AMA History of MotoCross

Following World War II, US racing remained focused on "flat track," as it had before the war. Meanwhile, the first motocross races were being held in Europe. But motocross wasn't attracting widespread attention in the US.

In 1947, the FIM created the Motocross des Nations, an annual event to determine the World Team Motocross Champions. In 1957, the FIM fully embraced motocross by creating an individual World Motocross Championship Series.

Early motocross machines were incredibly primitive by today's standards. They were heavy, underpowered, and equipped with rudimentary suspension systems that did little to smooth out the rough terrain. But motocross had two undeniable elements that promised future success: it provided an affordable but highly challenging sport for participants, and offered incredible, up-close action for spectators.

In the late 1960's, the European masters of motocross began to export their talents and technology to North America, where a related discipline of "rough scrambles" had developed independently. In a matter of a few years, motocross had taken hold in America.

The AMA held a variety of amateur and Pro-Am motocross races in the late sixties. By 1972, American racers had motocross fever, and the AMA established a formal National Championship Motocross Series.

At the time, US riders could only dream of beating their more experienced European counterparts. But international stars, led by Belgium's Roger DeCoster, gave the Americans something at which to shoot. And by the time the 1980's rolled around, the Americans had learned the lessons well enough to dominate the sport.

During this decade of motocross racing, the United States delivered to the motorcycling world a new development that has changed the very face of the sport.

In 1971, the AMA conducted a professional motocross race on a temporary track at Daytona International Speedway. While most motocross races had been held in the remote, rural countryside, Daytona brought motocross to the people.

A year later, the concept was taken a step further - motocross was brought to major urban sports stadiums, beginning with the Los Angeles Coliseum. The term "Supercross," a combination of Super Bowl and Motocross, was coined.

Meanwhile, the popularity of the AMA National Motocross series continued to grow. Race weekends developed into well-organized weekend festivals in the countryside, and the level of competition just kept getting better.

In the 80's and 90's, teams, motorcycle manufacturers, broadcast partners, race facilities and sponsors worked together to bring the sport to new audiences. Top motocross/supercross riders became household names, and off-road motorcycle sales soared across the country.

Today, the AMA U.S. Motocross and Supercross Championships are the nation's best-attended motorsport on dirt. Millions more worldwide follow both series via cable, satellite and Internet broadcasts.
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