This past weekend I had the opportunity to see and understand what Moto Gymkhana is all about. I had been viewing YouTube videos of competitions and reading up on this exciting and skill based sport that’s huge in Japan and gaining popularity in North America.
Gymkhana is not about speed. In fact, most competitors rarely leave second gear. It’s all about technique and maneuvering your motorcycle through and around pylons. Think riding in a crowded city and having to dodge cars, pedestrians, dogs – quick, tight turns and the ultimate control is needed to not drop your bike or hit someone. Gymkhana is described by Wikipedia as an event consisting of speed pattern racing and timed games for riders on horses. In this case…motorcycles.
In a competition, this is done in a closed circuit. The object is to complete the loop in the shortest time without touching cones and dabbing of the feet (unless specified). Very similiar to that of a motorcycle trials competition except that the event is usually held on pavement, with a road bike, and on flat land. In essence it is a ‘Time Trial’ event.
Usually a course will consist of tight turns and a few straight-aways thus making the proper choice of bike necessary. A smaller, light weight bike will have the advantage over a bigger, and heavier one especially if there are many tight turns. When you think of the weight of a road motorycle (minimum 400+ lbs) making tight turns is no easy feat. Speeds can reach up to 80kph. The most difficult part of a competition is when you have to give full throttle on first (or second) gear immediately followed by full braking to make either a 360 or 180 degree turn. Finally, what may look like a maze of cones you must remember the route and follow it accordingly.
Thanks to ‘Master Yoshi’ for showing his skill on the CBF. Which by the way is a killer looking bike. I love the pearl white paint job. That and his black and white outfit made for some really snazzy pictures. Master Yoshi made Gymkhana look super simple, easily turning his CBF1000 and flicking it from side to side. And you know if something looks easy than it’s because the person is smooth and skilled.
The photo shoot with Yoshi was a great opportunity. I am certain we will be seeing more of Moto Gymkhana. Yoshi is recognised by JAGE (Japan Moto-Gymkhana Association) and has the distinct honour to introduce this sport to Canada and the USA. I am certain Moto Gymkhana will gain momentum throughout North America.
As for me, I must admit…I am intrigued and would love to try this but would prefer borrowing a bike as I would really not prefer dropping my Suzuki GS500. So all my friends with road bikes any takers? If not I can always take my husbands Berg – it won’t mind being dropped on pavement 🙂