Although it?s not liquid-cooled like the engine we featured on the cover of DB June 2001, the all-new CRF150R becomes the first competition four-stroke, big-wheel mini. The engine has existed for years down in Brazil.

Honda had good news and bad news at its dealer show in Las Vegas. First, the bad: Longtime XR600-hero Scott Summers announced his retirement from racing, so he won?t be trying for that tenth national championship next season. Scott is credited with sparking the success of the Grand National Cross Country series. The good news, besides luring Ricky Carmichael from Kawasaki, is that dealers will have two new, early-release 2003 thumpers to hawk next fall. Styled after the CRF450R, the new CRF150R and CRF230R will enter an already extensive line of thumpers (XR50 all the way to XR650R). It seems that Honda finally stole some of Yamaha?s thunder, as we expected the blue crew to be the first with a racing four-stroke minibike. You can bet BBR will be all over these puppies and will have aluminum perimeter frames and such by this time in ?02. l


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