Is it time to invest?

It goes without saying but buying decent safety kit for your son or daughter is very important. The reality is that they are taking part in a dangerous sport/activity and as a responsible parent/guardian you need to ensure your young rider is properly protected to minimise risk of injury as much as possible.

A crash is never a nice thing for a young rider, but if he/she has a crash with poor gear it will hurt them more and impact their confidence riding the bike.

Your young rider really enjoys riding minimoto’s. Now it’s time for you to make sure you’ve invested in the right kit and the bike, but what do you buy?

What to wear

Getting good quality kit isn’t a case of buying the most expensive.  Here are some tips on what kit to look for:

Helmet:

  • Must be full face and have a scratch free visor
  • Must not have any cracks or grazing through to fibreglass/carbon fibre shell.
  • Must have a ‘D-Lock’ or ratchet strap fastening under the chin and tightened so you can fit 2 fingers between strap and lower chin.
  • Must be E11 or E6 certified (white label on chin strap)
  • Must have British gold sticker on back of helmet
  • Must fit properly – especially around the forehead, cheeks and back of neck – please take advice from shop when buying
  • Ideally under 1200g
  • Suggested brands Shark, HJC, Shoei, AGV

Leathers:

  • If riding minimoto you can buy specific ‘minimoto’ suit which is part leather, part material. It has protection in the right places but is more flexible and lighter which makes riding minimoto easier in its squashed riding position.  Suggested brands are Gimoto, Speed, Record.
  • When riding a geared bike you need to have full leathers one piece leathers.
  • With both suits you need to ensure there is CE armour protection in shoulders, elbows/forearms and knees. Some more expensive suits have added protection in back, buttocks and thighs.  Furygan, Daniese, Alpinestars, Dannysport and Janman (last 2 are custom leather manufacturers)
  • Look for double stitching for strength and Velcro on knees for sliders.

Gloves:

  • Must be made of leather
  • Must have strap around wrist
  • Finding kids gloves can be hard, but ideally they need to fit well, making sure there is as little room as possible at the ends of each finger.
  • Suggested brands for kids are Buffalo, Alpinestars ladies, Knox XXS

Back Protector:

  • A plastic plated protector that goes from just below top of spine to coccyx
  • The protector should not bend in opposite direction to spine natural movement
  • The protector should have a kidney belt protector built in
  • Comfort is essential and avoid any sharp edges – suggested brands are Knox, Alpinestars, Dainese and Oxford products

Boots:

  • For minimoto you need ankle boots that are specially design for minimoto – suggested brands are Falco or Stylemartyn
  • For Geared bike you need full race boot with complete foot, ankle and shin protection.
  • It’s essential all zips and fasteners work and operate properly.

What bike to choose

If your young rider is new to racing and is aged between 6-9 they would normally start in the minimoto classes of their chosen championship.  These bikes must have:

  • 40cc air-cooled engine (polini, BZM or Iame)
  • 6 inch wheels, with PMT Junior or Junior R (wet) tyres
  • 10mm or 14mm restrictor
  • Nylon bar ends on handlebars
  • ‘Shark Fin’ chain protector
  • Front Fairing or Number board clearly showing race number
  • No Chinese bikes are allowed
  • Recognised brands of bike are GRC, BLATA, DM, POLINI, PHANTOM, PASINI
  • Must comply with the rules and regulation set out for championship
  • If your young rider is older, they can start on more powerful Minimotos or Metrakit Geared bikes but their riding will need to be assessed by Race Series organisers to allow race entry. These bikes are:

Minimoto:

  • 40cc water-cooled engines (adult classes can run 50cc engines)
  • Unrestricted engines
  • 6inch wheels with any tyre (PMT, SAVA)
  • Nylon bar ends for handlebars
  • ‘Shark Fin’ chain protector
  • Front Fairing or Number board clearly showing race number
  • No Chinese bikes are allowes
  • Recognised brands of bike are GRC, BLATA, DM, POLINI, PHANTOM, PASINI
  • Must comply with the rules and regulation set out for championship

Metrakit:

  • Standard MetraKit chassis
  • 50cc or 70cc standard engine (MK, Derbi or AM)
  • 12 inch wheels with Mitas tyres only for Cool FAB (other championships have open tyre rules)
  • ‘Shark Fin’ chain protector
  • Sump bolt need to be lock wired
  • Must comply with rules and regulations set out for championship

Where to ride when you have your own bike and kit

There are many indoor go karting circuits around the country that allow you to ride minimoto or pitbikes on dedicated nights or track days.  A quick google search for go kart circuits in your local area and a phone call should give you an idea of where you can practice.  Here are a few known indoor circuits that cater for bikes:

  • Swindon Karting Arena – Swindon  – Sunday and Monday
  • M4 Karting – Chippenham – Friday
  • Cheddar Karting – Somerset – Sunday
  • Raceway Karting – Pontefract – TBC

For outdoor practice this is more restricted – there are a couple of circuits which are listed below:

  • Kinsham Raceway – Hereford – Minimoto and geared bike practice every Sunday and Wednesday
  • Amering Circuit – Kent – Minimoto and geared bike practice every Sunday
  • Whilton Mill Circuit – Northamptonshire – Every Tuesday night during Spring and Summer.

Visit the Minimoto Scene website which is run by a dedicated team of minimoto racers/tuners/enthusiasts.  The website includes lots of information about bikes, technical advice, where to ride and up and coming events. There is also a very useful forum to help new and existing riders on any specific topics including where to ride.

Will you be introducing your youngster to racing? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.