competitions in driving touring and sports motorcycles along special tracks and on and off roads; separate events are held for each class of motorcycle.
Motorcycle sports include straight-line road races; closed-course road races along a track more than 1.5 km long; moto-crosses, or races across rugged terrain, usually along a closed circular route 1.5 to 5 km long; motorcycle tournaments, which are competitions lasting several days (up to six days, with rests at night) on and off the road, under a set schedule of driving and with additional high-speed races; speedway races along the cinder or ice track of a stadium; races on the dirt track of a hippodrome; gymkhanas, on a field equipped with artificial obstacles; speed-record trials on tracks permitting development of the maximum speed from a given class of motorcycle; and motorcycle ball, a team game for motorcycle athletes with a ball. Motorcycle orienteering and rallies are also held.
The first motor-vehicle competitions in which motorcycles also took part were held in 1895 along the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris route; in Russia the first official motorcycle races were held in 1898 (near St. Petersburg). In the early 20th century motorcycle races between St. Petersburg and Moscow were held regularly. In 1907 the first closed-course road race was held in Great Britain, and in 1913 a motorcycle tournament was also held there; speedway races on a cinder track were held in southern Africa in 1907 (on the territory of the present-day Republic of South Africa) and in Australia in 1922 (public races). In the early 1920’s the first hippodrome races were organized, and in the 1930’s, speedway races on ice. World championships are held in closed-course races (since 1949), motocross (1957), speedway races (cinder track since 1949, ice tracks since 1966), and motorcycle tournaments (1913). The International Motorcycle Federation (IMF) was founded in 1904.
In the USSR the first all-Union competitions in motorcycle sports (hippodrome races) were held in 1924. In the early 1930’s, with the beginning of motorcycle production in the USSR, motorcycle sports were encouraged in all the Union republics. The formation of Soviet motorcycle sports is associated with V. P. Chkalov; F. V. Borisov, the organizer of the Moscow Automobile and Motorcycle Club; and the well-known motorcyclists P. P. Vorotilkin, E. I. Gringaut, N. I. Zakrevskii, A. I. Ivanenko, V. I. Karneev, A. N. Silkin, A. V. Chigorin, and N. N. Shumilkin. In the 1950’s and 1960’s motorcycle sports experienced great development, which was made possible by the serial production of Soviet motorcycles of modern design, including sports motorcycles; championships of the USSR, Union republics, and others in motorcycle sports were held annually. Honored Masters of Sports E. S. Kosmatov, I. Ia. Ozolina, N. P. Sevast’ianov, N. P. Sokolov, and V. S. Pylaev were repeat champions of the USSR in motorcycle sports.
In 1956, with the entry of the Central Automobile and Motorcycle Club of the USSR into the IMF, Soviet athletes began to appear regularly in international motorcycle competitions. The Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of the USSR was created in 1960, and the autonomous Federation of Motorcycle Sports in 1962. In 1973 automobile and motorcycle clubs were operating in DOSAAF (the All-Union Voluntary Society for Cooperation With the Army, Air Force, and Navy), and there were about 4,500 motorcycle sections in technical sports clubs and physical-education groups of voluntary sports societies, in which about 350,000 people were involved, including more than 2,000 Masters of Sports. In the program of the All-Union Spartakiada of the DOSAAF for technical military sports (1969–70) there were more than 45,000 competitions in motorcycle sports (about 700,000 participants). In 1965, V. M. Arbekov won the world motocross championship, and in 1968 the Soviet team won the Motocross des Nations; in 1967,1969,1971, and 1973, Soviet motorcycle ball players were European champions, and G. F. Kadyrov was six-time world champion (between 1966 and 1973) in races on an ice track.
Motorcycle sports are widely developed in Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Sweden. Repeat world champions have been G. Agostini (Italy, road races, 13 times), J. Robert (Belgium, motocross, motorcycling, six times), O. V. Fundin (Sweden, speedway, five times), and B. Briggs and I. Mauger (Great Britain, speedway, four times each).
G. M. AFREMOV