Coming Soon

Editorials Articles more_>

Motocross isn’t a sport

by Rich Winkler on 08/18/2008

How many times did we hear parents, teachers, or some other “grown-up” say that when we were kids…?

And you know what… as much as it may have pissed us off at the time… they were right… !

Motocross was a raw, visceral, beautiful, violent, dangerous, romantic, un-repentant, world of barking expansion chambers, castor oil, and exotic European motorcycles that captured the imagination of a generation of working class bad boys and changed our lives forever…

No, motocross wasn’t a sport…

It was far more than that… !

In 1971 I attended my first motocross, the Trans Am event at Unadilla Valley in upstate New York.

To say I was blown away would be an understatement ! That gorgeous track… the cool damp weather and the fall colors… The box vans, the wild American pro’s and the European stars we had read about in the magazines with their ultra cool gear.

And their bikes… Bultaco, CZ, Husqvarna, Maico, Montessa, Ossa and the early Japanese works bikes. Fast, nimble, and light, nearly to the point of being fragile, they were raw simplicity. Uncompromisingly built for one reason and one reason only… to cover rough ground at high speed !

Best of all was the sound and the smell… The electrifying sound of high horsepower two stroke engines with wide open expansion chambers, and the smell of racing fuel and bean oil, mixing with the smell of Unadilla’s damp, churned up top soil…

I was “All In” from that day on !

While the big four Japanese factories have certainly advanced the technology of motocross, I’m not sure we are better off without the innovation and diversity the small European factories once brought to the picnic.

We’re going in the wrong direction today…

Four strokes engines are bigger, heavier, more expensive, more complex, more difficult to work on, and less powerfull than two stroke engines. That’s not an advancement in technology… that’s going backwards. If it were not for a flawed rule system that allows a double displacement advantage for the four stroke, they would be uncompetitive in all but the Open class.

Motocross is an individual sport. It has always appealed to those of us that go our own way.

What we ride should be based on what works and what we want, not a misguided rule change made ten years ago that everyone now realizes was a mistake, or a corporate decision made by 70 year old business men over a plate of fishheads and seaweed and a bottle of saki !

Sign me up for the militia boys !

Motocross just aint motocross without the two stroke engine.

Rich Winkler