Supermoto racing is a fast-paced, highly technical motorcycle sport that uses a hybrid course with paved and unpaved sections. Supermoto thrilled fans and attracted a tremendous TV audience when it became a mainstream phenomenon in the 1980s. As the thrill of monster trucks, mud pits and truck rallies died down, so did the hype surrounding supermoto racing. Nearly 20 years later, interest in the sport began picking up in Europe and the United States. This grueling motorsport requires riders to tackle a variety of terrain, including a paved road course, a flat-track dirt course and a technical motocross-style dirt track with jumps and obstacles. Riders compete for the fastest time using on- or off-road cycles customized with racing tires.
This unique racing sport was developed in 1979 by British-born Gavin Trippe, a member of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. As a racing promoter and journalist, Trippe invented supermoto and was responsible for introducing European-style motocross to riders in the United States. Originally, Trippe conceived supermoto as an all-star event where the best riders from many racing disciplines would compete to become the best racer on a combination of technical surfaces. Trippe organized the first supermoto event for the influential Wide World of Sports that was broadcast by ABC. The Superbikers event was an instant hit and became an annual event held at the storied Carlsbad Raceway in California. When the Wide World of Sports was canceled in 1985, the popularity of supermoto racing suffered. This dare-devil sport was reborn in 2003. In the U.S., the American Motorcyclist Association established a supermoto tournament. The sport also earned a championship spot in ESPN’s X-Games. Today, supermoto racing is a highly evolved sport with dedicated riders and established teams in many countries.
When supermoto racing was born in 1979, it was truly ahead of its time. The sport has an ever-growing following with tournaments regulated by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). As a magazine publisher and journalist, Gavin Trippe promoted cycle racing internationally and introduced new sports to new audiences. The success of supermoto racing is a testament to the competitive innovations pioneered by this legendary promoter. After 30 years, it’s safe to say that supermoto is here to stay.