I have been working on a putting together a strategy for a few years about how to help the sport of motocross grow in participation at the grassroots level.
I started working it when I had to close a business I started.
After the business failure I was very depressed, So I started studying successful people I started reading and watching entrepreneurial videos by people like
What are they doing differently?
how did they get where they are?
Inspirational people Like Ryan Dungey and Richard Rawlings....
My favorite book is "Think and grow" Rich by Napoleon Hill.
I am in my early 40's and if I could go back and tell my 18 year old self anything it would be to read that book over and over!
Somewhere around at that time I read a quote that said
(''If you want to make a million dollars solve a million dollar problem")
And another that said
("if you work on something you are passionate about you'll never work a day in your life")
I'm sure I have heard both before but at that time I really took them to heart and let my imagination run wild with them.
And it made me think about motocross which is the thing I am the most passionate about. Solve a million dollar problem, So does motocross have a problem? Yes it does, it has a million or maybe a multimillion dollar problem.
around that time I also read a book Richard Rawlings (Gas monkey) wrote in the book he said he was unhappy in his career and when he finally figured out what he really wanted to do he realized that "it had been staring him in the face all along".
After reading that all I could think about was motocross!
I watch every race and I read about Motocross online every day, I study the sport of MX like it's my job, it's kind of my escape in life, I don't work in the industry but like most people have been watching the sport struggle with participation numbers at the local level for many years, and I have watched as participation and sales numbers declined, So the million dollar problem is the decline,
looking back now I realize that I switched at some point from just reading about it for fun to analyzing the sport and doing research about the history of the sport and trying to think of ways to help grow the sport. People are monkey see monkey do and in our sport the momentum is going the wrong way... whenever this is brought up in discussions online these are the reasons given.
2. Injuries, more severe injuries, and increased danger level, fear of injuries
3. Lack of places to ride.
4. Public perception, people see it as extreme.
5. Switch from two stroke to four stroke
6. Evolution, faster bike's
7. Evolution of the tracks, bigger jumps. less natural terrain tracks.
8. Some people blame to many classes and say they get very little seat time on race day.
9. Kids don't want to do things outside, instead just want to play on phones, computers, video games.
10.Lawsuits, Tree Huggers
I believe that the key to re-igniting the sport of motocross can be found in the history, by looking back to the 70's and 80's and recognizing and understanding how and when things changed, Only then can we take the necessary steps to fix them.
I can see lots of reasons for the decline, and I can see things in hindsight that could have been done to keep things thriving.
But more importantly I can see things that could be done now to get the sport growing again Ibelieve in a big way, I often think who am I to think this big but I truly think I can help.
I have it broken down into steps that are possible if the right people get behind the Ideas.
Let's start by looking at the current route someone takes to become a motocross racer, the most popular way is a Yamaha PW50, or similar 50cc bike, this is a very mellow smooth powered easy to ride easy to learn on bike that is also very reliable and easy to maintain, most kids fit this bike from 4 to 8 years old, this is a great way to get started in the sport if your parents choose to get you into the sport at the age of 8 yrs old and under.
From there is where we have a problem, the reason I say we have a problem is that the next step in American amateur motocross after a 50cc bike is a 65cc 2 stroke race bike, typically ridden by kids from age 8 to 12 yrs old. these are liquid cooled 6 speed race bikes and they rip. it's a big step up, but one kids usually make if they started on the mellow automatic 50's
However if the 65 was your first bike and you are thrown in with experienced kids it's not an easy way for a kid to learn.
From there it goes
Most motocross races in America follow the Loretta Lynn's/AMA schedule, LL show 36 classes all on the above listed bikes.
So why is that a problem?
because the 65cc and up bikes are full on race bikes, if you are above the age of 8yrs old you are at a big disadvantage when it comes to learning, and its Same with the 85cc bikes and bigger bikes these are not beginner level bikes, And this is more of a problem now than it was in the past and I believe it is a big part of the reason for the decline, because in the past kids used to start on play bikes and ride on trails or self made tracks near home and that is not possible anymore in most suburbs of America.
so people that get into motocross are usually riding only on tracks most of the time.
So for example say a kid is 14 years old and he talks his parents into buying him his first bike, they get him an 85cc race bike because that's what other kids his age ride. They take him to the race track where he will be racing against kids that have been doing this their whole lives, he will either be rolling all the jumps, or he will be doing endo's or nose wheelies off of every jump all the way around the track, I have seen this scenario play out many times. he will get lapped and be lucky not to crash and get hurt. And a good percentage of the time the kid starts to not like MX anymore even if he was fired up and couldn't wait to try it. (We need a bunny hill)
And the fact that there is no good way for an older kid or an adult to get started in Mx racing is only part of the problem.
The next problem is the way the tracks have evolved,
The riders are on very capable race bikes and I understand that, but a lot of times the track builders get a little carried away, they are making full on pro level tracks with big high speed obstacles that are dangerous and not geared towards beginners.
(it's a task to keep it interesting for the seasoned riders and make is easy)
There is not much room for error on these tracks and if you crash at the speeds we are going these days there is a good chance you will break bones.
How can you keep the new guy around if he gets hurt?
