You might have heard of the Monster Energy Supercross and the Red Bull X-Fighters, two of the biggest dirt bike racing events in the world where the most popular and the best dirt bike riders compete for supremacy in the most exciting races and race courses. Indeed, when it comes to the popularity and the magnitude that this two-wheel extreme motorsport has soared very high, it cannot be disputed but a lot of us are not that familiar when it comes to its history. In this article, let us take a step back and look at the history of supercross and motocross so that we can further appreciate this sport more than its adrenaline-pumping actions. The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) founded supercross in 1974 as a different version of the conventional motocross racing. The AMA named the first supercross championship to itself or the AMA Supercross Championships which is held every January to May.
Supercross is the different version or an offshoot version of motocross which is usually held in natural terrains. First off, Supercross takes place on a dirt course which is artificially made. This is the “city” version of motocross considering that it is held inside large stadiums and arenas where the organizers have to place an entire mountain of dirt which is then modified to make it look appear like an actual dirt race course. Supercross is usually held year-round with 12 to 17 legs that are open for competition and the overall champion is determined based on the accumulated points in each leg. The higher the place you finish in each leg, the bigger points you earn and the bigger the chances that you will bring home the overall title at the end of the season.
Motocross meanwhile, are held about a month after the finale of a supercross race. Usually, motocross has a 12-leg series that starts in the middle of the year where the overall champion is determined through points as well, however, motocross takes place in a natural dirt race course that is usually held outside of the city where there is enough space to organize a racing event. The race course’ technicalities are usually based on the terrain’s complexity. Riders have to vie in two separate races to determine the overall winner in each leg.
The first motocross race was held exactly on August 28, 1948 in the Paris suburb of Montrouge held inside the Buffalo Stadium and its popularity reached the United States in the 1960’s era where the first American Bill France became the first professional American motocross rider to race in the first championships held in 1971 in Daytona Beach. The race was named the Daytona Beach Bike Week Schedule. The venue was held inside the Daytona International Speedway’s artificial grass surface where the organizers modified it to become a motocross dirt track.
Jimmy Weinert was the inaugural champion in the 250cc class while Mark Blackwell was the champion for the 500cc class, and later on their chosen sport paved way to the birth of supercross which was held in an artificial man-made dirt track held at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1972 that was organized and promoted by Mike Goodwin and Terry Tiernan, and then AMA president Marty Stripes who was 16 years old that time. Many sports experts billed the event as the “Superbowl of Motocross” which was then derived to its name now as “Supercross”. The event was very successful that it had a second edition dubbed as “The Super Bowl of Motocross II” which exceeded the success of the inaugural race after the Supercross tickets sold out in minutes after the organizers opened the selling of tickets for the event.