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Project 809 Featured in Racer X

By Brett Smith

As a bonus to the story portion of Project 809 (movie, article and podcast still under construction), the bike was featured in the Garage Build department of the February 2023 issue of Racer X Illustrated and on the Racer X YouTube channel (scroll down to watch). The text below is what I wrote for the feature in the Racer X magazine issue.

1996 Honda CR125 Clean

I owe a big thank you to Andrew Frederickson for making space in the magazine and Mitch Kendra (photos) and Alexander Glass (video) for driving out to Tomahawk MX on a very crappy and wet day.

Garage Build: 1996 Honda CR125 (AKA: Project 809)

This was simply about feeling 17 years old again. But it didn’t start with a bike. It started with the ultimate nudge: a sticker kit. As a belated Christmas gift, Throttle Jockey sent me a graphics set to fit a 1996 Honda CR125. It even included my old District 14 riding number (809). This is a bike I hadn’t owned in 25 years. Within minutes of opening the package I said to myself, “Well, now we have to go find a CR125.”

Project 809. How and Why We Did It

Reconnecting with our youth through motorcycles is pretty much the modus operandi of We Went Fast. Nine days after receiving the decals, I drove through a sleet storm to pick up rescue an abused 1996 CR125. This was the bike I raced to my only top 10 finish at the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s (7th, 1996 125 B Stock!). We used the same bike to get 14th in 125 A Stock a year later and finally, on Labor Day weekend 1997, I failed to qualify for the Steel City Pro Motocross National. That was the end of my racing ‘career’. I went to college.

The goal was to end with the same bike I had as a teenager, which meant a stock motorcycle. It wasn’t until I unloaded at home that I realized the bike needed way more than a Throttle Jockey graphics kit. It needed a complete overhaul. I’m not a bike builder. Or a mechanic. And I can cross-thread a bolt faster than you can say, “braaaap!” Don’t let me near your bike with a wrench.

Like the products you see in the video? Support We Went Fast!

I’m a story teller and grateful that my favorite dealership, Fredericktown Moto, appreciates the power of a good story, even if that means using sledgehammers and blowtorches to remove the lower linkage bolt that was already hanging halfway out of the collar (remember, this was a rescue cycle). Ian Riley and Ryan Brandenburg gave up precious days off and shop space to help with this dream. Wossner Pistons threw their entire catalog of high-performance parts into the engine and they got it onto the workbench of Brandon Haas at DH1 Mods, where it went through a thorough cleanup and rebuild.

In the end, Project 809 was about more than just the motorcycle. It was about strengthening friendships and creating new ones. It helped me find an entire community within the community. Building a better 1996 CR125 was not the goal. Like most bikes of this era, it had strong and weak points on each side of the extreme spectrum (one shootout called it a “125 road racer with knobbies”. I just wanted to be a kid again. And now I’m hitting the occasional track day with friends.

That’s a mission accomplished.

These Companies Made Project 809 Possible


Moral support, high fives, shop space and professional mechanic; bearings, bolt kits, chain, sprockets, brakes, Genuine Honda OEM parts and much, much more.


Piston, connecting rod, bearings, gaskets


Complete engine rebuild and vapor honing.



Ultra Racing Castor Premix, Hy-Speed Gear Lube for 2-stroke Engines


Hard parts restoration. Rebuilt silencer, vapor honed swingarm, carburetor, hubs, calipers and more.



Graphics Kit


MICHELIN® StarCross® 5 Medium front, MICHELIN® StarCross® 5 Medium rear

834 MOTO

Exhaust restoration and cleaning


78 bars (80mm height), grips and donuts.


Moto Box Tool Set.


Powdercoated frame and subframe


Fork/shock rebuild and re-valve


D.I.D. Dirt Star rims laced by Keith at KSR


Straightened and braced radiators. Fixed leaks.

Thanks for reading! Share this story with a friend. And if you need to send someone a gift, I want to help! Hit me up at

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