Auto Racing Guide to Motorcycles


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Motorcycles vary greatly in size and design from 50cc minibikes to sport and cruising bikes with multi-cylinder engines boasting displacements of over 1,000cc. Motorcycle racing can be risky business requiring great skill and confidence. There are many kinds of motorcycle races in which various types of motorcycles can compete.

Road racing is done on public roads or purpose-built tracks and includes racecourses such as the Isle of Man TT and the Macau Grand Prix. Racers may enter different categories such as the 50cc races, the classic motorcycle racing section or superbikes. Specially designed motorcycle racing tracks have been designed for circuit racing. Top-level circuit races include MotoGP and Superbike. Classic motorcycle racing involves the racing of modified motorcycles that date from the 1970s or earlier.

Motocross and Supercross are popular races held on natural or man-made dirt tracks and often feature large jumps. It can be a real thrill to watch a half-dozen roaring machines leap into the air in unison! Supermoto is a combination of road racing and motocross racing. In Motorcycle Speedway circuit racing, the riders will slide the bikes around the corners, their kneepads sometimes scraping the track as they lean into the turns. This is also done in grass track motorcycle racing.

Enduro racing involves traveling over long distances through rough, isolated terrain. A typical example is the famed Dakar Rally that takes usually takes place in the West African nation of Senegal. Completing a course that includes sandblasted stretches of the Sahara Desert, one really learns the true meaning of the word ‘endurance’. Motorcycle endurance rallying is not focused on completion time, but rather works off a points system. The race covers great distances and takes many days to complete. Then there are low speed races called Motorcycle Trials. In this type of motorcycle race, competitors use specially designed bikes and must traverse a daunting range of obstacles. Motorcycle drag racing (or Sprints) is pretty much what it sounds like: two riders accelerating down a quarter mile straight track, with the first to the finish line being declared the winner. In Hill Climbing, the riders must attempt to make it to the top of the hill in the quickest time. Last but not least is Land Speed Racing. The object here is for a motorcycle rider to exceed the previously set speed record. The rider accelerates over a distance of 1 to 3 miles and is timed at the end of the run.

Most of the many types of motorcycle racing described above are conducted in different experience levels, such as Novice and Pro motorcycle racing. Pro motorcycle racing is taken very seriously, and involves significant financial backing and the need for sponsorships to help cover the costs of fielding a team.