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The sport of motocross

Updated: Sep 19

Over the years the sport of motocross has undergone significant evolution in terms of bike technology, but the local grassroots scene has lost some of its diversity and accessibility. While professional motocross and supercross thrive, I believe there are tens of thousands of people nationwide who would ride and race dirt bikes if the barrier of entry was lower and tracks were more accessible. There are still a lot of recreational riders but many potential riders are not interested in the current form of motocross, and it begs the question of whether the key players in the industry, such as the AMA and MX-SPORTS, see the gaps that exist. and are they even the ones that should be looked to when it comes to helping the sport grow? They are the first ones I think of.

One of the gaps, as David Pingree points out, is the absence of a 125-only class that disallows 250f bikes. However, that's just one there are more gaps to address, including the need for more options like air-cooled classes and less powerful bikes. (Think Langtown Supercross) if you haven't heard of Langtown look it up online. I would like to hear your opinion if that looks fun and if something like this existed in your state if you would participate?

Vintage racing has filled some gaps in certain areas, which is great, I am happy that this option exists, but it shouldn't be the only solution. People shouldn't have to buy 20-40 year old bikes that are difficult to find parts for just to be able to race at a lower level in a safer environment or more natural terrain tracks.

Speaking of natural terrain tracks, there is a growing demand for more of them. Many people, including those who don't currently race or ride, want the option of riding on tracks that are more natural terrain. One idea could be to offer optional lanes on tracks, create optional lanes go around some of the biggest jumps, or make half of the track tamer and more beginner-friendly, and use only that half for small bikes and beginners. as apposed to them racing the entire track.

To address these gaps and meet the needs of a wider range of riders, collaboration within the motocross industry is crucial. The AMA, MX-SPORTS, FELD, The manufacturers, track operators, and riders come together to identify these gaps and work towards solutions.

Solutions could include reintroducing a 125-only class, (which I think they should), and by offering more options for beginner-friendly bikes like the ones used at the Langtown supercross, and air-cooled models and developing more natural terrain tracks or incorporating optional lanes on existing tracks.

By acknowledging and addressing these gaps, the motocross industry can attract more riders and create a more inclusive and engaging experience for everyone. Ultimately the goal is to make motocross accessible safe and fun for riders of all ages and skill levels, I believe we can bring the sport back to its former glory and continue driving its growth in the future.

At its core, motocross is a thrilling sport that brings riders together in competitions. However, the current landscape lacks in options and classes for beginners, making it challenging for newcomers to get involved. In many cases, inexperienced riders are placed on high-performance bikes that surpass their skill levels, leading to intimidation and potential danger.

To address these issues we should provide more bike options, we can address this by offering easier-to-ride bikes and creating diverse race classes, sure this may be seen as boring by the current crop of riders but its not aimed at current riders and I'm not suggesting any changes from the current bikes or classes, just more options. I also personally believe that many riders that used to race but quit would come back and race again if some options for slower bikes existed.

(Go watch some footage from the 1990's of the old Langtown Supercross and tell me if that looks fun or not.)

I believe It is possible to make motocross more accessible for riders of all ages and skill levels, looking back at the sport's history there were bikes like the XR75, and air cooled Yz80's and YZ100's in the 1970's that catered to riders seeking easier-to-handle machines with lower horsepower. These bikes had dedicated race classes, providing opportunities for riders of different skill levels. In hindsight the evolution of the bikes is likely one of the big reasons that participation levels slowed down. There was a drop in sales and participation in the early 1980's right after things like , liquid cooling, long travel suspension, and disk brakes, were added the bikes had a major performance increase in a few short years, Options for less powerful bikes are lacking in today's motocross landscape. I believe that the high performance bikes raced now should be the goal to get to, not the starting point.

*It is important to note that this is not a call to eliminate the high-performance bikes that exist today. Instead, we should expand our offerings by adding more bikes and classes to the mix and by doing so, we can create a diverse range of options that accommodate riders' preferences and abilities. (Stair stepped classes)

Collaboration within the motocross industry is essential to achieve this vision. Manufacturers, governing bodies, track operators, and riders should work together to introduce and promote these accessible options, by making some changes and organizing events that showcase these bikes and classes, we can generate interest and participation among a broader range of riders.

In order to grow the sport, we need to embrace diversity and prioritize the needs of beginners and long time enthusiasts alike. By fostering a welcoming and safe environment, we can revitalize the grassroots level of the sport of motocross and ensure a vibrant and thriving future. Remember, the ultimate goal is to create an inclusive motocross community where riders of all ages and skill levels can experience the joy and excitement that motocross offers. By banding together and implementing these changes, we can drive the growth of the sport and bring it back to its former glory.

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