The death of the two-stroke sportsbike
28 October 2002 00:00
This weekend the Valencia GP will sound the ring-a-ding-ding death knell of the two-stroke as a sports bike. Usurped by the four-strokes as the ultimate GP weapon and emissions laws have forced Aprilia will stop production of its RS250, will we miss them?
Have you got any stories of two-stroke derring-do? Wheelied past the chippy on your RG? Trashed your RD or destroyed your Fizzy? Click on the link on the right and leave us your fond remembrances.
An estimated 200,000 fans at the Comunitat Valencia will witness the end of a near 30-year two-stroke hegemony in its final blue-riband Grand Prix. Next season there will be none, consigned to history by the far more powerful fours.
While technology has surpassed them on the track, it’s new emissions laws that have strangled the breed as a road-bike.
Scooters and small capacity machines will squeak through the " Euro 2 " regulations, but it will be virtually illegal to produce mid-capacity, carb-fed strokers since the design allows too much unburnt fuel to escape into the exhaust.
And off-road, a new breed of four-strokes in taking on, and winning, against the strokers. Honda’s four-stroke CRF250 won at its first attempt against the old guard (click on the link on the right to read that story) and Yamaha’s YZ250F and YZ450F look certain to dominate in 2003.
And although 250 and 125 GP grids are guaranteed to remain two-stroke only for the next three years, the chances of perpetuating this legacy of pedigree racing past that looks slim.