The birth of Dirt Bikes Sport-Dirt Bike Reviews

The birth of Dirt Bikes Sport From 1924 Into 1939

Sam Ammouri

sam ammouri

The Deep Insight:dirtp
There has not been a great deal of historical research about Dirtbikes. While some periodical publications in both Europe and north America have reported on the sport in a comprehensive fashion, one can count on two hands the useful books that have been written about the sport.

Many of the books on the subject have basically been art books, containing impressive photographs with captions, but very little historical facts.

Therefore, most motorcycle historians have been willing to accept that the origin of motocross (dirt bike) has been lost in the mists of time, often assuming, due to its name, that dirt bike sport originated somewhere in France.

                 The first-ever motocross aboard a 1924 Velocette, 250cc two-stroke. (photos courtesy The Motor Cycle)

The Early Motorcycle Competition
The earliest models of motorcycles were little more than bicycles with small internal combustion engines attached. When athlets began to race with motorcycles, sometimes they even used the tracks built for bicycle racing.

In those early days,  manufacturers entered their motorcycles in competitive events to publicize their brand and prove their performance and durability, just as they still do nowadays.

What is popular?

The most popular types of events were track races, endurance trials, and hill climbs. Endurance trials were run over both roads and rough terrain (and often the early roads were barely distinguishable from rough terrain), and would sometimes cover hundreds of miles over periods as long as two to 7 days.

The Early hill climbs were not like the rough-and-tumble events on short, steep hills we see in America today, but were usually over a long road snaking up a big mountainside, sometimes for a few miles.

While all types of early motorcycle competition emphasized both vehicle performance and rider ability, the English developed an event designed especially to test rider ability and style. That was Called an observed trial, it featured difficult sections where a rider’s ability was evaluated and scored by selected judges.

The earliest of these was the Scott Trial, sponsored by Yorkshire engineer and designer of the Scott motorcycle (founded in 1909) Alfred Angus Scott, in conjunction with an annual outing for his company’s employees.

There, A course was laid out over the rugged northern English terrain, including bogs, rocky sections, and stream crossings. While top speed was not the objective of the event, a time limit was included, requiring participants to move swiftly from one observed section to the next, where their ability to negotiate obstacles was judged and scored.

The victorious was the rider who completed the course with the fewest mistakes in the shortest time.

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