What's The Difference Between Motocross And Supercross?
Since the early 1900s, bike enthusiasts world-wide have thrilled to the sights and sounds of motocross. Athletes on screaming dirt bikes careen around a winding track at speeds greater than 60mph, frequently becoming airborne as they fly over steep dunes and jumps. It’s a thrilling experience for participants and observers alike and one that has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry since its birth at the turn of the century.
In 1906, a group of early adopters of motorized cycles called the Auto Cycle Club began meeting to put on time trials. These quickly turned into weekly races, or “scrambles,” wherein members competed for titles like “fastest on the track.”
The end of World War II made 2-stroke bikes that had been used by the Army available to civilian hobbyists, and although the prices of motorcycles were high, so was the nation’s enthusiasm. By 1924, thousands of people owned bikes and belonged to bike clubs.
Informal racing was an exciting pastime among owners of street bikes, and the name “motocross” (an amalgam of the French “motocyclette” and “cross country”) had come into popular use. Around the same time, the first official scramble was hosted in Camberely, England, with all proceeds being donated to St. Dustan’s Hostel for the Blind.
As the sport evolved, so did the mechanics: street bikes morphed into sport bikes, with switch fork rear suspension and larger tires with deep tread patterns to improve traction. In 1952 the FIM, or Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme, became the sport’s official governing body. By the early 1960s, athletes rode both 250 and 500 cc engines around the track.
Then, in 1972, a former rock concert promoter named Mike Goodwin conceived of an indoor motocross race. Dubbed “the Superbowl of Motocross,” it was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and was essentially the love child of a massive dirt track race and a KISS concert. A gifted salesman, Goodwin devised a sophisticated marketing and promotional campaign that included radio, TV and print ads and attracted thousands, including celebrity fans like Steve McQueen. Given his experience with concerts, Goodwin knew that fans would flock to a big, comfortable venue that offered comfortable seats, snacks, and excitement, and from the outset, he emphasized entertainment, hiring Larry Huffman to be the first supercross race announcer. A successful disc jockey with an electric personality, Huffman would eventually earn the nickname “Supermouth” for his 300-word-per-minute commentary.