Motorcycle racing (also called moto racing and bike racing) is a motorcycle sport of racing motorcycles. Major genres include road racing and off road racing, both either on circuits or open courses, and track racing. Other categories include hill climbs, drag racing and land speed record trials.
The FIM classifies motorcycle racing in the following four main categories. Each category has several sub categories.
Grand Prix motorcycle racing refers to the premier category of motorcycle road racing. It is divided into three distinct classes:
- 125 cc — Engines in this class are two-stroke. This class is also restricted by rider age, with an upper limit of 25 for newly signed riders and wild card entries and an absolute upper limit of 28 for all riders.
- Moto2 — Introduced by Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder of the competition, in 2010 as a 600 cc four-stroke class. Prior to that season, the intermediate class was 250 cc with two-stroke engines. Moto2 races in the 2010 season will allow both engine types; from 2011 on, only the four-stroke Moto2 machines will be allowed in this class.
- MotoGP — 800 cc four-stroke.
Grand prix motorcycles are prototype machines not based on any production motorcycle.
Supersport racing is another category of motorcycle road racing that employs modified production motorcycles. To be eligible for Supersport racing, a motorcycle must have a four-stroke engine of between 400 and 600 cc for four-cylindermachines, and between 600 and 750 cc for twins, and must satisfy the FIM homologation requirements. Supersport regulations are much tighter than Superbikes. Supersport machines must remain largely as standard, while engine tuning is possible but tightly regulated.
Endurance racing is a category of motorcycle road racing which is meant to test the durability of equipment and endurance of the riders. Teams of multiple riders attempt to cover a large distance in a single event. Riders are given the ability to change during the race. Endurance races can be run either to cover a set distance in laps as quickly as possible, or to cover as much distance as possible over a preset amount of time.
Sidecar racing is a category of sidecar motorcycle racing. Older sidecar road racers generally resembled solo motorcycles with a platform attached, modern racing sidecars are purpose built low and long vehicles. Sidecarcross resembles MX motorcycles with a high platform attached. In sidecar racing a rider and a passenger work together to make the machine perform.
Sidecar racing has many sub-categories including: – Sidecarcross (sidecar motocross) – Sidecar trials – F1/F2 road racing
Road Racing on temporarily closed public roads
True road racing is run on tracks built from closed public and/or park roads and sometimes extra pieces of purpose built track. In the past true road racing was very commonplace but today few races have survived and even fewer have been added. Only one truly international championship exists at present by the name of “International Road Racing Championship” (IRRC). Most races are held within Europe. Ireland is probably the country with the most true road racing circuits still in use. The Isle of Man probably has the most tracks per inhabitant or surface area. Other countries where true road races are held are the Netherlands, Belgium,Germany, Great Britain (though due to law only outside England or in parks), the Czech Republic, New Zealand and Macau
Motocross (or MX) is the direct equivalent of road racing, but off road, a number of bikes racing on a closed circuit. Motocross circuits are constructed on a variety of non-tarmac surfaces such as dirt, sand, mud, grass, etc., and tend to incorporate elevation changes either natural or artificial. Advances in motorcycle technology, especially suspension, have led to the predominance of circuits with added “jumps” on which bikes can get airborne. Motocross has another noticeable difference from road racing, in that starts are done en masse, with the riders alongside each other. Up to 40 riders race into the first corner, and sometimes there is a separate award for the first rider through (see holeshot). The winner is the first rider across the finish line, generally after a given amount of time or laps or a combination.
Motocross has a plethora of classes based upon machine displacement (ranging from 50cc 2-stroke youth machines up to 250cc 2-stroke and 450cc 4-stroke), age of competitor, ability of competitor, sidecars, quads/ATVs, and machine age (classic for pre 1965/67, Twinshock for bikes with two shock absorbers, etc).
Supercross (or SX) is simply indoor motocross. Supercross is more technical and rhythm like to riders. Typically situated in a variety of stadiums and open or closed arenas, it is notable for its numerous jumps. In North America, this has been turned into an extremely popular spectator sport, filling large baseball stadiums, leading to Motocross being now termed the “outdoors”. However, in Europe it is less popular, as the predominate focus there is on Motocross.
