Motocross, or as the rest of the world likes to call it, off-road motorcycle racing, isn’t exactly a new sport. You see, it’s got a bit of history behind it. In this blog, we’re going to explore some of that history. Though we won’t be able to cover every tiny detail, we’ll try and take a good look at all the key milestones.
So, let’s begin.
The birthplace of motocross is the UK (United Kingdom), where it can be traced back to the 1900s. It is believed that the Auto-Cycle Clubs would carry out time trials. These trials eventually evolved into “scrambles,” which were off-road events.
The first official “scramble” was held in Camberley, Surrey in 1924. So, yes, you could say that this was the first proto-motocross event. From there, the sport has come a long way.
Like it is with most good things, motocross began to attract a lot of attention. This caused it to grow in scale and popularity. Soon, competitions and motocross clubs started popping up all over the UK. Even team-based events started to show up.
Now, at the time, the motorcycles used weren’t exactly designed for off-roading. So, in order to ensure the future growth of the sport, the motorcycles had to be updated. That’s how the motorcycles went from being regular machines to off-road-ready beasts.
One of the most significant innovations was the swinging arm suspension, which allowed the motorcycles to adapt to complex and difficult courses.
This was around the same time as World War II when motorcycle manufacturing was a thriving industry. After the war, the demand for motorcycles among civilians grew, and engines evolved into 250cc “monsters” from frugal 50cc units.
This made them more agile. At the same time, the bikes were losing weight, which meant better speed. All these elements came together to deliver excellent motorcycles that were ideal for the sport of motocross.
It was in the 70s that the sport saw maximum growth. You see, the Americans had now taken an interest in Motocross. This led to the development of some exciting international competitions. The first stadium event took place in the LA Coliseum.
In 1975, the world saw the birth of the 125cc World Championship, and in the 1980s, the US started securing wins in many of the international competitions.
This was also the same time the second wave of innovation occurred. The water-cooled engine came into being, along with the rear mono-shock suspension. Soon, we also had a major shift in production standards and other considerations.
Today, the motocross is a thriving sport, littered with sponsorship deals and a whole lot of funding. You also have many variations of the sport, such as the Supercross, the Freestyle, and the Supermoto.
So, yes, the future of motocross isn’t bleak at all.