The 2015 JBC (John Burr Cycles) 10-Hour Endurance Race at Glen Helen was primarily a night race this year, starting a midnight and running through the night darkness until 10 a.m. Sunday morning. The course was about four miles long, combining the Glen Helen National track, the REM track, the truck track and using some of the surrounding sand washes. The course even filtered riders through a bit of the Last Dog Standing extreme enduro course, a daunting experience in the dark! Overall the shorter-than-normal course worked out really well and made it easier to remember every turn, rock, and bump quickly. Ripping up and down the big hills of the Glen Helen track in the middle of the night was an exhilarating treat.
Because nothing is more fun than last-minute planning for an endurance race just two weeks before the midnight gate drop, we grabbed our 2015 Yamaha YZ250FX, a Baja Designs Squadron light, new Dunlop tires, Cycra handguards and an FMF slip on muffler. We also borrowed the skid plate from the WR250F since the YZ250FX shares the frame and mounting points with the WR. The great thing about modern EFI on dirt bikes is the extra electricity required to power the fuel pump and electronics also helps power auxiliary lighting, like the Baja Designs Squadron. In the past, rewinding a stator and hooking up a rectifier usually led to middle of the night electronic fixes. Now all that is required is to wire the light straight into the battery. The bike’s extra output easily keeps the battery charged and the light burning bright all night.
Our four man team ranged in weight from 155 pounds to 220 pounds and, surprisingly, the YZ250FX performed awesome for every rider. The KYB suspension suits a wide range of riders, especially when the speeds are more off-road and GP, not wide open MX hammering. The little 250F might not have stretched any arms navigating the big uphills of the National track, but the smooth power reduced fatigue and kept the team having fun until the very end. We even made the entire race on one set of tires thanks to the use of heavy-duty tubes which helped us avoid any flat tires. We simply added gas and lubed the chain at rider swaps and enjoyed the race. The only issue we experienced was with the Squadron light coming loose inside the plastic number plate housing, but it was well into daylight and the need for lights was behind us. The Squadron light we used was a few years old and had about 50 hours of bike time before the 10-Hour, so we should have been more diligent with checking bolt tightness. Because two of the riders on our team had never ridden at night or done an endurance race, the game plan was fun. We didn’t ride over out heads, no one was injured and when the race was over we were all smiling. We ended up second in the 30 expert class and eighth overall. Huge props to Brian Adams who raced the Ironman class and finished seventh overall, beating not only us, but a lot of teams with multiple riders.
Albert Eisenhut launching over the top of the cement pyramid on the YZ250FX just a few short hours before the finish of the race.
The Next Step
The MotoUSA crew was so happy with the YZ250FX during the 10-Hour that we are currently building it into an even better endurance racer in preparation for the 24-Hour Glen Helen race. The suspension is being refreshed and we are working on a more powerful light set-up, possibly using two Squadron lights. We are also going to install a Scotts Stabilizer to keep the already stable YZ250FX in line. If you have an interest in endurance racing, check out the 24-Hour Glen Helen race October 10th, 2015 http://www.glenhelen.com/events/jbc-24-hour-endurance-race-2/
Riders ripping up the course in early hours of the morning.
Wow what a blast! The JBC 10-Hour was one of the most fun races I’ve ever had on a dirt bike. It is kind of like a longer version of A Day in the Dirt, only at night, and with fewer racers circulating the track at one time. Riding in the darkness is an exhilarating experience to say the least. With a narrower and less deep field of vision, it adds a level of allure and fearlessness to some extent, as you can’t see everything that’s in front of you. Bumps look flatter, rocks appear smaller allowing you to ride faster than you probably think you could. Still, you can’t go totally crazy, especially over jumps, ledges and drop-offs because the ‘unknown’ keeps your brain (and throttle hand in check). I’m definitely not one to pull all-nighters but when you’re behind the handlebar of the motorcycle, sleepiness is over-powered by adrenaline and the sheer thrill of the ride. In fact, the only time I got sleep was when I was waiting for my turn! Obviously a big part of the experience is your team, and the motorcycle you’re competing on. And I can’t believe how well suited Yamaha’s YZ250 FX is to these types of long endurance races. The e-start engine is peppy enough to get the blood flowing and the athletic chassis handles like a dream with plenty of stability. With just a couple of simple and affordable add-ons it’s a ridiculously competent off-road racer. I’m hooked and can’t wait to race again after dark. -Adam Waheed/MotoUSA
Credit: Adam Booth at motorcycle-usa.com
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