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Motocross is an off-road motorcycle racing discipline that takes place on confined tracks. Motorcycle trials contests in the United Kingdom spawned the sport.
Motorcycle trials contests, such as the Auto-Cycle Clubs’ first quarterly trial in 1909 and the Scottish Six Days Trial, which began in 1912, were the forerunners of motocross in the United Kingdom. When race organizers abandoned meticulous balance and tight scoring in favor of a race to see who could get to the finish line first, the activity became known as “hare scrambles,” a term derived from the phrase “a rare old scramble,” which described one such early race. Despite being recognized in the United Kingdom as scrambles racing, the sport gained in popularity and the championships were known globally as “motocross racing” by combining the French term for motorbike, motocyclette, or moto for short, with “cross country” in a portmanteau.
At 1924, the first documented scramble race was held in Camberley, Surrey. The sport developed in prominence throughout the 1930s, notably in the United Kingdom, when teams from the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA), Norton, Matchless, Rudge, and AJS competed. Off-road bikes from that era looked very similar to street bikes. Motorcycles have improved in technical terms as a result of the rigorous rivalry across difficult terrain. By the early 1930s, rigid frames had given way to suspensions, and by the early 1950s, manufacturers had introduced swinging fork rear suspension into the majority of production street bikes. BSA, which had grown to become the world’s largest motorcycle firm, dominated the post-World War II period. Throughout the 1940s, BSA riders dominated international events.
A Maico 360 cc motorcycle featuring an air-cooled engine and dual rear shock absorbers.
In 1952, the FIM, the world’s regulatory organization for motorcycles, established an individual European Championship based on a 500cc engine displacement formula. It was elevated to World Championship status in 1957. A 250 cc world championship was founded in 1962. Two-stroke motorbike businesses came into their own in the smaller 250 cc category. Due to its lightness and agility, companies like Husqvarna from Sweden, CZ from the former Czechoslovakia, Bultaco from Spain, and Greeves from England gained popular. BSA-works riders Jeff Smith and Arthur Lampkin, as well as Greeves’ Dave Bickers, Joe Johnson, and Norman Brown, were among the day’s highlights.
Advances in two-stroke engine technology had pushed the heavier, four-stroke bikes to niche events by the 1960s. During this time, riders from Belgium and Sweden began to dominate the sport. Motocross made its debut in the United States in 1966, when Swedish champion Torsten Hallman competed in an exhibition event at the Corriganville Movie Ranch, better known as Hopetown, in Simi Valley, California, against the best American TT riders. Hallman was joined by other motocross talents the next year, including Roger DeCoster, Jol Robert, and Dave Bickers. They dominated the contest, finishing in the top six with their lightweight two-strokes. The popularity of motocross among young Americans grew as a result of a motorcycle sales boom in the United States, spurred by the Baby Boomer generation.
By the late 1960s, Japanese motorcycle manufacturers were competing with European manufactures for motocross dominance. When Jol Robert won the 1970 250 cc world championship for Suzuki, it was the first world title for a Japanese manufacturer. Mike Goodwin and Terry Tiernan, then-president of the AMA, organized the inaugural stadium motocross event in 1972 at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Marty Tripes, 16, took first place in the competition. This event paved the way for Supercross, which are built, stadium-based motocross races. A 125cc world championship was inaugurated in 1975. [