Pocket bike and minimoto racing organizations are springing up across the country. With teams and events boasting corporate sponsorships, what once was considered a casual hobby, like snowboarding and skateboarding, could be on its way to bigger arenas.
If MotoGP has anything to do with it, the sport will grow in a hurry. The professional motorbike racing organization is actively recruiting young racers for a racing competition called US Mini GP. The contest, to be held this November, will pay a purse of $6000 and win the top five racers spots in this year’s World Mini GP in Spain.
The industry is big money, and has the potential to be even bigger. It already attracts a wide audience of boys and girls anywhere from age 5 — their bikes fitted out with training wheels — into adulthood. Mid-South MiniMoto general manager Ricky Lomonaco, who sells the bikes and sponsors riders, sells high-end machines from Italy (GRC Moto) that start at $2,200 for an entry racer and go up to $4,000 for superior models. More affordable options can be found on eBay for as little as $250.
Even corporate backers are getting into the mix. For Tammy Diehl of The Blazzin’ Bikers in Wayne, Mich., sponsorship for the racing kids has come from Hooters of Roseville, Mich. Diehl says the restaurant chain is especially helpful during the banquets. Next, she’s tackling an application for Home Depot sponsorship.
According to Jim Baldwin of Excitebike in East Lansing, Mich., the sport is slower in catching on in the Midwest than in California and Florida because of the weather. Still, Diehl’s group has begun expanding their scope and participated in a race in Ohio last month.