What happened to it?

By Karel Kramer


We all have triggers, something that gnaws at you like a scrappy, yappy little dog gnawing at your ankle. An event that just bugs the heck out of you when you encounter it. It might be loud neighbors, rude or aggressive drivers, or some motorized scum in a luxury car too self-important to wait for traffic to clear. You know, when traffic slows, they pretend they are turning right at a light, then jump the line of traffic. It is satisfying when you see the flashing lights go on behind them, but it can really chap you when they get away with it!

It might be a rock in your shoe or noisy exhaust systems (or being forced to run a quiet one) that bother you. We recently photographed the 2019 WORCS opener in Primm, Nevada. The series has new management, and the race went off extremely well. Track prep was great, the competition strong and there was a lot to like with the new WORCS organization.

Even there, where we saw cool and dedicated family groups racing together at a venue where female racers of all types battled in female-only classes or ran tread to tread with men, for us, those are all good things. Add in burgeoning youth classes and we had a lot to be excited about. Instead, we were stressed, irritated and annoyed. The reason was not roving bands of drug dealers, puppy mills hidden in RVs, or even outhouses with no TP rolls left.

Nope. What really fried our hides was seeing youth riders having a blast rocketing around on trick Yamaha Raptor 250 quads. You see, the Raptor 250 sport quad was perhaps the most laugh-out-loud, hysterical multi-terrain vehicle ever made. There is no human that could ride one without smiling. The irritating, anger-inducing facet of the Raptor 250 is that Yamaha stopped making it! Once they were pretty affordable, but now used ones cost what new ones used too. The law of supply and demand.


So this is what we need to be happy and embrace inner peace again—bring back the Raptor 250. Yamaha, you don’t even have to improve it, just sell it again. Youth riders who should have one, and maniacal adults who probably shouldn’t, would thank you. The Raptor 250 is perhaps one of the most fun-producing, wheeled vehicles we have ever piloted. Incredible handling, it slides like a master and it is comfortable for youth or adult riders. It does wheelies, too!

It would obviously be best if Yamaha brought it back. After all, the company has proven that it can do the Raptor 250 right. We understand, though, that it may not be possible to convince Yamaha that bringing back the Raptor 250 is vital for the future of mankind. We are certain that unseen forces we don’t grasp caused its demise. Yamaha doesn’t make business decisions to annoy weirdos that love sporty little quads. So, we’re just going to say it: somebody knock it off.

Build replicas, 3D-print some—whatever it takes. Other companies have a 250cc four-stroke engine design that would work. They just need that almost impossible-to-tip, slide-like-a-maniac chassis to copy. As long as we are dreaming, Honda can build it with a SportClutch, so learning riders can get into a fun bike and stay with it for many years.

When they grew into the power and suspension, it would still be an effective sport machine for play and racing. We have desired other machines before, but knowing that a quad built just a few short years ago is harder to find than a 32-year-old ATC250R—that is just plain annoying. Come on, Yamaha, help us regain inner peace, help us roost our buddies, and talk smack to our youth riders. You have the power.

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