Abhi Races a Honda CB160, Part 5 – A Little History

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It’s definitely not obvious from the posts so far, but this series isn’t supposed to be solely about the bike – it’s about going racing for the season and all the fun/misery that goes with it. I’ve been getting several questions about why I’m looking to race such a tiny bike, so for this installment I want to go back in time with a history lesson courtesy of a lovely short documentary about how CB160 racing started out of the Pacific Northwest.

Did you miss Part 4? I finally get a chance to look at the replacement race bike I ordered, and it does not go well.

This film is called “The Fowler Formula” for reasons you’ll learn once you watch it. It’s directed by Tom Parker – enjoy!

Three things I want to highlight from this video:

1.”Going faster wasn’t necessarily more fun. The high cost of racing meant fewer people could afford to race, and fewer people meant bigger gaps between other racers on the track.

2. “The original formula was stock bikes, stock, chassis, stock motors, and that lasted for about three weekends…the escalation started almost immediately. I guess I think those guys are maybe cheating themselves a little bit.

This is what hit me the hardest – I understand that people are always going to want to spend a little more to give themselves a better shot when it comes to racing but I do think there’s nobility in spec racing and I wish that this class was for stock 160 motors. AHRMA does it as an exhibition race under the name “Moto LeMans”, and they allow any bike that’s also eligible for Formula 125, 250 Grand Prix, or 200 Grand Prix Plus. So as you can imagine, there’s plenty of CB175s, CB200s, and other homebrew stuff. I’m too new to all of this to know what happened to the CB160 class but I plan on asking about it at my first race.

3. I cannot find the Fowler Formula! This video was originally published 14 years ago and back then there were a couple of websites that had the “formula” but all I can find now are dead links. If anyone has it, I would love to see it and quicken up my learning curve!

On to Part 6 – time for some wrenching!