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>Getting Started ~ Motocross (MX)

This extremely popular sport (formerly known as scrambling) is also perhaps the most dangerous of the off-roading categories. As many as 40 riders race against each other on a circuit which is roped off, and which includes spectacular jumps and humps. Duration can vary from 40 minutes for international Grand Prix events down to about 10 minutes for local club events. Let's look at the bikes themselves. They have visibly 'knobbly' tyres which come in various compounds for muddy and hard ground, for grip and to keep the bike driving. They also have long-travel suspension to absorb the rough terrain. These highly specialised high-revving motocross bikes tend to be water cooled, and because of the high speeds reached have extremely efficient disc brakes fitted front and rear. Riders as young as 7 can take part in competitions with organisations such as the BSMA (British Schoolboy Motorcycle Association), ACU (Auto Cycle Union), the YMSA (Youth Motorcycle Sporting Association) and the AMCA. Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki all produce automatic 50cc-engined bikes for kids, and KTM and Kawasaki produce a geared 60cc racer.

The most popular form of motocross is Supercross. This first appeared in America, and takes place in enclosed stadiums, with various heats leading up to a grand final - often televised. The bikes are basically motocross machines with a stiffer, uprated suspension to deal with double and triple jumps, and a sharper powerband engine to increase acceleration out of the corners so that they can reach top speed quicker before taking off over the jumps.

Getting started in motocross can be achieved in a number of ways. Several manufacturers and organisations run training sessions where you can try out the sport. If these aren't run in your area you can always just go out and buy a bike and take it down to a practice track. This isn't recommended unless you really are confident in your abilities or have some relevant experience.

To start racing you will probably need to join a club. Motocross racing in the UK is largely controlled by two organisations: the ACU and the AMCA. If you ever buy the Trials and Motocross News you'll see that these organisations are constantly bickering, but the relative merits of each one can probably be measured by which organisation has a club closest to you. To see which clubs are around, get a copy of Trials and Motocross News (published every Friday) and you'll find reports and listing for all UK meetings. Note that some meetings are open to club members only, others are open to anybody and still more allow you to join a club for the day of the race. Note that some club meeting insist that you have to provide a marshall to be allowed to race, so make sure your girlfriend/best mate/mum are available...


what you'll need...
A basic motocross bike can cost from £700 used or from £3000 new. All the major japanese manufacturers make mx bikes, as do european manufacturers like KTM and Husqvarna
Kit List
Bike £700-£4000
Gloves £40
Body Armour £80
Race Jeans £100
Race Shirt £45
MX Boots from £100
Trailer or Van find a friend
Crash Helmet £100
Costs per race
Average race fees are about £40, you may also need tires at around £40-60 per tire. A can of fuel will be all you need. Practice tracks usually charge between £10 and £15 per day.