One of the most popular motorcycling sports of all times, motocross started as a kind of all-terrain racing event that took place on off-road circuits, muddy, hilly, slushy or rocky routes and sharp turns. The sport had its origin in the early part of the twentieth century in Great Britain. It was then famous as Scrambles and slowly gained popularity among many European nations in the 1920s and 30s. Motocross was the term that came later and was derived from the combination of the French word motocyclette meaning motorcycle and cross-country.
Since the first off-road event in 1924 in Camberly, Surrey motocross has become quite a rage with motorcycling fanatics and this fad continues till date. Motocross racing comprises forty riders who compete on a particular track simultaneously. Usually, a professional race lasts for at least half an hour. However, amateur motocross races are usually only thirty minutes long.
The machines used in motocross racing are lighter than regular motorcycles. While motocross championships in the 1950s started with 500cc engines, 250cc engines were introduced in 1957, and the even lighter 125cc category in 1975.
The sport of motocross requires extreme grit and physical fitness of the rider. Add to that the thirst for adventure, and you have the perfect motorcycling enthusiast. Racing on uneven surfaces that could entail high jumps and heavy bumps is not everyones cup of tea. A motocross rider, therefore, must be willing to face the worst case scenario if he or she wants to race and compete.
Since such perils lie ahead of the rider, the gear that he or she must wear is of critical importance. Protective helmet, boots, pants, jersey, knee guards, gloves, chest protectors, and sunglasses form the attire of a motocross rider.
A race of motocross generally comprises 2 “motos”, each being five to eight laps long. The count of each rider in each moto helps determine the winner. The rider to reach the finish line first scores the highest number of points.
Technology has also had strong influence on the sport of motocross. Advances in motorcycling techniques and engines have enhanced racing and the machines being used. While motocross racing began with four-stroke engines, two-stroke ones finally paved the way for more powerful and efficient racing bikes to enter the motocross scenario. Along the years, even more enhanced features such as water-cooling systems and mono-shock absorbers were added, giving motocross an even greater thrust.
The sport of motocross gained popularity across Europe, where it had originated, during the 1950s. In the decades to follow it crossed international waters and became one of the best-loved motorcycling sports in the United States as well. Australia and New Zealand are the other countries where motocross is a rage among motorcycling enthusiasts of all ages.
This transformation in the sports history was also marked by the shift in Belgian, British, Swedish and Czechoslovakian dominance to American positions at the races. Another significant advance in motocross world was the entry of Japanese motorcycle manufacturers into a sphere ruled by European companies so far. All these transformations and enhancements in motocross history have been instrumental in creating a sport that is international in stature and wildly loved throughout the world.