What Is Supercross?

supercross Credit: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Supercross is a type of motorcycle racing that involves the use of off-road bikes on man-made dirt courses that are often held in a stadium or arena. Supercross riders must be skilled not only at maneuvering a motorcycle around sharp turns and at high speeds, they must also be capable of successfully negotiating the jumps that are built into the dirt track. Though supercross is very similar to motocross, the two sports are separate entities.

While many riders compete in both supercross and motocross, there are some key differences in how each event is carried out. Supercross is typically an indoor event held in an arena, while motocross takes place at an outdoor track. Another difference between supercross and motocross is the fact that the supercross track is completely man-made, from the jumps to the turns, while a motocross track is partially man-made, but assisted by the presence of preexisting natural areas.

The races are also slightly different. A supercross race lasts for 20 laps, and whoever crosses the finish line first at the end of that 20th lap wins the race. Additionally, supercross events take place early in the calendar year, typically starting in January. Motocross events begin after the supercross season is over.