Supermoto – A Thrilling Motorcycle Racing Sport
In the 1970’s ABC’s ‘Wide World of Sports‘ became rated as one of the best sports shows in the United States at the time. In the series called ‘Superbikers‘ ABC was commissioned to find the ultimate motorcycle racer of all times and this would take place at California’s Carlsbad Raceway as a yearly event.
The Carlsbad race track was cleverly designed with the purpose of enticing a variety of talented riders from flat-track to off-road and road-racing worlds, including names such as Jeff Ward and Kenny Roberts. The ‘Superbikers’ show lasted till 1985, but was forced to stop production through cuts and new management that took over. This shortened the life of such a young sport in the USA, however, the Europeans adopted the sport, which gained much popularity in European countries such as France. By 2003 the forgotten sport was revived in the United States with the timely birth of AMA Supermoto Championships.
Supermoto is the combination of road racing and motocross on race tracks made up of about 30% dirt and 70% tarmac and is commonly referred to as Supermotard due to its major popularity in France, as mentioned.
In 1991 the first ‘Nordwest’ supermoto was released by ‘Gilera’, an Italian manufacturer, from then on others have followed within Europe bringing out manufacturers such as KTM, CCM Motorcycles, Husqvarna and Husaberg AB. Although these are widely available, motorcycles for Supermoto are still predominantly custom made with a combination of road-racing rims and tires and off-road motorcycles. This also applies to riding apparel, made up of both off-road and road race equipment. A distinct difference that is brought out in this particular sport is the great importance of skill rather than the general performance of the bike, thus slower speeds of between 100 mph and 161 mph are reached through short and winding Supermoto tracks.
Supermoto is a very dangerous sport and should not be taken lightly. Injuries occur quite frequently and may even lead to something more serious, such as paralysis or death. This reality is not far from mind of any of the professional riders, thus when considering Supermoto racing, proper investigation is strongly recommended along with lessons from a competent Supermoto instructor. Several manufacturers have created training lessons specifically for this, such as the CCM Supermoto trackday program.