The riding style on the tarmac section is noticeably different from other forms of tarmac-based racing, with a different line in corners, sliding of the back wheel around the corner, and using the leg straight out to corner (as opposed to the noticeable touching of the bent knee to the tarmac of road racers).
Enduro and Cross-country
Enduro is a form of off road motorcycle sport that primarily focuses on the endurance of the competitor. In the most traditional sense (“Time Card Enduros”), competitors complete a 10+ mile lap, of predominately off road going, often through forestry. The lap is made up of different stages, each with a target time to complete that stage in exactly, there are penalties for being early and late, thus the goal is to be exactly “on time”. Some stages are deliberately “tight”, others are lax allowing the competitor to recuperate. There are also a variety of special tests, on variety of terrain to further aid classification, these are speed stages where the fastest time is desired. A normal event lasts for 3 to 4 hours, although longer events are not uncommon. Some events, particularly national and world championship events take place over several days and require maintenance work to be carried out within a limited time window or while the race is running. To prevent circumvention of the maintenance restrictions, the motorcycles are kept overnight in secure storage.
There is a World Enduro Championship (WEC) that has events across Europe, with a few excursions to North America. The most significant event in the Enduro calendar is the International Six Day Enduro ISDE (formerly the ISDT), where countries enter teams of riders (i.e. Enduro’s “World Cup”), as well as club teams – the event combines amateur sport with the professional level sport, it also takes place in a much more geographically dispersed range of locations.
In addition to traditional Time Card Enduros held over a long lap, a variety of other forms of sport have been taken up; notably “Short Course Enduros”, a shorter (in lap length) form of Time Card Enduros Hare scrambles and “Hare and Hounds“.
Indoor Short Track and TT Racing
Indoor races consist of either a polished concrete floor with coke syrup or other media sprayed or mopped onto the concrete for traction for the tyres of the motorcycles, or on dirt that has been moistened and hard packed, or left loose (often called a cushion). Similar to size of the Arenacross Arenas or sometimes smaller the riders must have accurate throttle control to negotiate these tight Indoor Race Tracks.
In the U.S., Short-Track and TT events are more commonly held outdoors. A Short Track event is one involving a track of less than 1/2 mile in length, a TT event can be of any length, but it must have at least one right turn and at least one jump.
In the A.M.A. Grand National Championship, Short-Track and TT races are part of a specific discipline labelled “Dirt track” or sometimes “Flat track” (also called Flat Track). However the AMA Sanction rule books refer to this discipline as Dirt track racing. Whether Short-Track or TT, traction is what defines a dirt track race. The bikes cannot use “knobbies”, they must use “Class C” tires which are similar to street tires. On a Short-Track course, the track is an oval, all turns to the left only, and only a rear brake is allowed. On the TT courses, there must be at least one right hand turn with a jump being optional, a front brake is allowed, but the same “Class C” tires are required. Although not mandated, most flat track racers wear a steel “shoe” on the left boot which is actually a fitted steel sole that straps onto the left boot. This steel shoe lets the rider lean the bike to the left while sliding through the corners.
Hard-packed tracks are generally referred to as “groove” tracks, loosely-packed tracks are called “cushions”.
Web Site for one Indoor Racing Sanction is http://ampown.com
One webpage for a flattracking club is http://www.lodicyclebowl.com
One webpage for this form of racing is http://flattrack.com
Drag Racing / Sprints
Vintage Motorcycle Racing
In vintage racing riders race classic motorcycles that are no longer competitive with the latest production motorcycles. Classes are organized by production period and engine displacement. There are vintage events for almost every type of racing listed above, vintage motocross and road racing are especially popular. Equipment is limited to that available for the production period, although modern safety equipment and tires are permitted. Most vintage production periods are from the 1970s and before, but now 1980s motorcycles are being allowed into some events Generally a motorcycle must be at least 25 years old to be considered vintage.
The sanctioning body for most US vintage racing is the American Motorcyclist Association. The main organizations that sponsor vintage racing are the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA), and WERA Motorcycle Roadracing, which has several vintage classes along with modern racers. Of historical importance is the United States Classic Racing Association (USCRA) one of the oldest vintage racing clubs in the US.
Reference: Wikipedia Motorcycle Racing