Inside Those Crazy Motorcycle-Engined LeMons Racers

Illustration for article titled Inside Those Crazy Motorcycle-Engined LeMons Racers

You've seen the Angry Hamster Racing V65 Magna-powered Honda Z600 under construction, and of course you're familiar with the LeMons-winning CBR900-powered Geo Metro-Gnome… but the engineering behind these two machines pushes the LeMons Insane-O-Meter™ into the red numbers.

Illustration for article titled Inside Those Crazy Motorcycle-Engined LeMons Racers

I could go on and on about the 200-proof, clear-quill engineering geekery that went into the Angry Hamster Z600- which, by the way, has a smaller footprint than a 4x8 sheet of plywood and will thus fit in the back of an Econoline van- but the entire story is summed up by this photograph. That's the billet-machined gearbox that the Angry Hamsters whipped up from scratch, in order to reverse the direction of the engine's output shaft (which rotated the wrong way for the Mazda rear end they're using) and offset the driveshaft closer to the vehicle centerline. Just look at it! Now multiply that sort of lunacy by everything on the car and you can see why we're in awe of this machine. 110 horsepower in a 1,260-pound vehicle ought to make for some decent acceleration, eh?

Illustration for article titled Inside Those Crazy Motorcycle-Engined LeMons Racers

When the Metro-Gnomes heard about the Hamsters, they knew they couldn't stand pat with their front-wheel-drive CBR900 setup, and they'd blown their engine to hell at the Buttonwillow race anyway. Somehow they found the budgetary room to get a CBR1000 engine… which they proceeded to move to the rear of the car! Not content to go all Cro-Magnon on the car and just drop a junkyard live axle in the back, they went with the independent rear suspension route and simply moved the entire front suspension and drivetrain to the rear of the car. A junkyard Metro suspension with a lot of cool low-budget mods went in the front. And while the Angry Hamsters got all mathematical and shit with their project, the Metro-Gnomes simply broke out the zip-ties and Sawzall and made everything fit! Some beautiful junkyard ingenuity went into this car, and Dave Coleman (of the Goin' For Broken LeMons-winning Eyesore Racing Ghettocharged Miata team) has done an excellent job documenting all of it over on MotoIQ. Yes, the Eyesores, Hamsters, and Gnomes all know each other, so we figure the rivalry this weekend ought to be fairly friendly.

Who's got the edge? Well, the Angry Hamsters probably have the best power-to-weight ratio and, but the drivers don't have much wheel-to-wheel road-race experience and they didn't get the car finished in time to do any testing before race weekend. The Metro-Gnomes have three LeMons races under their belts, plus numerous track-day practice sessions, but they didn't have the benefit of a huge CNC machine shop for their fabrication needs and there's no telling how all their engineering will hold together under fire. Check in later to find out how they do on Day One of the Arse Freeze-A-Palooza 2009!


Angry Hamster Racing Honda Magna V65-powered Honda Z600

Geo Metro-Gnome 2.0 Honda CBR1000-powered Geo Metro

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Jeremy Chase

Geo Metro will take you down.