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Jump in the saddle, hit the gas an ride off into the forest – motocross is the perfect activity for a dirty weekend.
Since evolving from the many motorcycle trials competitions that were popular across the UK, participation levels in motocross and supercross (the indoor equivalent) in are increasing across Britain. With the popularity of competitions such as the X Games, the FIM Motocross World Championship and the Dakar Rally, many young riders are trying out motocross and dreaming of becoming the next Ricky Carmichael.
But what is behind the increase, and why is motocross succeeding where other types of motorsport appear to be struggling?
We all know about the thrill that riding a motocross bike can give. With a small, high-revving engine sat between your legs and a lightweight frame, the challenge of guiding a motocross bike over some tough terrain provides excitement that can’t be beat. If you can get a bit of air under your wheels – even better!
But one factor that really makes motocross stand out is that it is one of the cheapest forms of motorsport to get involved in. A second-hand bike can be collected relatively inexpensively and because they are so simple in their design, maintenance can be done cheaply and relatively easily.
Entry fees are also low, compared to other forms of motor racing, and it’s easy to take your bike almost anywhere. You don’t have to live within easy reach of a race circuit – you can ride casually on any open land (that you have permission to ride on) and compete officially at any number of motocross tracks around the country.
Insurance is also a factor and many insurers are now realising the benefits of providing low-cost cover for off-road bikes. Carole Nash
, for example, is one company that specifically targets off-road riders with affordable insurance for motocross bikes. Such insurance usually doesn’t allow the bike to be ridden on the road, but it does cover the bike against theft or vandalism – meaning that you can keep up your hobby even if the unexpected happens.
Motocross is also a fantastic way to get your first foot on the ladder to a career as a professional motorcycle racer. Some of the top riders in MotoGP, World Superbikes and British Superbikes started out as motocross riders and many pros still ride motocross bikes as part of their training between races as the challenging terrain gives their bodies a good workout as they prepare to take 1,000 superbikes around some of the world’s toughest circuits.
So motocross is on the up, not just in this country but around the world. If you’ve noticed more riders at your next motocross meet, maybe it’s because even more people have discovered the thrill of a dirty weekend.