, the percentage was probably only 5% two stroke. Lately though, since the AMA changed the amateur class rules to something that makes sense, and since people are realizing they canít afford to ride four strokes anymore, Iíd say weíre a lot closer to 25% two stroke with more showing up all the time. Itís great to smell the premix burning in the morning.

Benjamin grabbing the holeshot on his YZ250. Notice the guy next to him is on a YZ250 as well.

Do you race against 250Fís or 450Fís in your area?
I generally race both. We run the AMA rules here so I race 250cc Intermediate (B) against mostly 250cc four strokes. I also run an open class though that is mostly made up of guys on 450Fís. I almost like racing against the 450ís more though because itís that much more of a shock to them when I pull a huge holeshot.

What do you like best about racing a YZ250 two-stroke?
This might be cheating the question, but honestly, I like everything about racing it! Itís pretty much the ultimate race bike in my opinion. But if I had to choose, Iíd say it comes down to a tie between how light and flick-able it is, and itís explosive power. The weight is awesome when Iím coming up on someone on an overweight 4T who is just exhausted from hauling it around all moto and Iím still feeling great. The power is just unreal too, it just explodes out of corners. With a completely stock engine, I might add.

Ben blasting a berm on his 2008 YZ250 two stroke.

How does your competition treat you when you roll up to the line on your YZ250?
I think at first a lot of guys laughed and I got hassled a little bit. Everyone was asking why I went back to this ďoutdatedĒ bike when I could have bought a new 450. After I started beating them though, people started respecting the two stroke a lot more, especially in the 250 class where four stroke riders know theyíre outgunned. People seem to be realizing how fun two strokes are again and Iíve been getting a lot of jealous stares on the line now.

What about the fan response, do you notice folks you donít know cheering you on?
I have noticed a lot more people cheering for me on the two stroke. I notice spectators occasionally but Iíve really been noticing flaggers a lot more because of how close they are to the track. Theyíll be cheering me on to catch the next rider. I think watching someone ride a two stroke is much more exciting than watching everyone take the same line every lap on a four stroke which I think really makes the crowd love two stroke riders all the more.

About Me:
Iím currently 23, and live in Boise, Idaho working as a mechanical engineer. I write the newsletter for Owyhee Motorcycle Club, my local racing organization. I ride a 2008 YZ 250, definitely the best Japanese bike ever made in my opinion. Locally I race the 250 Intermediate (B) and the Open Amateur classes. At AMA sanctioned races I generally run the 250 B and Before the Hill B classes. Iím hoping to qualify for the Amateur National Championships this year in the College Boy and 250 B Stock or Mod classes.

I want to thank my sponsors for keeping me on the track and really helping me out in my racing efforts. I wear SixSixOne protection and a Leatt Brace, and use Renthal chainwheels and bars. Race Tech supplied my amazing Gold Valves while Dunlop tires wrapped around Excel Rims puts the power to the ground.

Cycra protects my hands and supplies new plastic while Factory Backing provides the great looking graphics. ASV Inventions keeps me from breaking levers every time I tip over while Twin Air keeps my carb clean. Motomaster Brakes gets me stopped in time for corners. And last but not least, keeps me sane at work! If anyone is ever riding or racing in Southwest Idaho, get in touch and we can go burn some premix!

2008 Yamaha YZ250 two stroke

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