(I believe that there are solutions for this if we all get on the same page)
The next problem is Cost.
MX used to be a blue collared sport, but these days a lot of the blue collared guys have been priced out of the sport, especially young entry level guys in the workforce.
and it's not only the cost of the bikes, and gear, it's also paying to ride, paying to practice, race fee's, in the past we did not pay to practice, we would go find a local field and made a track and we could ride for free there, but in this way the sport hasn't changed with the times, and finding ways to create new places to ride is very much needed. it isn't as easy anymore, but it isn't impossible either, It takes a group of people willing to organize and work hard at it together. There are ways we could help people nationwide find or create local riding areas.
On the flipside of that above we couldn't go practice at the big nice sanctioned groomed race tracks they were usually only open on race day, so I can see the positives of having that and it would have been nice to have the option.
but from a financial standpoint we couldn't have road there much.
without having the tracks we made in the neighborhood I don't think most of us would have gotten bikes our parent just wouldn't have bought them, and I'm sure that is happening now, so if you think about that its likely a big reason why a lot of parents aren't getting their kids dirt bikes now days, and I believe we can organize and get more practice tracks started and build some momentum,
I want to start "The motocross is Back Movement"
I Have a detailed strategy laid out, that involves Some tweaks to the rules, that address Cost and Safety, and make changes that make it easy for new people of all ages to get started in the sport. These same changes would also bring back a lot of people that used to race but quit. Most quit due to cost, injuries or risk. And to plan some nationwide marketing and events. When is The last time you saw an advertisement encouraging people to try motocross, or Teaching people about it? The only ones I have ever seen are advertising for a particular race series or a brand trying to promote their product. Never just for the sport itself.
The public's perception these days is that its an extreme sport that only certain people can do, its like Nasar its something you watch, not something you do, let's show people the side of the sport they can relate to things that make people think that looks fun I can do that.
This Article written by Scot Harden is along the lines of the marketing I have in mind
he has some great ideas and I have a strategy put together that I think fits his ideas very well, in fact I wish I would have read that first it would have helped in putting the strategies together and probably saved time because had to go down a lot of rabbit holes and go a lot of different directions trying to put together a strategy.
(Scot's Gomotorcycling article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/time-gomotorcycling-scot-harden/
With nationwide marketing and nationwide events we will promote a website that will bring people together at the grassroots level in their area, in addition to bringing people together the website will also be used to educate people about motocross, things like different ways to get a track started in your area and we will share detailed stories from people that have done it. Everyone knows that if they find a way to buy land and have the money they could make a track on private property, but does everyone know that there are lots of places in America that have tracks on public land. places like fairgrounds. how did they come to be? Telling that story in detail would be a good example. and other stories like it. And just hearing the story could help others.
Another would be clubs. There are lots of them, but there are also lots places where people have to drive 90 miles to their nearest track. and other areas where most of their tracks have closed, How did those existing clubs get started? How do they work, who owns the property they are on? here is an example I live in Mankato MN and I don't have all the details yet myself but we have a club here called Kato cycle club. it is 90 acres a it has national caliber motocross track 2 other mx tracks, one a sand track and a new pit bike track. and Miles of trails.
They have AMA mx races as well as hare scrambles, trail rides hill climbs and some quad stuff to but I'm not to familiar with that.
And every member has their own key and can ride anytime they want the membership fee is $100 with no additional fees but every member is also required to work at the track 15 hours per year and it has hundreds of members.
So how does that work? how are they able to keep it so affordable?
my point is wouldn't sharing these stories in detail be helpful to a group of kids in small town America that think the only way they will ever have a track in their area is to get rich, or get some big loans and buy land. No it isn't gonna happen over night or be easy but if people know it's possible and have some type of direction and start to believe it's possible some people may be willing to take the steps to get a small track going in their area. Maybe it starts in a field with cones. or maybe its a natural terrain corner track at first. at least it's something. and some want more natural terrain tracks. or maybe its at the local fairgrounds..
In addition to bringing people together and helping people meet locally and educating people the website can also be used by coaches, Motocross camps. training facilities, existing local tracks. and more, the point of this is not to take business away from tracks, its to encourage more people to get started in the first place, and in some areas there is no place to practice, or maybe people can't afford the $30 or so fee every time they ride and to have a local corner track to rip at a couple times per week would be awesome for them!
The decline of motocross is a complex problem, which is why its been declining for years or nobody has turned it around yet. But i have a Strategic plan.
I'm not going to put the whole strategy here (there is a lot to it)
I am hoping to talk to some people in the industry that has clout about putting together a new organization that will put an organized focus on growing the sport of motocross, And starting a Nationwide Movement.
people have done the same for American Flat track, And off road racing. And RVing!
we can grow moto as well by putting an organized focus on it. Timing is important and when we all get back to life after this Corona pandemic I think it would be a great time to focus on Moto in my opinion. Motocross brings people and families together and is the best sport in the world, and more and more these days people (the general public) don't know that, people know very little about it these days.
I have also thought about and am still considering doing a podcast or video series about ways to help grow the sport. Would you want to discuss the decline of motocross and ways to grow the sport?
please join me at
If you have read this far i would love to have your feedback.