The creation of basic motorcycle racing in Britain in the early 1900s lead to the formation of today’s widespread popularity of motocross, Supercross, and Harescrambles in the United States. Today, Motocross is one of America’s and Great Britain’s most widely known sports, steadily growing in popularity. Classes are broken down by engine displacement, the rider’s skill level, or the rider’s or bike’s age. One of the most popular types of cross country is called motocross. When raced on the professional level, it is called a National, or an Outdoor.
There are outside, on a large open course. The terrain is natural, and it is very hard on the rider and the bike. While it is slowly being dominated by Supercross, is a big hit with fans and most riders. Some riders don’t like the nationals because they find that Supercross is the future of the sport. In motocross, there are 2 motos. A moto is a short race that usually lasts ? hour plus 2 laps on the national level. There are 4 main motos run, two for 125s and 2 for 250s. The order the motos are run is a 125 moto, a 250 moto, the next 125 moto, and the last 250 moto. 125 and 250 is the engine displacement.
The most popular bike for the 125s is actually a 250f, which is a 250cc 4 stroke. Like all engines, all motocross bikes are either 2 strokes or 4 strokes. The bike of choice is a 4 stroke as they put out more horsepower and are better for the task at hand. In fact, the American motorcycle association, which is the organizing sanction of American Motocross, is working on making 2 strokes illegal in all nationals and supercrosses. 2 strokes, nowadays, are rarely seen on the track at the nationals, simply because they aren’t competitive and enviromentalists find then hazardous to the environment.
In the 250 class, this class applies to all 250 2 strokes and 450 4 strokes. Like with the 125 class, 450s are more common in this class as it is a 4 stroke and displaces more power. This class is just as competitive as the 125s, but with bigger bikes. The 2 strokes in this class are so dead, Honda, one of the leading motocross bike manufacturers, will no longer be selling they’re 2 strokes in the United States. Another manufacturer, Yamaha, has taken an alternate route and decided to put more money into they’re 2 strokes. Another form of cross country motocross is called hare scrambles.
This form of racing was the original form and has shaped motocross as what it is today. It is still well and alive. The AMA also sanctions this form of racing. This is also referred to as GNCC racing. GNCC stands for Grand National cross country. GNCC racing is over all natural courses, unlike a motocross track which has some manmade jumps. Cross country racing is through woods, and there would such obstacles as logs, steams, and anything else you would encounter in the forest. On the national level, riders are required to change they’re own tires to signify that they can work on they’re bikes too.
While 4 strokes are popular on the motocross track, almost every “woods” bike you will see is a 2 stroke. This is because 2 strokes have more of a jumpy motor, and is more sensitive to the throttle, thus the power is there when you need it, which is very important in woods racing. Also, for GNCC racing, the bikes are set up very differently then motocross bikes. They are geared taller, which means that there is more power per gear. The bikes that are used for XC racing have 5 or 6 gears. GNCC racing takes a special kind of rider. “Old motocrossers never die, they just join the GNCC! You heard the term “Supercross” before. Supercross is a “sport of kings” as described by some. A supercross is run indoors in a giant coliseum. The track is completely man-made, with a track nothing like a motocross course. The tracks are very tight and it is very hard on the riders to muscle around the bikes they are on. It’s a huge hit with fans and riders. The same riders that have signed with a factory ride race both nationals and Supercross. Supercross, like all other Aspects of this sport, is raced on the national and amateur level. A supercross is broken down by different motos.
To qualify for the main event, there are 2 qualifiers and a LCQ (last chance qualifier). In the qualifiers, they take the top 10 finishers, and in the LCQ they take the top 2 finishers. The main event is 20 laps, which usually takes about a ? hour to complete. Motocross started in the early 1900s after WW1 in Great Britain, outside of London a short 10 miles from Windsor Castle. The unconventional bikes they rode were simple 250 2 strokes with puny suspension and motors that were cursed with engine problems. In Great Britain, they were raced in “scrambles” – 20 mile courses over the countryside.
The first organized scramble was said to of been the Southern Scott Scramble. They quickly came to this side of the Atlantic, to the Crotona Motorcycle Club in Crotona, NY. It turned from weekend warrior racing to competitive racing as outdoor nationals started being formed that were being won by today’s motocross heroes like Roger Decoster and Joel Robert. While today’s popular motocross bikes are “the big five” – Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, KTM, and Kawasaki – the popular bikes back when the sport was still evolving were Husqvarna, Bultaco, CZ, and Maico.
Those bikes are all rare collectables nowadays, and there is even a special class today for the “vintage” bikes. The evolution of motocross still thrives! Some of the sport’s greatest riders include David Bailey, Ricky “GOAT” Carmichael, Jeremy “Showtime” McGrath and James “Bubba” Stewart. David Bailey was born in San Diego, CA on December 31, 1961. Some of his achievements in the sport include AMA Pro Athlete of the Year 1983, AMA 250cc Outdoor Champion 1983, AMA 500cc Outdoor Champion 1984 ; 1986, and AMA 250cc Supercross Champion 1983. Bailey was paralyzed at the end of the 1987 season and is wheelchair bound for life.
One could say that Ricky Carmichael is the greatest rider ever. Nicknamed the GOAT, which stands for Greatest of All Time, RC started riding motorcycles at the age of 3 and was winning on Modified KX60s at age 9. Now nearing 30 years old, which is very old for the sport, he has won some of the greatest accomplishments such as AMA Sports Athlete of the Year 1996, AMA Pro Athlete of the Year 2001, 2002, and 2004, AMA 125cc Outdoor Champion 1997, 1998, 1999, AMA 250cc Outdoor Champion 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, and AMA 250cc Supercross Champion 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006.
Another rider that is a favorite among fans is Jeremy McGrath. Now retired, his nickname now is “Part-Time” in conjunction to his nickname when he was actively racing which was “Show-Time”. Considered the Ricky Carmichael of his time, and still one of the greatest riders ever, some if his accomplishments are AMA Pro Athlete of the Year 1996, AMA 250cc Outdoor Champion 1995, AMA 250cc Supercross Champion 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000, the FIM World Supercross Champion 1994 and 1995. “Part-Time” now races Stock Cars and has an Autobiography called Wide Open.
Another rider that is currently making record books is James “Bubba” Stewart – but for different reasons. “Bubba” is the first black male to achieve so highly in the sport and make it to the national level. After a record smashing amateur career, he was the youngest rider to win a 125cc main Supercross at 16 years, 21 days. Now in his early 20s, some of Bubba’s major accomplishments include AMA 125cc National Motocross Champion 2002 ; 2004, AMA 125cc Supercross Champion 2003 ; 2004, and is currently feeling the pressure to stand up to the greats of Ricky Carmichael as the
GOAT nears retirement. 2 stroke or 4 stroke, CRF50 or CRF450, young or old, Motocross is one of the most widely growing sports all over the world. It owes its popularity to the “Southern Scott Scramble” on that wet morning outside of London in the early 1900s. Motocross is still one of America’s favorite sports, and is consistently growing and changing. While the environmentalists may one day ban all motorcycles, the legend will live on just like the bikes, the riders, and the memories.