Motorcycle sports, involving training and competitions, utilize motorcycles known for their small size, high speed, strong maneuverability, off-road capabilities, and ease of handling. Engaging in motorcycle sports serves to popularize fundamental knowledge about internal combustion engines, acquire driving and maintenance skills, enhance physical fitness, and cultivate good qualities such as wit, courage, and tenacity. Motorcycle sports have become a widely pursued athletic activity around the world.

Origin and Development

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, European countries held some informal international motorcycle races to compare the performance and quality of their respective motorcycles, gradually giving rise to competitive sports events. In 1904, an international competition was held in the suburbs of Paris, featuring a circular route with a circumference of 54 kilometers, spanning 5 laps for a total of 270 kilometers. Participating in this race were representatives from 5 countries who later founded the “International Motorcycle Club Federation.” In 1907, this federation disbanded but was later reinstated five years later, proposed by the British Automobile Association. Its headquarters were established in London and later relocated to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1959, renaming itself the International Motorcycling Federation in 1949.

 

Motorcycle racing serves both as a competition of athletes’ driving skills and a showdown of various new motorcycle models. The quality of motorcycle products is continually improved through racing. High-quality racing motorcycles, in turn, drive the advancement of individuals’ driving skills. Initially, motorcycle racing activities primarily aimed to test and compare the performance and quality of motorcycles. In the course of competitive practice, recognizing the significant role of driving skills in harnessing a vehicle’s excellent performance, attention was directed towards the technical training of motorcycle riders, gradually forming the specialized techniques unique to motorcycle racing. To meet the growing needs of technological and sporting competition, various new racing motorcycles were produced. Various large-scale motorcycle races held internationally feature a wide range of events, with thrilling, intense, and fierce competitions. The audience for major competitions sometimes reaches several hundred thousand people. Motorcycle sports are widespread in many European and American countries, with some nations hosting several hundred domestic and international competitions each year.

 

Countries with high levels of motorcycle sports are often those with developed motorcycle manufacturing industries. Since the founding of the International Motorcycling Federation, the venues for the World Motorcycle Championship have consistently been in Europe, where technical superiority prevails. One key reason for this is that many European countries, such as the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Austria, among others, boast advanced motorcycle manufacturing industries. Italy alone has over 60 factories producing motorcycles, with a total of 7 million motorcycles of various types in the country. Approximately 10% of the population in Italy enjoys motorcycle sports, organizing over 700 domestic and international races each year, and achieving high levels of technical proficiency with athletes winning multiple world and European championships. Generally, the level of motorcycle sports in Asia is not as high as in Europe. However, after World War II, Japan’s motorcycle manufacturing industry developed rapidly, producing millions of motorcycles annually, providing a solid material foundation for motorcycle sports and contributing to significant development. Japan gathers tens of thousands of motorcycle riders each year, organizing over 200 domestic competitions. Japan’s level of motorcycle sports has entered the forefront of the world, with Japanese athletes winning the 125cc off-road world championship in 1979.

 

Development Trends

 

Due to vehicle improvements, increased training levels, and a significant rise in audience numbers during competitions, the development trends of motorcycle sports include a gradual reduction in the size of motorcycle models, a continuous increase in mechanical performance and power, a growing complexity in race routes, and higher demands on athletes’ physical condition, adaptability, and technical proficiency. In response to these trends, some European countries regularly organize competitions for primary and secondary school students, cultivating a pool of young talent. These countries also produce specialized 30-50cc small off-road racing motorcycles, also known as minibikes, suitable for youth competitions. To attract spectators, off-road circuit racing is becoming increasingly popular. In this type of competition, off-road races are conducted within stadium settings equipped with grandstands. Some countries construct temporary obstacles such as small hills, marshy areas, 180° sharp turns, and various other challenges inside athletic fields. In some cases, the racecourse is built right up to the spectator stands, providing a thrilling spectacle as athletes leap over obstacles near the audience. These off-road tracks can be constructed overnight using a significant amount of machinery. Some countries even host off-road races inside sports arenas.

Safety Issues

  1. When riding a motorcycle, it is essential to develop the habit of braking both front and rear wheels simultaneously. Apply appropriate pressure and avoid locking the brakes.

