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Racing Kawasaki Ninja 250s | Ninja Warriors | Track Time

Big Fun on Small Bikes
By Aaron Frank, Photography by Darren Beatty

Motorcyclist, September, 2012

Once again it started with an e-mail from Tim O’Mahony, ringleader of Seattle’s Group W Racing. Last time Tim-O reached out it was with an invitation to race Honda CB160s (“Formula Fun,” MC, November 2009), and it resulted in one of the best weekends I’d ever spent on two wheels. “We’re racing ‘Ninjettes’ now,” the e-mail read. “We have a fleet ready. Come cramp your face from grinning like an idiot!”

Packed grids and fist-tight racing have made Formula 160 a hit in Seattle, but the vintage aspect isn’t for everyone. “We wanted a way for people to get involved in small-bike racing without being full-time mechanics,” O’Mahony explained. So he bought a Kawasaki Ninja 250R, race-prepped it, and the rest is history.

Dozens of other WMRRA racers began building Ninjas too, quickly separating into two factions: Cheapskates and Mini-Superbikers. The former focus on early (1986-2007) Ninja 250s. These are bombproof and, because aftermarket support is almost non-existent, modifications are extremely limited. The latter start with latest-generation (’08-and-newer) Ninja 250Rs. These feature 17-inch wheels instead of 16-inchers, allowing radial race rubber, and a greater number of aftermarket options including suspension and engine mods. While it’s hard to spend $1000 on an early Ninja, some new-gen racers cost as much as $10

Read more: Racing Kawasaki Ninja 250s | Ninja Warriors | Track Time - Motorcyclist Magazine
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