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Motocross
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Motocross

Motocross racing is form of motorcycle racing held on artificial loose dirt circuits, constructed with many corners and steep bumps from which riders launch themselves high into the air.

Motocross motorcyles are lightweight and powered by highly tuned two-stroke or four-stroke engines (but usually geared for quick acceleration rather than very high speeds). They have knobby tyres for traction on loose surfaces, a highly absorbent suspension designed to cope with the shock of heavy landings, and short gearing designed for swift acceleration rather than the ultimate in top speed. Unusually for racing machines, they can be purchased in a ready-to-race condition at moderate prices from major motorcycle manufacturers. As of April 2004. A 250cc two-stroke motorcross machine from Honda, a large Japanese manufacturer, has a list price of approximately 6000 USD. Professional riders, however, modify their machines further, both for outright performance and to have the bike's behaviour more in tune with their own preferences.

The object of the contest is to complete the most laps within a defined time limit, usually 10-40 minutes, called a moto. Usually a race consists of two motos with the scores combined for an overall result.

Motocross racing is one of the most visually appealing forms of motorsport, with riders performing seemingly death-defying leaps, turns visibly at the edge of traction (as indicated by a sliding, spinning rear tyre throwing dirt at all behind it), and the effort of riders clearly visible as the move their bodies around their motorcycles to balance the bikes for maximum speed. Capitalising on this appeal, two variants called supercross and arenacross have evolved, held on tighter tracks in sports stadiums (even indoors) with more, even higher jumps.

Freestyle motocross, a relatively new sport, shuns racing and concentrates on performing acrobatic stunts while jumping these motorcycles.

Many children are introduced to motorcycling through miniature motorcross bikes, some as young as 4 or 5 years old riding tiny 50cc machines. Most professional motorcycle racers from North America and Australia began their racing career on such machines; European motorcycle racers typically begin in pocketbike racing.