Motocross, or MX, is a type of motorcycle racing in which racers riders compete in courses marked out with berms and jumps over rough, earthy terrain. The length of the courses range between one and three miles at the international level. Courses can contain steep uphill and downhill grades, wet or muddy areas, and multiple banked turns and jumps.
Motocross evolved from motorcycle trials in the U.K. held in the early 1900s. The time trials eventually turned into off-road events called scrambles, with the first competitive off-road scramble recorded in England in 1924. While the U.S. had experimented with some off-road motorcycle events of its own, it didn’t start booming until the late 1960s when the European model was introduced by Edison Dye, an entrepreneur who owned a motorcycle touring business. Today, he is affectionately referred to as the father of U.S. motocross.
The sport can be dangerous, and as such riders wear a ton of protective equipment: helmets, goggles, padded nylon pants, chest protectors, padded gloves and specialty boots. Motocrossers use two-stroke and four-stroke dirt bikes with rugged tires and suspensions designed for dirt, mud and rocks.
There are a variety of types:
• SuperCross (SX) – Takes place on artificial dirt tracks often built in stadiums with steep jumps and frequent turns. The sport’s biggest event is the AMA Supercross Championship, which has been ongoing since 1974.
• Freestyle (FMX) – This is not a race and rather athletes are judged on their performance of tricks and acrobatic stunts. Judges evaluate drivers based on a variety of metrics, including best trick, longest air time, best use of course, difficulty, and style. FMX was introduced to the X Games in 1999 and its current adaption of the big air event is called Moto X.
• Super Moto – A race conducted on a motocross bike with road tires that can take drivers over different types of surfaces tarmac to dirt with motocross obstacles.
• Enduro - a type of endurance cross country racing event judged by time trial.