Automobile racing began in the late 1800’s after the invention of internal combustion engines. Aren’t we thankful to Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir, the Belgian who invented internal combustion engines? Oh yes, we are! Initially, racing was a reliability test of the engines and consisted of what we call today, endurance racing. However, the distance for the first race back in 1894 was approximately 80kms from Paris to Rouen, France.
Racing, today, has come a long way. It has evolved to suit the likes of every individual and there is a wide range of formats to choose from.
Off-road racing is a format of racing where various classes of specially modified vehicles (including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and buggies) compete in races through off-road environments. I believe off-road racing carries the foundation of automobile racing within itself and it is taking the spirit forward. Off-road racing subdivides into many different types of races that are organised around the globe and the popular ones are supercross, motocross, freestyle motocross, enduro racing and endurocross.
Motorcycle off-road racing’s and motorcycle racing’s governing body in general is Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM, Federation of International Motorcycling) founded in 1904 with its headquarters in Miles, Switzerland.
Supercross races are off-road motorcycle races that are held in large sports stadiums or venues created specifically for the same. Supercross tracks consist of dirt, sand, mud, grass/steep hills, dirt roads, and muddy tracks, sharp turns and other obstacles. These tracks generally have much tighter turns and are more technical when compared to motocross tracks due to the limited space of an indoor arena. The supercross season takes place during the winter and spring months, partially due to more controllable indoor climates involved.
Motocross races are off-road motorcycle races which are held on closed off-road circuits. A motocross track consists of all the elements of a supercross track but it involves moderate turns. In essence, motocross is a milder version of its big brother, Supercross. Initially, motocross evolved from trials and was called Scrambles at first.
Arenacross, also known as AX, consists of Supercross-style courses that are downsized to fit into smaller venues such as ice hockey and basketball stadiums. The popularity of AX is growing since smaller cities that do not have a large football or baseball stadium can host Arenacross races.
Dirt track racing consists of motorcycle racing on clay or dirt surfaced oval tracks. It began in the United States before World War I and became widespread during the 1920s and 30s. Dirt track bikes have engine capacities of 250cc, 350cc and 500cc in the solo classes and can reach speeds of up to 80 mph (130 km/h) on the straights and they race with no brakes! MotoGP riders and road racers in general practice on dirt tracks to train themselves to get faster in their races.