Supercross Motorcycle Racing: A History

By Owen Jones

The history of motorcycle racing goes back just about as far as when the first pair of motorcycles were sold. In those early days of motorcycle racing, people just raced down a stretch of road or over a beach; whatever was on hand really. In deed there were not many decent roads to speak of either, not in the modern sense of the word.

So people just made do with dirt tracks. As time went on and the dirt clogged some engines, races were held on asphalt and proper race tracks were created by entrepreneurs. It is comical when you think about it, because the sport of motorcycle racing has almost turned full circle, in many aspects.

All the types of motorbike racing that have existed are still being raced somewhere in the world. Flat track racing is still popular, but the riders and the producers and ultimately, the punters wanted more thrills and faster races, so supercross motorcycle racing came into being.

Supercross motorbike racing is off-road racing, but the off-road terrain is man-made. This way 'natural' hazards such as tight bends, small hills and even ponds can be put in, taken out and moved about at leisure in order to vary the course. It has made motorbike racing much more exhilarating, bringing cross country racing to the arena where it can be watched and filmed more easily.

The objective, as with all races, is to finish first, but with supercross racing, there are a lot of competitors in each race and the course is very challenging. So much so that it is a triumph even to pass the finishing line leave alone win the race.

Supercross motorcycle racing is really a variation of motorcross, although motorcross is held in the countryside. With supercross they have brought the countryside into the arena. Because of this, it is difficult to put an exact date on the birth of supercross. It just kind of evolved bit by bit.

Motorcross started to attract viewers in the Seventies, but crafty entrepreneurs noticed that it was not easy to charge fans for standing on the roadside, which is why they brought supercross into the arena. The first time the term Supercross was used was in the Los Angeles Coliseum, when a promoter said that that racing occasion was like a cross between motorcross and the Superbowl. The term supercross was coined and stuck.

Supercross motorcycle racing teams are similar in many ways to the NASCAR racing teams in that they are large teams that travel the country putting on shows or races in various stadia, often the very same ones that a NASCAR team has just been at. However, amateur supercross also exists, albeit mostly just on a local level. Most, but certainly not all local supercross courses are in the open.

Often, these supercross races will be held either once a week or once a fortnight.. Television has increased the popularity of both professional and amateur supercross and has provided money to make the sport much more spectacular.

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