What the F is a Bucket?!
Officially called "Miniature Road Racing", the sport has been known as "Bucket Racing" from the earliest days.
Legend has it, the phrase comes from "Bucket of Bolts" or other terms with an S-shaped-swear-word to describe a motorcycle built from a collection of cast off parts.
The exact origins are a bit hazy but it's held that the sport was conceived on NZ Airforce bases in the very early 1980's, with people then using their skills and access to tarmac to have a good time racing whatever was lying around and could be put in to service, and modified, for cheap.
These days the bikes range from incredibly well engineered homebuilt specials to those that fit the older stereotype, cheap-and-dirty bike slapped together to get racing as easily as possible.
It's a time-proven formula to get riders and bikes on the track in a way that's great fun and doesn't have the same budget pressures as most motorsport.
It can be competitive but even the fiercest rivals in the sport are mates once the racing is done for the day.
We have Class(es)
While the racing is often separated by rider speed in to B-grade and A-grade there are actually two classes of machine which can be roughly summed up as:
150cc 4 Strokes
125cc 2-Strokes, Aircooled with a carb limit.
A true 'Formula class' sport
The regulations say that the engines must be derived from a non-competition motorcycle but then leave a lot of scope for modification and innovation.
Frames and other parts are open.
Over the years this has lead to a lot of innovation in the class but also the style of racing means that skills and dedication win over having the best gear.
The full rules
Motorcycling New Zealand governs our sport and publishes the rules governing every aspect of the sport, from how we run competitions to the class rules that determine what's legal or not in our corner of motorcycle sport, the links below give the detailed rules on what's required in a bike to make it a 'bucket racer'.
Where to start?!
The main parts that affect the 'Bucket Racing' classes are:
Chapter 16 - Class Rules
Chapter 10 - Motorcycles Technical
Appendix A - Championship Classes
While you should read the whole rulebook before competing, you will also to get very familiar with:
Chapter 8 - Safety Gear
Chapter 14 - Road Racing
These are all buckets
Just some examples of bikes
Suzuki FXR 150
The Suzuki FXR150 has been the backbone of bucket racing for over a decade. They do everything well out of the box with a sweet engine, gearbox, frame, brakes and suspension. Everything can be improved but as a starting package they are such a good all-rounder they've been the 'go-to' starting platform for a generation of racers.
The extreme end.
Griffiths Performance Racing.
These boys have been building their own bikes since ages ago and they keep getting better!
They build or heavily modify the frames and have even made on of the engines that produces class leading horsepower.
The Yamaha R15 has hit the scene!
These are a a modern bike with fuel injection and are a great all-round package.
They are quick out of the box (Or bucket?) and can be modified to make class leading power.
Honda make great bikes.
This is no exception, it's a gem of an engine with loads of fat power from standard and more to be wrung out with a bit of work.
HRC/Derbi 50 Special
Cue a joke about small packages...
This bike is truly a lightweight though, weighing in at 60something KG's.
The power is very modest but it's broad and surprisingly tractable for an engine that's got internal space not much bigger than a shot glass!
Fast on this bike is about getting it perfect, maximum corner speed!
HRC/AM6 GPR 50
This 50 has power! Based on an RS125 frame that was resurrected from a devastating crash it's been re-powered with a modified AM6 engine. It runs at the sharp end of the field nationally and is hard to beat on anything, let alone another 50!