Q. Where did Motocross originate from?
It became big news just after WW2 and originated in Europe where it was first known as Scrambles. Although the bikes were rudimentary when compared to today’s racing machines, the sport caught popularity and provided the element of thrill for both the racers and the fans. It reached the shores of America in the 1970s in the form of off-road races which grew and reached the Los Angeles Coliseum. The race also gave rise to Supercross which is a type of motocross with manmade courses held inside stadiums.
Q. What is the flag system in AMA Motocross?
There are several flags that are waved during the duration of the race. The start of the race is signified with a green flag – think of it as a ‘GO’ signal at the opening lap. If a rider falls or is injured on the track, a yellow flag is put out to signify an obstruction to other riders so that they may be aware of the downed rider. In extreme cases when there is a problem on the track, the red flag will be shown which signifies that the race is to be stopped. There is a blue flag with a yellow stripe that indicates that lapped riders should move over to make way for the leaders who will be overtaking them. The white flag indicates that there is only one lap left and the checkered flag is the one flag that all racers hope to see first – and that is the flag that signifies the end of the race.
Q. How long is a moto? What is the scoring system?
Each moto lasts for around 30 minutes + 2 laps once the starting gate is dropped. Two classes race two motos and the scores of both are added up to determine the final winner. Points are awarded for each moto with twenty five being awarded for the first place, twenty two for second, twenty for third and so on. If a tie occurs, the racer who finishes faster in the second moto will be declared the winner. The rider with the most points will be declared champion.
Q. What do you mean by starting gate?
This is the metal barrier behind which the racers all line up at the start of each moto. When the gate is dropped towards the riders the race is started. If a racer takes off too early, they stand a chance of getting their front wheel caught in the gate which will cost them precious time.
Q. Even the practices seem so competitive! Why is that so?
All racers are timed and scored electronically when they are on the track. A transponder is attached to each motorcycle so that when the rider passes by the finish line, the time is recorded to the thousandth of a second. This is a way of deciding who starts first in the race. The rider who gets the fastest time during practice gets the first gate pick and so on.