WE RIDE ZACH BELL’S 2018 WORLD TWO-STROKE CHAMPIONSHIP TC250

You would be shocked to see how stock the Husqvarna TC250 that won the World Two-Stroke Championship was. The list was limited to the AHM suspension, FMF pipe/silencer, IMS pegs, Galfer rotor, MotoSeat cover, STI Tech-2 Pro tires, Supersprox rear sprocket, braided-steel hydraulic hoses, aluminum throttle barrel, and ProTaper bars and grips.

Zach Bell is famous for five things as a professional motorcycle racer—some you may know, others you might remember when we jog your brain and a few that you couldn’t know.

(1) In 2012, Zach Bell won the AMA Horizon Award as the most promising rider to come out of Loretta Lynn’s after sweeping all three motos of the 250 A class. He had a promising AMA Pro career ahead and signed a two-year deal to race for the Geico Honda team for 2013–2014. Zach kicked off his Geico duties by leaving Loretta Lynn’s and going straight to Southwick to race the AMA 250 National.

THE GEAR: Jersey: Thor Prime Fit, Pants: Thor Prime Fit, Helmet: 6D ATR-2, Goggles: Thor Sniper Warship, Boots: Sidi Crossfire 2 SRS.

(2) At Southwick, Bell holeshot his first-ever AMA Pro race and ran away from the field. He built up an impressive lead over Blake Baggett, Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Marvin Musquin and Justin Barcia. The Geico team was ecstatic that they had found the next champion. But, inexplicably, Bell lost the front end on a fast straight and threw his bike away. He hit his head and suffered an obvious concussion. Unfortunately, it was in the days before the AMA concussion protocol was instituted. Bell showed up at Unadilla a week later. Again, Zach holeshot the first 250 National moto in a repeat of his Southwick performance. Sadly, it was an exact repeat of Southwick and Zach crashed again. This time he suffered injuries to his T3 and T4 vertebrae. His season was over, but when the 2013 Supercross season started, Zach was back in action.

After Zach test rode the 2018 TC250 for the first time, he said it was powerful enough as is, but added an FMF pipe and titanium 2.1 PowerCore silencer for a broader spread of power. That was it for engine mods.

(3) At the 2013 Dallas Supercross, Zach had an incredible crash over a triple in his heat race that left him lying motionless on the track. With his history of concussions, everyone held their breath. Finally, Zach moved and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.  Zach rode in the medical mule back to the Geico pits. Amazingly, he showed up on the starting line for the Last Chance and made it into the 250 East main event, where he ended up in the medical mule for a second time. That Zach Bell got up off the ground after appearing to be knocked out and was allowed to race in the LCQ became controversial. Zach said that he just had the wind knocked out of him. Since Bell was wearing the then-new 6D ATR-1 helmet, his crash vaulted the new helmet into the ranks of the safest helmet to wear.

Most MXA test riders gear the TC250 taller to broaden out the powerband and make each gear carry farther. The 2018 Husky TC250 hits hard and pulls into the midrange with a vengeance, but it signs off early. Zach removed our 49-tooth sprocket and put on a 50-tooth Supersprox sprocket because he has the talent to shift on the bubble.
You would expect that Zach might want to run a lighter shock spring on the WP shock, but he stuck with the stock 42 N/m shock spring and was content to increase the high-speed compression by three-quarters of a turn and turn the compression clicker from 15 clicks to 8 clicks.

(4) Zach Bell stayed at Geico Honda for 2013 and 2014, but he only raced 21 races out of a possible 42, mostly because of injuries. Geico Honda let him go in 2015, and Zack landed on the Rockstar Husqvarna team. Zack made seven AMA 250 West starts to finish 15th overall, but only lasted for one AMA National before injuries sidelined him again. After leaving the Husky team, Zach scored points in one race in 2016 and two races in 2017. But, during this time, a chance meeting with offroad champion Mark Samuels got Zach an offer to race offroad events on the West Coast. A new, safer and more consistent Zach Bell appeared. Racing in the WORCS, Big Six, Sprint Hero and other cross-country races, Zach found a niche where he could not only win races but stay on two wheels at the same time.

The IMS Core stainless steel footpegs are beefy and wide. These aggressive pegs are heat-treated. They come in both a standard tooth profile and a sharp profile. Zach Bell chose the sharp version.

(5) Which is where MXA comes into the Zach Bell orbit, albeit in a small way. Husqvarna’s offroad race team manager, Tim Weigand, called MXA and asked us if we would lend Zach our 2018 Husqvarna TC250 for the 2018 World Two-Stroke Championship. MXA was already committed to helping seven test riders at the two-stroke festival of speed, so adding one more made us hem and haw, but Tim promised us that we wouldn’t have to do a thing. Three Brothers Racing, STI Tires and AHM Factory Services would take care of modifying the bike to suit the diminutive Zach Bell, and they would return it after the race in tip-top shape. We decided to give Zach our bike, and the rest is history (you can read about it by clicking here). In the end, it worked out great for MXA, because we ended up with the bike that won the Championship.

 

Zach ran the stock Husqvarna wheels mated to STI Tech-2 Pro tires front and rear. The rear was a 110/90-19, and although Zach runs Nitromousse tubes in his tires for cross-country races, at the World Two-Stroke he ran heavy-duty STI tubes. Why heavy-duty tubes? Glen Helen is tough on tubes because the speeds are high, the bumps are big and there are rocks everywhere.
Since Zach Bell weighs under 140 pounds, AHM focused on the mid-speed valve to get increased damping control in the second half of the stroke. Zach ran his clickers very close to the stock settings and 133 psi in the air side.

Best of all, we didn’t have to do anything. We want to show you the bike that Zach raced in detail, not because it is an exotic bank buster, but because it illustrates how little you have to do to a modern two-stroke to race it at full-tilt boogie. Here is a complete photo essay of the 2018 World Two-Stroke Champion’s 2018 Husqvarna TC250.

ZACH BELL’S TC250 SUPPLIER LIST

AHM Factory Services: www.ahmfactoryservices.com
FMF: www.fmfracing.com
Galfer USA: www.galferusa.com
IMS Footpegs: www.imsproducts.com
Liqui-Moly: www.liqui-moly.com
Three Brothers Racing: www.3brosktm.com
ProTaper: www.protaper.com
STI Tires: www.stipowersports.com
MotoSeat: www.motoseat.com
Nitromousse: www.nitromousse.com
Supersprox: www.supersprox.com
Versatile Wraps: www.versatilewraps.com

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