Updated: Mar 30, 2021
The first time was in the early 1990's when I saw a segment about Langtown on Moto world on ESPN.
It showed everything that's currently missing in the sport and exactly what is needed to grow the sport all in one short segment.
Langtown was a small Supercross track in a backyard created in the 1990's it was named after the owner. It was put together very well and looked like a miniature version of a supercross track that you would see on TV, they hosted organized racing with adults on Small 150cc air cooled four stroke race bikes that where custom they were converted from 80/85 race bikes.
The only catch was that the bikes used did not exist, well they are not sold that way anyway, The bikes they were using were bikes that started life as RM, CR, YX ,KX. 80cc two strokes.
Ryan Hughes On a Kawasaki KX80, that was converted to a air cooled 4 stroke.
The guys were having them custom made because there were no 150cc air cooled race bikes. The air cooled 150cc 4 strokes are more torquey and perfect for the small supercross track, it was a little bit bigger than a BMX track and can be ridden by kids and adults, this created the perfect small fairly safe low speed but super fun racing, great battling (also fun to watch) just an awesome form of racing, I thought I had seen a glimpse of the future, the usual dirt bike brands could easily produce these not only that but 150cc air cooled four stroke bikes would be pretty inexpensive reliable long lasting bikes, and these tracks take very little space to make.
The smaller the track the lower the speed so the severity of injuries is less. This fixes a lot of issues within the sport! Overall it would help it to grow because after a while people will want to go faster and will move up to bigger bikes and bigger tracks, its the perfect stepping stone that we don't have right now.
I believe that this would be a big hit in American suburbia.
So Langtown was the first time than Again in the late 90's a form of small Motocross became popular, this time they called it pit bike racing,(I personally dislike the name pit bike racing) it used a little bit smaller bikes this time like CRF50's and KLX110'S Then again in mid 2000's Pit bike racing was booming, that was the second time I though we would have an explosion of growth but even though it got popular it still didn't go mainstream, I didn't see tracks being made specifically for this type of racing or any nationwide advertising, for the most part the general public didn't know about it, if this was properly organized and advertised and publicized this could have been the shot in the arm needed to grow the sport of motocross.
Now again for the past couple years there has been a big growth the pit bikes. its booming right now, and so is a new form of mini bike the electric Staycyc. if you combine Staycyc and include classes for those with 50cc racing and add pit bike racing then include the Langtown type bikes, it could become whole a new sport in a way a new version of mini motocross that will be a hit, it fills in some big voids and helps the sport of motocross grow, a sport that is struggling and seeing decline at the local level.
I truly believe that the decline in motocross is also responsible for the decline in street bike sales because kids that ride dirt bikes are motorcycle fans for life. and they grow up and ride and buy street bikes, and For the past 20 years or so the number of kids riding dirt bikes is way less than the previous few decades, so all those kids are now coming of age and they didn't get the motorcycle bug, so they aren't growing up and buying street bikes like previous generations did.