 

  1. When approaching intersections, always observe the surroundings in advance. Check for pedestrians or vehicles coming from both sides and maintain a distance from the intersection, allowing for reaction time in case a vehicle emerges suddenly.

 

  1. If feeling physically or mentally unfit to drive, such as experiencing dizziness, try to reassure yourself. Assess the road conditions, the presence of other vehicles, pedestrians, and potential risks, and stay attentive.

 

  1. When changing lanes or making turns, first check for oncoming traffic, then check the rear. This step is crucial as many people neglect looking behind before making a turn. When turning left, position the vehicle towards the center of the road in advance; when turning right, position the vehicle towards the outer side of the road to avoid abrupt turns.

 

  1. In the event of brake failure, downshift to a lower gear, release the throttle, or shut off the engine to gradually reduce speed. This technique, commonly known as “engine braking” or “downshifting,” should be practiced to handle emergencies calmly. Assess the situation quickly, consider the consequences of different actions, and choose the best course of action. Keep eyes focused on the road ahead and maintain awareness.

 

  1. When driving a motorcycle, keep both arms relaxed and avoid excessive pressure on the handlebars to ensure agile maneuvering.

 

  1. Motorcycle passengers should shift their weight towards the hips, especially during turns, to facilitate the driver’s control over the motorcycle.

 

  1. When overtaking, pay attention to the movements of the vehicle in front, especially near intersections. Signal with lights, honk the horn, and at night, switch between high and low beams to alert the driver ahead. Maintain a safe following distance during overtaking.

 

  1. At intersections, concentrate on looking forward even when vehicles are close. Avoid turning the head to look at the other vehicle, as this can lead to unexpected maneuvers once the intersection is cleared.

 

  1. When making turns on a motorcycle, keep the upper body straight while leaning the motorcycle. This technique eases the turning process and reduces the risk of a fall if the motorcycle slides.

 

  1. For novice riders, especially those using handbrakes, always keep a hand on the brake lever to ensure quick response in case of danger.

 

  1. At complex intersections, carefully observe each road’s conditions. Turn the head to get a better view, especially if there are obstacles or potential blind spots.

 

  1. When turning, focus on looking ahead as much as possible. Through advanced observation, you may identify potential hazards early, such as a vehicle coming from the opposite direction in your lane. Utilize the horn to alert and correct the situation.

Motorcycle Racing

Motorcycle racing is divided into two categories: two-wheel motorcycle racing and three-wheel motorcycle racing. Each category includes various types of motorcycles based on the working volume of the engine. Two-wheel categories include 50cc, 75cc, 100cc, 125cc, 175cc, 250cc, 350cc, 500cc, and 500cc and above. Three-wheel categories include 500cc, 750cc, 1000cc, and 1000cc and above. The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) organizes annual events such as the World Championships, European Championships, traditional international Grand Prix events, which are broadly categorized into off-road and multi-day races, road races, track races, and touring races.

Off-road and Multi-day Races

These races include off-road races, multi-day races, and obstacle inspection races:

 

  1. Off-road races take place on a closed circuit with natural obstacles in complex terrains. The route includes steep inclines, left and right turns, undulating roads, gravel roads, sandy terrain, dirt banks, forest paths, swamps, muddy roads, and other natural features. Each lap covers a distance of 1.5 to 5 kilometers, and the total distance for each race does not exceed 60 kilometers for two-wheel models and 40 kilometers for three-wheel models. FIM-organized off-road events include the World Motorcycle Enduro Championship (for two-wheelers), the World Motorcycle Enduro Championship (for three-wheelers), National Team World Motorcycle Enduro Championship, and the International Motorcycle Enduro Grand Prix. Due to variations in terrain, topography, soil quality, climate, and obstacle difficulty at off-road tracks worldwide, the World Motorcycle Enduro Championship is held annually in 12 different countries, ensuring equal opportunities and reflecting the overall skill level of riders and testing various motorcycles produced globally.

