Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Cameron from Pleasanton, CA. Cameron Wonders, “Who is the most famous dirt biker in the world?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Cameron!

Racing sports are some of the most thrilling events around. From the Olympic 100-meter final to the Indy 500, races draw fans from all around the world. But there’s one such sport that’s growing especially fast nowadays. What are we talking about? Motocross, of course!

What is motocross? It’s a type of motorcycle racing. The riders take their bikes on off-road tracks full of rough terrain. They race over hills and around sharp turns. The tracks are made of dirt, so are often muddy. This all adds to the difficulty of this sport. A rider has to be very talented to do well in motocross!

How did motocross get started? Motorcycles have been around for quite a while—since 1885. But motocross didn’t come about until the early 20th century. It started in the United Kingdom and spread across Europe. The name of the sport itself combines the French word for “motorcycle” (moto) with “cross country.” 

The sport came to America in the 1960s. Edison Dye brought motocross to the United States, where it gained popularity. Soon, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) started organizing races. It held the first AMA Motocross Championship in 1972.

Motocross only continued to grow and spread. Japanese companies like Suzuki and Kawasaki quickly became the leaders in building motocross bikes. In 1974, the AMA organized the first indoor motocross race, called supercross. In 1995, it held its first women’s motocross championship

Today, the sport continues to grow in popularity. Maybe you’ve heard of some of its most famous riders. One is Ricky Carmichael, who won 150 professional competitions and had three undefeated seasons. You may also recognize the name Jessica Patterson. She won seven national championships. Or perhaps you’ve heard of Jeremy McGrath, whose tricks on the track drew a lot of attention.

Do you dream of riding in motocross? It’s a very dangerous sport. It’s always important to use the proper safety equipment. This means wearing a helmet, goggles, and body armor. It’s also important to research the proper clothing and footwear to keep you safe on a motocross bike. 

How about the bike itself? The AMA has a guide to help riders of different ages find the right equipment. As with any sport, you should remember that motocross takes practice. It’s most important to have fun and follow all safety precautions each time you ride.

Of course, many people say watching a motocross race is as much fun as being in one! Seeing riders speed down dirt tracks and soar into the air over steep hills is exciting for fans. If you haven’t already, watch a race on T.V. sometime. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover your new favorite sport!

Standards: CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2

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