Supercross

About Supercross Racing

Supercross is an exciting, highly-competitive sport in which athletes race high-performance off-road motorcycles on man-made dirt tracks consisting of steep jumps and obstacles. Supercross races are held almost exclusively inside professional baseball and football stadiums.

Supercross was derived from the sport of motocross, and while motocross and supercross are similar in many respects, there are significant differences as well. For example, because supercross events are held in stadiums, the track sizes tend to be smaller than traditional, outdoor motocross tracks. Also, the jumps and obstacles tend to be more uniform, the race lengths are shorter, fan attendance is greater, and the races themselves are heavily advertised, slickly-produced, televised motorsports held inside major cities, unlike motocross events which often are held in rural areas and go untelevised. Modern supercross races are sanctioned and governed by motorcycle associations such as the American Motorcyclist Association, and typically consist of a set number of qualifying races, heat races, semi-finals and final races (called the "main event"). Race lengths can range from as few as 6 laps in some qualifying races to 20 laps for the main event. Because the racing distances are shorter than outdoor motocross events, the race duration tends to be shorter as well. Supercross races usually last no longer than 22 minutes, while outdoor races can run in excess of 40 minutes per moto (and in American motocross, a winner ordinarily is chosen by combining his or her best scores from two motos). As a result, a supercross champion ordinarily is thought to have superior technical skills for racing on a very tight track under controlled conditions, while a motocross champion is lauded for having the strength, endurance and courage to race at high speed under extreme conditions of heat and physical exertion.

The term "Supercross" was derived from the event name for the first organized motocross race that was successfully held inside a stadium in the United States. In 1972, racing promoter Michael Goodwin staged what he called the "Superbowl of Motocross" inside the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. This event was won by Marty Tripes at the age of 16. That initial race featured many of the top motocross riders of the time. It was such a commercial success that it spawned many imitators, and the term "supercross" was coined to identify similar stadium motocross events.

In the United States, supercross races today are the second most popular form of motorsport (behind NASCAR racing). The American Motorcycle Association awards three supercross championships each year; Supercross champion, which until 2006 was referred to as 250 class, Supercross Lites East, which was 125 East and of course Supercross Lites West champions. World Supercross Champions are named by other racing organizations around the world. Supercross racing classifications were governed by the displacement of the motorcycle's engine until 2006. In the past, championships have been awarded in 125cc (also known as "MX2"), 250cc ("MX1") and 500cc displacement levels (also known as "MX3"), but the 250cc champion has always been generally considered to be the most prestigious.

Starting in 2006 displacement was removed from any class designations to remove confusion that had arisen from the fact that over the past few years more people rode 450cc four-stroke bikes than 250cc two-strokes in the races, and in the supercross season of 2006 there averaged less than one two-stroke 250 per main event. This was due to a rule change which allowed for the new four-stroke bikes to be used. Following their first use around 2002, the testing, research and development has made these machines substantially superior to their two-stroke counterparts.[1]

Supercross does not enjoy the same popularity in Europe as in the United States, as European motocross stars do not normally compete in European supercross events. The advent of a world championship incorporating most of the American championship, and a few races in Europe, may change this.

Supercross is distinct from the relatively new sport of "Arenacross," which consists essentially of supercross races downsized even further and placed into smaller venues such as ice hockey and basketball stadiums. The popularity of Arenacross is growing, however, as smaller cities that do not have large football and baseball stadiums can host arenacross races and thereby enjoy one of the most exciting motosports in the world.

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World Championship Winners by year

Year Supercross Class
(formerly 250cc)
2008 Chad Reed
2007 James Stewart Jr.
2006 James Bubba Stewart Jr.
2005 Ricky Carmichael
2004 Heath Voss
2003 Chad Reed

AMA Championship winners by year

Year Supercross Class
(formerly 250cc)
Supercross Lites West
(formerly 125cc West)
Supercross Lites East
(formerly 125cc East)
2008 Chad Reed Jason Lawrence Trey Canard
2007 James Stewart Jr. Ryan Villopoto Ben Townley
2006 Ricky Carmichael Grant Langston Davi Millsaps
2005 Ricky Carmichael Ivan Tedesco Grant Langston
2004 Chad Reed Ivan Tedesco James Stewart Jr.
2003 Ricky Carmichael James Stewart Jr. Branden Jesseman
2002 Ricky Carmichael Travis Preston Chad Reed
2001 Ricky Carmichael Ernesto Fonseca Travis Pastrana
2000 Jeremy McGrath Shae Bentley Stephane Roncada
1999 Jeremy McGrath Nathan Ramsey Ernesto Fonseca
1998 Jeremy McGrath John Dowd Ricky Carmichael
1997 Jeff Emig Kevin Windham Tim Ferry
1996 Jeremy McGrath Kevin Windham Mickael Pichon
1995 Jeremy McGrath Damon Huffman Mickael Pichon
1994 Jeremy McGrath Damon Huffman Ezra Lusk
1993 Jeremy McGrath Jimmy Gadis Doug Henry
1992 Jeff Stanton Jeremy McGrath Brian Swink
1991 Jean-Michele Bayle Jeremy McGrath Brian Swink
1990 Jeff Stanton Ty Davis Denny Stephenson
1989 Jeff Stanton Jeff Matiasevich Damon Bradshaw
1988 Rick Johnson Jeff Matiasevich Todd DeHoop
1987 Jeff Ward Willie Surratt Ron Tichenor
1986 Rick Johnson Donny Schmidt Keith Turpin
1985 Jeff Ward Bobby Moore Eddie Warren
1984 Johnny O'Mara
1983 David Bailey
1982 Donnie Hansen
1981 Mark Barnett
1980 Mike Bell
1979 Bob Hannah
1978 Bob Hannah
1977 Bob Hannah
1976 Jim Weinert 500cc Winner
1975 Jim Ellis Steve Stackable
1974 Pierre Karsmakers Gary Semics

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