When I was a kid, my family had a Honda CT Mini Trail 70 that I’d ride after school almost every day. The thing sipped fuel, so after topping off the tank from a gallon milk jug that my dad would leave in the garage, I’d ride the little four-stroke until the sun went down.
Finally, after years of begging, my dad relented and bought me my first real bike for my 15th birthday—a brand-new 1975 Honda Elsinore CR125M. I couldn’t believe it—the happiest kid in the world! Along with the bike, he gave me several pint-bottles of Blendzall Racing Castor (although I still didn’t have a real fuel can), and he explained that since my new ride was a two-stroke, it was extremely important that I mix the fuel before starting the engine.
As you can imagine, I was more eager to ride than ever when I got home from school the next day, but I wasn't sure what the 40:1 instructions on the Blendzall bottles meant. My dad hadn’t returned home from work yet, so I walked next-door to the house of my neighbor, who was tying on an apron and donning a chef’s hat as he prepared to cook an early barbecue dinner for his family. While his curious children gathered around, he sat down his spatula and examined the yellow bottle I handed him, carefully reading the label.
“Hmmm, let's see,” he muttered, running mental calculations for a minute or so. “That works out to one bottle to a can of gas.”
I thanked him and returned home to our garage and--still unaware that normal gas cans had a 5 gallon capacity--poured the bottle into my 1 gallon jug. Next I emptied that into the shiny silver tank of the new Elsinore and, after strapping on my helmet, rolled the bike into my backyard, pulled out the start lever and gave it a healthy kick. The engine fired up immediately and ran fine for a few seconds before it began burbling and bogging, and then died completely. Perplexed, I pulled out the lever again, and although the mill was less willing to start this time around, it fired up after 30 or so determined kicks. Uncertain as to why my mighty new motocrosser was so reluctant to idle, I heartily twisted the throttle, the silencer emitting a strangled exhaust note—gah-ding, gah-ding, gah-gag, gah-ding, gawwwwww—along with a huge cloud of blue fog that floated gently across the lawn and over our wooden fence, mingling with the smoke from the neighbor’s Weber.
Just when I was beginning to think that my dad had purchased a lemon, the Honda’s engine started to sound like it was going to clear out: Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuhhhh…. Encouraged, I held the throttle to the stops, put the bike in gear and slowly let out the clutch lever: Ba-dong, ba-dang, ba-dong, ba-ding, ba-DING, BA-DING, BRAAAAAAHHHHH!! In an instant, the engine cleared out completely and came onto its powerband which, as you might imagine, was rather more savage than that of the CT70 to which I was accustomed. With me hanging off the rear fender for dear life, the bike took off across our yard, my legs trailing behind and my right wrist in full whisky-throttle mode.
When I opened my eyes, I saw that I was headed straight toward the aforementioned wooden fence, through which my bike proceeded to put an Elsinore-shaped hole while the slats cleaned me entirely off the seat. Previously reluctant to run, the crashed Honda now refused to quit, burning donuts into the lawn as it spun around the right grip, sending children diving for cover while my neighbor made a valiant attempt to shield his tray of hamburgers from the barrage of flying turf.
The next day, my dad brought home a follow-up birthday present: a new Ratio-Right measuring cup.
Now a pro with a Ratio-Rite, Forrest is an advertising sales manager for Transworld Motocross. Have a Moto Story you'd like help telling for free? Email firstname.lastname@example.org