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The stable technology platform

December 26th, 2007 · No Comments · Racing, Technology

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tetRecently I watched a round of the CORR (Championship Off Road Racing) truck series on TV. During one of the racer interviews the driver (whose name I don’t recall) mentioned that his truck was 10 years old. When I saw that I was, once again, reminded how many 4–wheel racing series are structured to keep the equipment viable year after year. We don’t have anything like this in the two-wheeled world. Everything we do in motocross, even our vintage racing, is tightly bound to what the manufacturers produce on a yearly basis.

The idea of competing successfully on a 10–year old, or even a 5–year old, bike is laughable for the average rider. What’s worse, the evolution of bike technology has completely changed the character of our sport. The speeds, risks, and injury rates in MX have all skyrocketed, not to mention the cost and complexity of racing. So what to do?

My suggestion is a rules-based, limited technology class of racing designed to achieve three primary goals:

  • reduce overall cost and complexity
  • reduce overall speed
  • reduce the incentive to build high-speed, obstacle-laden, high-risk race tracks

Imagine if you could build, or buy, a race bike made with modern materials and manufacturing techniques that you knew you could race competitively for the next 5 or 10 years with only regular maintenance and minor modifications. Imagine if you could introduce your kids to a form of motocross that minimized the risk of debilitating injury (and even death) by doing away with the 100–foot triples and long stretches of bulldozer whoops designed specifically to throw you off. Imagine if you and your buddies could get together on weekends and race simple, semi-modern two-stroke bikes with ready parts availability and a low total cost of ownership.

What would these changes mean for your interest in MX? What would they mean to your long-term participation in the sport? This might sound like a pipe dream. After all, we motorcyclists have never known a time when our racing wasn’t structured, top to bottom, to drive sales of new bikes made by the big manufacturers. There’s much more to this than the simple outline I’ve shared here. In future articles I’ll share some of my initial thoughts on what such a bike might be. There are many, many ways to approach it.

But the time has come to rethink our sport and our passion. It’s high time we stopped slavishly following the desires of the motorcycle oligopoly. Stay tuned.

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