boy crying on ground next to bike

Pussification of Motocross

Frank Rant

What is wrong with us? If you are a motocrosser then you compete in one of the most extreme sports there ever was. Motocross is a brutal fight between the rider and the track, but is also a fight against the elements (heat, cold, rain, dust). Add in a battle against your machine which usually wants to do exactly opposite of what you want it to do. You are also fighting the other racers who want to beat you, and deteriorating track conditions. Motocross has speed, finesse, brute strength, technicality, grace, ugliness, and beauty. For every good thing it possesses it also carries the exact opposite. Yes is has speed, but it also has painfully slow difficult sections. It has strength, but is also has finesse. It has beauty and ugliness. It has health, and it has physical ruin.

Motocross is not Supercross. Supercross is a sport all on its own. Yes, they run the same gear, ride the same brand of motorcycles, and run on dirt. But, that is where the parallels end. Motocross is a closed course race held on natural terrain. It has developed into something else at many tracks, but that is what it is supposed to be. Many years ago Motocross Action Magazine had a cover shot of a World Champion Harry Everts. It showed him completely focused on racing with mud and snot all over his face. This was before racers went to full face helmets. The picture was not the prettiest ever taken of a motocrosser, but it showed the real sport of motocross as it really is.

This brings me to the rant. What the hell is wrong with us? Every time a real motocross obstacle is built or utilized on a track some racers immediately begin to bitch. Take for example any off camber downhill. Riders began bitching about it. “It’s too hard’’ they say “can’t you make it easier’’ they say. I know when I put in a difficult section defined as technical I will get complaints before practice is over. If I put in a jump, everyone loves it. Well not everyone, the real motocrossers will take it for what it is and adapt to it.

A track is a series of obstacles, if it’s all jumps it’s not much of a track. It is amazing to watch racers who have never experienced downhills, or off-cambers. But, they can jump anything. That tells you what they normally ride on. If you want to be good at this sport you need to be able to do it all. Look at the National or World Championship tracks. Every corner is full of ruts, all the way across and deep. The hills are steep, the sections are fast and extremely rough, and the jumps are big. A couple of years ago they had an after the national charity event at Glen Helen. You could ride on the National track 30 minutes after the last pro came off of it. About 20 riders went out and attempted to get around the course. It was painful to watch them struggle just to get around.

No matter what class you ride, how old you are, if you race motocross you do something that few do in the world. Motocross is supposed to be difficult, if it were easy that dumb ass neighbor of yours could do it.