HRC NSF100 Trophy Race
The riders in the last NSF100 HRC Trophy minibikes race had a surprise at the Motegi circuit (Japan), when they competed wheel to wheel with the vice president of HRC, Shuhei Nakamoto, and former Grand Prix racers Tady Okada and Shinichi Ito. Together, this special HRC team competed in a four-hour endurance race on this circuit, which was the venue of the Japanese event in the MotoGP World Championship last April. An impressive 86 teams and 420 riders took part in this exceptional race, all on Honda minibikes.
The HRC team was made up of Nakamoto, HRC directors Seiki Ishii and Tomoaki Nagayama, the HRC test rider Tady Okada - test rider of Honda to develop the MotoGP RC212V and former Repsol Honda Team rider from 1996 to 2000- and Ito, veteran rider who competed in the heart of the Repsol Honda Team in 1995 and 1996. While the former Grand Prix racers enjoyed stretching the limits of the NSF100 painted in the colours of Repsol and Honda, the HRC directors made do with living the experience on this 100cc machine, on which many aspiring riders start. The HRC team completed 105 laps and finished in a safe, yet respectable 57th place out of 80 who finished the race.
Apart from the fun of the endurance race, the main attraction of the day was the two 8-lap speed tests on the NSF100s. These races were the final tests for the NSF100 Trophy, an open minibikes competition organised by Honda to promote the competition and give many young riders the opportunity to start racing. The NSF100 Trophy is also held in countries like Belgium, Italy, Finland, Sweden and Holland.
In fact, the best NSF100 riders from the European championships took part in last Sunday's race in Motegi. Andrea Locatelli, thirteen years old, winner of the NSF100 Extreme Trophy in Italy, finished seventeenth, whereas Bo Bendsneijder -also thirteen-, winner in Holland, was twentieth. Sweden's Jesper Hubner and Finland's Patrick Pulkkinen (both thirteen years old) finished twenty-second and twenty-fifth, respectively.
The NSF100 is an HRC bike made specifically for racing and has a single-cylinder four-stroke air-cooled engine.
Shuhei Nakamoto Speaks... Vice-president of HRC
"It has been great fun taking part in this race today with my colleagues and our professional riders. Maybe we could have gone faster, but we were here to enjoy the race and not to battle for victory! It has been a good opportunity for us to see how those riders with such different ages ride the Honda NSF100 and to see how we can develop this type of sporting event in the future."
Tady Okada Speaks...
"I started very well today and came up from behind to fight for second place. As Yuki (Takahashi) also took part, we both had a thrilling race in the last ten laps. We don't usually have many opportunities to ride with other riders in this way, and I had a great time!"
Shinichi Ito Speaks...
"This race was somewhat different to those I usually take part in and I really enjoyed it. Some of the younger riders learn quickly on the NSF100, and what's more, they fit perfectly with the small size of the bike, so they went much faster in the turns and it was more difficult to overtake them!"