What is Motocross?
Motocross is an off-road sport where motorcycles race in enclosed dirt courses. Events include time trials, big races, and trick competitions. Motocross events are not popular on TV, but more prominent events are often broadcasted. Participants require protective equipment for this dangerous sport, as courses boast big jumps and tight corners.
Motocross began to appear in the United Kingdom around 1900. People would time themselves on a dirt course, also known as a time trial. Competitions and team events emerged as popularity grew. New bikes were invented after World War II, and the United States also gained interest in the sport, propelling it to new heights. Today, events like freestyle, supercross, and big air offer large cash prizes to winners.
Motocross racing courses have dirt surfaces for both indoor and outdoor competitions. Indoor courses may have a drainage system below the dirt to make it easier to remove after racing. Dirt courses are known to be bumpy, forcing riders to be more focused when riding on this type of surface.
Equipment is one of the most important aspects of motocross, as preparation is key to avoiding injury. In addition to a bike, a rider has equipment for their entire body. A helmet, uniform, gloves, and boots complete the look of a motocross rider.
Here is the essential motocross equipment you should have:
- Chest Protector
In traditional motocross, the goal is to win the race. It is not recommended to stay in front the whole race unless a rider has a big lead. It is better to make a move towards the end of the race so that no one can catch up. Focus on positioning and watch out for accidents.
Rules and Regulations
Recent motocross rules have more to do with riders than the race itself. For example, MX Sports has outlawed the use of costumes by riders, requiring an official uniform. Other rules include registration restrictions to ages 18+ and limitations as to who can view video recordings from helmet cameras.
Here are the most important Motocross rules you should know:
- Must be 18 or older to race in AMA Nationals
- Costumes are prohibited
- Helmet camera video clips limited to 60 seconds
Having good awareness and technique while on your bike will go a long way when racing in motocross. Not focusing on the course will result in poor performance. Like other sports, studying and practicing is just as important as the race itself. Below is a list of techniques that you can work on to prepare for motocross races.
Here are the most important motocross strategies you should know:
- Looking ahead for the next obstacle
- Stand on the balls and arches of your feet
- Keep your weight in the middle of the bike
- Use the rear brake while standing
- Have proper grip positioning for accelerating and braking
Here is the common terminology and slang in Motocross:
DNF: This term translates to "Did Not Finish" and means that a rider was unable to cross the finish line. Most commonly, DNF's are attributed to accidents during the race where either the rider is injured or the bike is no longer rideable. A DNF does not mean automatically coming in last place. Essentially, it means you never raced at all.
LCQ: LCQ is known as Last Chance Qualifiers for racers looking to get to the next round of a tournament or race. These qualifiers occur after all of the regularly scheduled races have been completed and most riders are qualified. The last slots open for the next round will then be given to those who perform well in the Last Chance Qualifiers. If you fail to race well in the LCQ's, you will be out of the tournament/race.
OEM: OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the bike purchased for motocross activities. Some notable motocross Original Equipment Manufacturers are Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. Many riders and teams have sponsorship deals with these OEM's, where the companies provide them bikes and gear in return for advertising during races. These types of deals are not limited to motocross; another great example of OEM's being heavily involved is in NASCAR.
OTB: OTB is a dangerous situation known as "Over The Bar." This occurs when the bike stops short or makes contact with something, making the rider fly over the handlebars and off of the bike. This can cause injury and most commonly happens when a rider gets brake checked at high speeds. It can also happen when a rider does not land their bike correctly after a jump. If you ever sense that you might go over the bar, do not hang onto the bike as it may cause more damage.
The most famous motocross riders are masters at their craft and have won multiple championships. The top three male riders have combined for over 250 victories in their motocross careers. Jeremy McGrath holds a total of 72 personal wins, the most of any rider. On the women's side, Ashley Fiolek is known as one of the best motocross competitors, who also happens to be deaf.
Here are the most famous Motocross riders you should know:
- Jeremy McGrath
- James Stewart
- Ricky Carmichael
- Ashley Fiolek
Events and Competitions
The two most popular motocross leagues are based in the United States and Europe. The AMA motocross circuit runs from May to August each year and has races at 12 locations throughout the USA. There are three classes of races, including one section for women's riders. Located in Europe, the FIM Championship is the main motocross event in the world. These races have three classes and often last around 30 minutes.
Here are the most popular Motocross leagues you should know:
- AMA Motocross Championship
- FIM Motocross World Championship
What are the three motocross classes?
The three classes are 250cc, 450cc and 250cc (women's).
How much does a motocross bike cost?
The average motocross bike, also known as a dirt bike, ranges in price from $2,000 to $8,000.
What types of events involve motocross?
Motocross includes regular races, time trials, and trick competitions. Normal races have about 30 riders in a race, while time trials and trick events are single rider competitions.