MotoFocus: Out of this Galaxy Kawasaki Womprat & YZ250-Powered Go-Kart Racer
A Shrunken YZ250 for the Track: Anton Bongaerts races motorcycles on tracks…go-kart tracks, that is. The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Stevelot, Belgium, or Spa as locals and regulars refer to it, is a just over 7-kilometer (4.35 mile) Formula 1 Grand Prix track that will let you run the tight and swoopy inner go-kart track for just €50 a day on a bike. So yeah, why not?
The tight bends of the go-kart track make bigger bikes feel a bit cumbersome and, well, slower. Twenty years ago Bongaerts built, raced, and even won a local championship riding a home-built bike with a Minarelli 70cc engine on the tiny tracks. He graduated to supermotos, but decided they were too big and heavy to really have fun. So, in 2018, he bought this “beaten up” 2001 Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke dirt bike, rebuilt the engine, and then shrunk it to Moto3 specs for go-kart track racing duty.
The two-wheeled kart track star has OZ Racing wheels wrapped in track slicks and trick 296mm disks clamped by Beringer calipers. He built the subframe from repurposed Honda CBR600RR tubes. The radiator core was sourced from a Kawasaki KLX650R, the carb is a trick Lectron Billertron, and Bongaerts hand hammered the tank. Swooping down under the frame, the expansion chamber resembles a python that just snacked on an opossum, which Bongaerts also crafted himself. The stout homemade swingarm was fabricated from 6082 T6 aluminum, and compliments the same chiseled design as the fuel tank.
When it was finished, he submitted it to Roland Sands Design’s #dreambuildoff competition, where it came in second in the under-750cc class in 2022. If you’re in the area, expect to hear this little zinger out terrorizing local kart tracks around Belgium this summer. You can find more of Bongaerts’ builds on his Instagram.
The Womprat Hits the Bullseye: “This bike has been through a lot,” said Chris Elliott. It was a survivor, pulled from a garage barely running for the tidy sum of $300. Elliott wheeled it out and stuffed it into a station wagon, literally. It even survived a garage fire. Now, after a complete rebuild, it sees plenty of hard riding around Phoenix, Arizona.
Like the pests that Luke Skywalker would bullseye on Tatoonie from his T-16 speeder, this Womprat keeps on going. “I came across the bike and it was already kind of hacked up, but in running condition. I’m a huge fan of ‘Star Wars,’ and a lot of the bikes I build, they’re for sand dunes and stuff. That’s where the name came from,” Elliott said.
“I built it because that’s what I wanted to build. I build bikes according to my whims,” Elliott said. His Womprat is mostly a 1978 KZ400 with some mods done for desert running around Phoenix. He tried to use as many OEM parts as he could, “but rearranged them,” he said for a custom look, working at the communal Eleven 10 shop in Phoenix. “A lot of people are drawn to Honda, but a lot of the Kawasakis were outperforming everyone at the time,” he said. “This one runs good,” and looks even better.
His use of stock parts gives the ‘rat a simple but effective style. Combined with the rodent name and catchy graphics, this Kawi demonstrates that even the simplest bikes drug from the back end of a station wagon can make awesome bugout machines. Give Chris a nod on his Instagram.
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