Lui v Vespa Nifty Fifty Challenge | FEATURE
Moped racing is probably one of the easiest ways to get into racing, you get great value for money, plenty of track time and have a laugh at the same time. Even though the event is billed as ‘Nifty Fifty Endurance’, these low-capacity machines are anything but standard and once you add a competitive element to anything with wheels things soon start to get serious. Trixie gives us the lowdown from round two…
For those that don’t know, The Nifty Fifty challenge is a 5-hour Endurance event held at Route 34 in Winchester. For round two of our Lui v Vespa Nifty Fifty Challenge we were joined by another team made up of Speed Demons SC and Oxford Roadrunners. Sacha Freeman, Simon Belcher and Nik Paoluci also riding a Vespa and calling themselves ‘The Wronguns’.
The Fat Boys get serious
For this round, The Fat Boys, Mark Bryon (Nobby), Rob Farquharson (Smurf) and Paul Lowdon (The Latemeister), really stepped up their game. They kept the Lambretta Lui standard head, crank and casings but had the barrel tuned at MB.
They used that with a Yamaha FS1e piston, along with a reed valve and a Dellorto PHBG 19mm carb. They fitted a Vega 75 4-speed gearbox and a Vega 75 3-plate clutch with MB S3 springs. They also changed the rear sprocket for a J range 45t and the front to an 11t sprocket and they used a shortened chain. Finally, they had a Yamaha Aerox Giannelli exhaust fabricated to fit.
They also removed everything not important off the frame to reduce the weight. They cut the rear end off completely and added an aluminium strengthening bar for extra support. To improve the suspension they fitted an S3 rear shock and extended the travel on the front forks by lengthening the buffer stops. Welded up the externals and deseamed the forks. They also added S3 springs and rods, used S3 links and bolts and fitted dampers. As you can see no expense has been spared on their build.
The day before the race, Paul rushed the scooter over to Shiny Red Tuning in Stroud to ensure it was set up correctly. The majority of the rebuild was carried out by Nobby though in his workshop but they also had a hand in the setting up.
The Wronguns PK 50 XL
The Wronguns were riding a PK50XL and all the work to get that race-ready was carried out by Nik. They used a 19mm Dellorto carb with an ETS manifold, a Polini cylinder with a standard bore and a centre plug head from a Honda moped. He fitted a PK XL2 clutch and crank and used a LeoVinci exhaust. The only real testing they did to set up before the event was a few laps around our field.
Two Men and a Little Lady
Team Two Men and a Little Lady is made up of, Ricky Wiltshire, Chris Eldridge and myself, Trixie. We also used a PK50, as we did before. We made a few changes though, as the last event highlighted where we could make a few improvements.
Ricky and Chris carried out the work together in our workshop. They fitted a PK 4-speed gearbox to replace the V90 3-speed it was currently running. They also fitted a Polini piston and cylinder head, using a DR barrel. The barrel was jacked up to increase port timings and we had 2mm skimmed off the top of the barrel. The exhaust was changed to a LeoVince and the carb stayed the same using a 19mm Dellorto as before.
The race day came and thankfully the weather was going to be a lot kinder than last time. There was a little bit of drizzle as we were signing on and doing our walk of the track but it didn’t last long and the track remained dry.
We all started off really well. Chris, Simon and Smurf went out first. Our plan was to do five laps each and then come in to change riders. Unfortunately, The Wronguns were the first victims of the day. Nothing too drastic just a spark plug change and they were up and running again.
The track was very hard and bumpy with a couple of steep hills (for a 50) with some pretty dodgy corners. As Nik found out when he went over the edge at one of them. Unlike last time when mud was the problem, this time it was the dust. Both the Vespas had problems with their air filters but unfortunately, The Wronguns were using a standard gauze filter which let in too much dust and wore out their piston rings. They were prepared though and changed the rings in the pits, much to peoples amazement. That certainly did attract an audience.
Both Vespas had exhaust issues due to the very bumpy track. The exhausts came loose twice on them both but at least it was an easy fix, albeit very time-consuming. The only other problems the Vespas had was a puncture for The Wronguns and a blocked air filter for 2 Men and a Little Lady. On the other hand, the Fat Boys on their Lui sailed through the day with only a broken throttle cable.
The great thing about the day was that all three scooters made the chequered flag. Then comes the exciting bit waiting for the results. We handed in our transponders, although it was obvious The Fat Boys had the most laps as the Lui didn’t miss a beat all day and was on the track the entire time.
So as predicted The Fat Boys were the winners with 150 laps, 2 Men and a Little Lady were 2nd with 130 laps and The Wronguns had done 121 laps, but with their top end rebuild that was quite an achievement. But this was just the results for our three teams.
It ain’t over till the Fat Boys sing
In our class, The Fat Boys did amazingly well and their consistent reliability paid off and they came joint 3rd in the class but unfortunately missed out on the trophy by 15 seconds on the transponder readings. Even so, they won the trophy in our own personal challenge so are still winners.
Along with the number of laps completed, we also got our lap times and bizarrely it was the Vespas that were fastest. The Lui’s fastest lap was 1:38, The Wronguns fastest lap was 1:36 but the winners of the fastest lap was Two Men and a Little Lady with 1:33.
All for charity
But the main winners of the day were the charities, which is the reason we do it. The Wronguns have raised £700 so far for Aspire, which is a homeless charity that also helps people in recovery of drugs, alcohol and mental health problems. The Fat Boys and ourselves donate to the same charity, Brain and Spine Foundation. Over the last two events we have raised over a thousand pounds.
Sticky’s race gallery