Motocross has it’s roots in “scrambles” events that began in Europe as early as the mid 1920s…over time it evolved into what we would recognize as it’s current form and became popular in the USA in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Motocross machines are far and away the most popular type of offroad racing motorcycle sold worldwide, and are often used as the basis of machines for other forms of racing, like hare scrambles, enduro, dirt track, and hillclimb.
Motocross racers compete on a closed offroad course that can feature many different configurations of jumps, corners, elevation changes, etc. Each class competition is comprised of 2 individual races, called “motos” – final results are determined by each riders’ combined scores from both motos. Like enduro, hare scrambles, and other forms of motorcycle racing, motocross is intense and highly physically demanding – professional motocross racers are amongst the best athletes in the world.
You may see on TV (or attend live, if you’re in the area) an event called a “supercross” – supercross evolved from motocross as an indoor version of the sport, frequently held in football stadiums (although some supercrosses are actually outside, such as at the LA Coliseum and at Daytona Motor Speedway). For the most part, supercross only exists at the professional level, with the AMA managing a pro supercross series in addition to it’s pro motocross series. There is a smaller-format variant, called “arenacross,” which are held in smaller venues like basketball arenas, that are often amateur events.
There are youth and ATV classes in Motocross too!