's Adam Arnold tested British Superbike Championship's Nvidia 125 at Donington Park earlier this year, and it changed his life (a little)...

I'm sure we've all done it at some point, giggling to ourselves at the 'tidders' screaming round the circuit.

Walking around the pits it's obvious which are the 125 riders, they were the spotty teenagers that came up to your elbow on full stretch. But once they had their helmets on they were mini-GP racers on a mission.

As the season progressed it became clear that these riders and bikes were not to be scoffed at, on the contrary.

The second round of the championship at Brands Hatch the 125 top runners lapped just two seconds a lap slower than Karl Harris and friends in the British Supersport championship. Yes, seriously.

From that point on it was obvious that one of these 1/8th litre bikes needed to be tested to find out how they could be so closely matched despite being down on so much power. A BSS front running machine puts out over 130bhp, whereas a 125 produces just over 50bhp, yet around some tracks the 'tidders' would be able to qualify for the grid in the 600 race.

Over the course of the season I increasingly visited the Nvidia 125 camp, partially because they gave me free food, and partially because they field one of the two female racers in the British championship paddock.

As the season neared an end, Brent Gladwin, the Nvidia team manager, finally gave in to my hint dropping and lurking over the course of the year and agreed to hand the bike over for a go round Donington Park at a test day.

"If that orange light comes on and stays on, get into the pits as soon as you can or just stop on the side of the track," began my briefing by Brent. "If it just flashes on and off, don't worry about it."

His tip was not meant to install such fear, but there was instantly an image of the orange light flashing, then going constant, followed by an almighty bang as the bike blew up into thousands of pieces.

"Right, if you see this blue light, change up a gear," continued Brent. "You'll be seeing a lot of that one."

The 125 GP race bikes are of course two-strokes, meaning they have power bands the thickness of a rubber band. In order to 'make progress' these bikes have to be kept within the sweet spot at all times, including going into a corner, which is harder than is sounds when there is no engine breaking and very little noise on the over-run.

To do this the bikes have many gears, seven in total, but I could have sworn I counted twelve on my ride. My left foot seemed to be continually tap dancing up and down.

As a reward for the riders efforts the 125 will produce in excess of 50bhp, propelling the 70-ish KG of bike, not including rider, round at an impressive pace.

But what makes these bikes so quick, quick enough to challenge half the Supersport field at some tracks, is the awesome corner speed. The 125's run on slicks and coupled with the fact they weigh next to nothing means awesome lean angles and corner speeds are possible.

After a while on the bike I thought I had nearly reached the limit of the lean angle, 'yep knee down, elbow's only a few inches off, I must be nearly there,' I thought to myself. But how wrong could I be.

Donington Park is notoriously windy, with momentary gusts so strong it sometimes literally sweeps bikes off the track.

One such gust caught me as I was lapping the Donington GP circuit. However, instead of blowing me off the track it blew the bike and me lower into the corner. To my surprise this gust of wind had just given me an extra two inches of lean angle, and pushed the bike yet tighter round the corner. I felt like a proper nobber.

And so I should, I'm no GP racer, but this bike is. It was built by HRC for the 2001/02 season with a full factory 'A' kit. It is draped with Dymag Carbon wheels and fully adjustable WP suspension all round, with the head stock and the upper rear shock mounting adjustable too. The front brake is a radial Brembo onto a single disc that hauls the tiny bike to a standstill eye poppingly quickly, time and again without any fade whatsoever.

Everything about these machines are designed for maximum speed, even the ?1700 Carbon Fibre wheels are considered very cheap performance enhancers. With an increase of one bhp found from Dyno testing, gained from the reduction of centrifugal weight the tiny 125cc engine has to push along.

Riding the bike brought along a whole new respect for the 125 series and the riders that take part. Comparing their lap times with mine, which will forever remain undisclosed I might add, I have a new found admiration for the skill it takes to circulate one of the 'tiddlers' at a pace only a couple of seconds a lap slower than a British Supersport machine, which has almost three times the amount of power.

Respect is due.

The Nvidia 125 British Championship race winning bike (one win at Knockhill in 2004) ridden for this feature is currently up for sale. If anyone is interested in the machine they should contact Brent Gladwin via email at, or visit the team website at