The Supermono class is for prototype four stroke, single cylinder racing motorcycles with no restriction on design, construction and permitted modifications. Just about anything goes as long as its got one cylinder with a maximum engine capacity of 800cc and a minimum weight of 95kg. We do have a safety requirement, that the bike has a chainguard and an engine undertray capable of retaining the engine fluids.
The formula has led to many great innovative and creative solutions being developed (some successful…others definitely and terminally not!) to the challenge of producing more power in a lightweight frame. It is therefore not without justification that this has been described as an engineer’s class.
The light and nimble frames originate from the UK, Germany, Italy, Holland and Japan and sport famous names such as Tigcraft, Spondon, Harris, BMR, Ducati, Nico Bakker and Over. They were joined in 2000 by a new name, GRC, designed and built by Gary Cotterell, one of the classes most successful engineers and competitors.
Some pretty impressive characters cut their teeth (or should that be scuffed their leathers?) in Supermono. Thomas Korner was 1994 European Champion, Vittoriano Guareschi was 1995 Italian Champion where he was preceeded by Roberto Teneggi, plus Mauro Lucchiari and Pier Francesco Chili still hold lap records at Misano and Mugello respectively. Last but not least, Britain’s Scott Smart, a former national 250 champion, 500 GP rider and current British Superbike front runner won his first international race on a Tigcraft Yamaha.
As far as engines go, there are a whole host to choose from. In 1996 & ’97 Yamaha power and the Over team ruled the roost, in 1998 Katja Poensgen steered the very trick Suzuki based BMR to victory and in 1999 Per Olov Ogeborn’s Rotax powered UNO GDM was unbeatable despite strong challenges from BMW powered Tigcrafts. In 2000 Britain’s Spencer Cook took Slipstream Tuning’s works Muz to the title and in 2001 it was the GRC Pami-BMW with Steve Marlow on board that took the title for Team James.
It is however an excellent training ground for top four stroke riders of the future and indeed the only class outside of Moto GP where riders can experiment with four stroke chassis set – up outside the constraints of restrictive production class rules.
There are very few purpose built factory bikes (the exceptions being the Ducati Supermono and the MuZ) and few of the racers are derived from a road bike. The class is therefore a refreshing change from the proliferating production classes aimed at promoting manufacturer’s customer products. This fact however has meant that the class has had to be self – financing through its competitors with limited factory involvement.
Variety is the spice if life in this class and over recent seasons the minimum weight of the class was reduced to 95kg to allow the introduction of the new generation Minimono’s using the latest 450cc motorcross engines in 125 size frames. They have enjoyed some success, not just at the tight and twisty circuits and these type of machines are attracting a lot of younger riders to the class.
The Supermono class is one of the few classes of motorcycle racing that is attracting full grids at present. With the emergence of the prototype Moto GP class and the similarities with this it is growing in popularity with riders, engineers and spectators throughout Europe.