Motorcycle Racing – the Motorcycle Sport of Racing Motorcycles
According to the official body Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) there are four main categories. Each of which can be divided into a number of sub-categories. The popularity of motorcycle racing has been steadily increasing in popularity, since the first races were officially held in 1895.
This category includes racing on hard surfaces, such as roads and other tarmac surfaces. The races can either be held on public roads (temporarily closed to the general public) or on purpose built tracks or circuits. There are various types of road racing, for example:
- Traditional road racing - this type of motorcycle race used to be very popular. Now, because of safety issues there are very few that still survive. The races were historically held on public roads, temporarily closed to the usual traffic. One of the most famous is the Isle of Man TT.
- Motorcycle Grand Prix - this is a category that the top riders compete in and includes Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP. Moto3 is for four-stroke, single cylinder 250cc engines. Moto2 is for larger 600cc four-stroke engines. While MotoGP is for four-stroke engines of 1000cc. All the motorcycles being raced are prototypes.
- Superbike racing - these races are for machines that have profiles the same as road going versions. In other words they are slightly modified production machines. The engines must be four-stroke, either twin engines or traditional four cylinder machines.
- Supersport racing - these machines are also modified production models. But those taking part have to comply with much stricter regulations. Four-stroke engines have to be between 400 and 600cc for four-cylinder machines. And between 600 and 750cc for twin engine machines.
- Endurance racing - as well as testing the rider, this type of race also tests the machines. The race takes place over a long distance but it's possible for riders to change during the race.
- Sidecar racing - there are a number of subcategories for this type of race including sidecarcross, sidecar trials, F1/F2 road racing and historic road racing.
While very similar to road racing, motocross takes place off-road. Often, the circuit will be one made of mud, grass, sand or dirt, with elevation changes that can be man-made or natural. One other difference to road racing is that the competitors all line up next to each other at the start of the race. There are generally, a number of different classes and these depend on rider age, size of the machine, rider ability, age of the machine and type.
- Supercross - sometimes called indoor motocross, this type of event is a technical one rather than a race. It's very popular in North America and is held is some of the biggest stadiums.
- Supermoto - this is an event that combines the best of road-racing and motocross. The machines being used are mainly motocross types with road-racing tires. And the race is held on a track that combines road and dirt.
Enduro and cross-country
- Enduro - a type of off-road motorcycle sport testing the endurance of the rider. Competitors usually have to complete a 10+ mile lap that is mostly off-road, often through woods or forest. The race will be made up of a number of stages, each with a target time to complete the stage in. A number of tests are also included.
- Hare scramble - competitors in this type of off-road race have to complete a certain number of laps. They race around a marked course that incudes rugged terrain and often wooded areas. The rider who is able to maintain the highest average speed will be the winner.
- Cross-country rally - these events are held over several days and feature larger machines. Riders are required to travel hundreds of miles, often over rough, open terrain. One famous example, that also includes other vehicles is the Dakar Rally.
Usually held on oval tracks these events can involve teams of riders or individuals.
- Indoor short track and TT racing - takes place on either a polished concrete floor with coke syrup or dirt. This material is hard-packed and moist. Participants have to be skilled in throttle control as the tracks tend to be very tight. In the US this type of event is particularly popular and held on tracks between half to one mile long.
- Speedway - the track for this type of race is made of loosely packed shale or dirt. The machines are very special in that they only have one gear and no brakes at all. Riders negotiate the corners by sliding sideways into them. The rear wheel is used to help slow them down but also provides the n
- Grasstrack - this event takes place on tracks that are more than 400 meters in length. Hence another name for this type of race, long track. The track is outdoors and usually made of grass, sometimes with elevations as additional features. The machines for this type of race also have no brakes, but they do have two gears and suspension at the rear of the machine.
- Ice speedway - this race is held on an oval track made of ice, usually between 260 and 425 meters long. The participants race in an anti-clockwise direction. In order to improve traction the wheels are allowed to have either metal spikes or screws.
- Board track - this type of race is no longer as popular as when it was first introduced. It reached a pinnacle in popularity at the beginning of the 20th century, in the US. Races where held on oval courses made of wooden planks.
- Auto race - this is a Japanese version of track racing. Events are held on an oval course made of asphalt and it is considered to be a gambling sport.