A dirt bike race for the common man

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Motorcycles are probably the most exciting consumer good in the world. But, right now, they’re a hard sell. Races take place a long way from the cities where people live. The people that race are nothing like the people with the cash to buy. The actual racing is boring to anyone without a complete grasp of the physics involved. So, how do you involve a non-endemic crowd with something as alien to their lives as dirt bike racing? Auckland’s City Scramble looks like a good start, bringing motorcycles to the people with a city-center location and the kind of track and obstacles they can comprehend and appreciate. Running last weekend, it drew 10,000 spectators.

Photos: Graeme Murray

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The key here isn’t just that city center location (cities are good because, unlike remote patches of woods, people live in them), but in creating a race that someone with no experience with motorcycles can relate to. Your non-biker friends don’t understand what’s going on when Jorge Lorenzo stuffs Casey Stoner at big lean angles, but they do understand when a bike rides over an elevated wood track, or through a submerged bridge under the ocean, or over a huge stack of tires. That’s the kind of thing real people, the kind with credit cards and disposable income, can relate to.

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  • duncanbojangles

    Needs more hay bales?

  • wwalkersd

    Yeah, motocross needs to be more like monster truck competition. LOL.

    To me, this is just another sign of the dumbing-down of everything in order to provide spectacle that will separate idiots from their money. Our civilization is doomed.

  • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

    Bite sized, city centric variant of Romaniacs? Bring this to Boston, and I’d pay my money!

    You cannot ask me to drink Red Bull though. Sorry.

  • parkwood60

    Someone get on the phone to the Long Beach Grand Prix organizers. Seems like LBC is the natural area of So Cal to host such an event, and though I have no hope of competing I would love to watch.

  • JVictor75

    This needs to be marketed in the same way as the “Mud Run” craze. To me it has the same marketing metric, anyway.

    Take motocross events away from the lip-ring and clipart tattoo festooned jackassery of the flatbiller crowd and give it back to being at least a semblance of being a family-friendly event.

    The kind of thing that (although she may end up hating it) you wouldn’t mind taking your Mom or your immediate family to watch while enjoying a picnic or just a day in the sun.

    This looks like a lot of fun to just *watch*, everyone looks like they’re having a good time, and I see no evidence of any form of Metal Mulisha presence.

    I heartily approve.

    • contender

      Check my new tattoo. It says ‘gnarly’ in wingdings.

      • JVictor75


    • matt

      that’s NZ for you in a nutshell. People are generally pretty laid back, smiling and not nearly as danger averse, or danger captivated, as we are here in the US. The attitude I’ve seen there is a very realistic – “some stuff’s a little dangerous, if you’re worried, don’t do it” – which makes much more sense than wrapping everything in protective foam, huge “danger ahead” signs and lawsuits. anyways.

    • pplassm

      Go to a National Outdoor MX race. It’s still very much “family oriented”. Outside of “UNAFUCKINGDILLA” that is.

  • Campisi

    Do they do this in the United States? I’d figure the insurance cost would be prohibitive.

    • pplassm

      That’s what i was thinking, too. That, plus current public perception of motorcycle riders/riding mean this would never happen here in the States.

  • PenguinScotty

    Oh this is really great.

    When i saw Birch and Letti and all the other Extreme Enduro guys, i was intrigued. Then the second video explained it all.

    I’m glad that Birch is doing that and that Red Bull is backing this so hard. All the Extreme Enduro guys have been pushing this kind of stuff hard. More accessible racing, for everybody.

    Honestly, to me, that is the way to go. Especially right now, where there aren’t THAT many young people coming into the sport (But it is picking up a bit).

    The simple fact of the matter is, that for most motorsports now, you had to have started riding when you were 6 to have a chance. This stuff, on the other hand, makes it more accessible.

    Really really great, and i hope that they’ll push this a lot more.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • runrun

    racing trials bikes!

  • Keith

    This is a brilliant idea!