 

  1. Multi-day races vary in duration, typically ranging from 2 to 6 days. Competitors must complete a specified route within a designated time frame. Arriving early or late incurs penalty points. Multi-day races primarily feature off-road routes, with the final day often concluding with a road race. These races cover long distances and combine features of both off-road and road competitions. FIM-organized multi-day races include the International Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) held annually and the European Two Days of Enduro, organized in 6-7 countries each year.

 

3. Obstacle inspection races take place on a complex terrain with natural obstacles. The route is not fixed, generally within 20 kilometers, and several obstacle zones are set up with significant challenges like large rocks, water streams, forests, etc. Competitors must navigate through these obstacles within a specified time. This type of race mainly assesses the rider’s skill in overcoming obstacles, with penalties for touching the ground, failure to overcome obstacles, exceeding the specified time, etc. This type of competition allows spectators to witness the entire process and is prevalent in Europe. FIM organizes the World Motorcycle Trial Championship annually, held in 12 different countries, following similar race and scoring methods as the World Motorcycle Enduro Championship.

Road Racing

Road racing is divided into circular road races, endurance races, and mountain road races:

 

  1. Circular Road Races: These are multi-lap competitions conducted on well-paved closed roads. The route includes various left and right turns, inclines, and straight sections. Each lap is at least 3 kilometers long, with a minimum road width of 6 meters. If the route requires crossing, it should have separate upper and lower lanes. The total race distance does not exceed 50 kilometers. Events organized by the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) include the World Motorcycle Grand Prix held in 13 countries, the World Motorcycle Touring Road Championship, and the International Motorcycle Grand Prix.

 

  1. Endurance Races: This is another form of circular road racing divided into three stages, each lasting 6 hours. Results and rankings are determined based on the actual distance covered within 18 hours. During the race, rider changes are allowed, but the vehicle cannot be replaced. FIM organizes the World Motorcycle Endurance Championship, held annually in 9 countries, and the International Motorcycle Endurance Race.

 

  1. Mountain Road Races: This type of speed race takes place on well-paved roads through challenging hilly terrain. The one-way route covers 2 to 6 kilometers with an elevation difference of 200 to 300 meters. Riders start individually at 1-minute intervals. The winner is determined by the fastest speed. FIM organizes the European Motorcycle Mountain Road Championship and the International Motorcycle Hill Climb.

Track Races

Track races include cinder track races, ice races, grass races, motorcycle polo, and long-distance track races:

 

  1. Cinder Track Races: These races take place on a circular track with stands around it, similar to an athletic track, composed of two straight sections and two connecting semicircles. The track surface is covered with small cinders and must have a certain level of hardness without being too firm. Cinder track races have strict venue requirements and high costs but are popular in European countries due to intense competition. Each race consists of 18 to 20 innings, with each inning covering 3 laps. The cinder track race motorcycles have a simple structure, a small fuel tank, and a high alcohol content in the fuel. FIM organizes the World Motorcycle Dirt Track Championship (including individual, team, and two-person races) and the European Individual Championship.

 

  1. Motorcycle Ice Races: These races take place on icy surfaces.

 

  1. Motorcycle Grass Races: These races are conducted on grass-covered fields, similar to cinder track races.

 

  1. Motorcycle Polo: This is a ball game played between two motorcycle teams on a sports field or grassy area. The field requirements and competition rules are similar to soccer. Specially designed motorcycles are used, and the game involves kicking, heading, or using the motorcycle to strike the ball. FIM organizes the European Motorcycle Polo Championship annually, featuring teams from European countries.

Touring Races

Touring races are competitions with a tourism-oriented nature. Some are scored and ranked according to competition regulations, while others have a more social and leisurely nature, with no consideration of results. There are two types: International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) Rally and International Touring Assembly.

 

  1. International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) Rally:

– Also known as the FIM “Rally,” it is organized once a year in a country during the summer season.

– The competition lasts for a maximum of three days, and member countries of the International Motorcycling Federation can send teams to participate.

 

  1. International Touring Assembly:

– This is a gathering of motorcycle riders. Participants depart from various locations and converge at a specified location.

– The assembly point must be within the jurisdiction of the national or regional motorcycle sports association.

– It includes various events such as International Touring Assembly, International Special Assembly, International Classic Assembly, International Extended Time Assembly, International Travel Meeting, and International Invitation Assembly.