Two tiny wheels so, so dirty.

Sure, classic Vespas are cool, but have you considered turning them into rad motocross machines? No? Well, allow seasoned moto journalists Ari Henning and Zack Courts to show you why you might want to give it some thought. This video is unfortunately just a preview of the latest episode of their MotorTrend subscription-only series Throttle Out, but you still get a glimpse of the wild and wacky world of VespaCross.

VespaCross isn’t some missing chapter of the Macross saga. Instead, it’s the art, science, and outright insanity of taking classic two-stroke Vespas, stripping them down, and turning them into motocross-worthy machines. The resulting down and dirty Northern Italian mayhem looks an awful lot like the following:

 

 

 

Modern four-stroke Vespas simply won’t do for this exercise. They’re too heavy and not as much fun to modify into serious VespaCross machines. Keep those as your modern road-going machines and bring the old bikes down to the MX track. You wouldn’t use a hammer in place of a screwdriver, right? It’s all about the right tool for the job, even when that job is “thrashing a classic Italian scooter around a dirt track within an inch of its life.” 

In the video, Zack and Ari get schooled in the fine art of turning their scoot into an MX-appropriate machine. They’re paired off with another team of Italian scooter experts who are, quite naturally, veterans of the Vespa MX wars, and can turn a scoot into a race-ready machine in no time flat. Our two intrepid moto journalists have plenty of wrenching experience but insist on things like using gloves to pack bearing grease—to which the Italian Vespa experts just laugh. 

Will they succeed? Apparently, we’ll have to subscribe to find out. If you didn’t already know that VespaCross existed as a sport, you do now. Isn’t this incredibly important knowledge a great way to start the new year?