Offroad motorcycling has taken up a variety of forms and styles over time.

Basically what it's about is a bunch of guys speeding around in the mud on high powered and specially fitted motorbikes to see who completes a given number of laps first.

Do you feel like the above is an accurate enough description of the sport of moto-cross or super-cross?

If so don't bother to read on, better just move on to the next page and join the club of the tarmac lovers, who think there is no better feeling in the world then to see a perfectly smooth and straight line of road stretching out as far as the eye can see.

If you do not see the above as an acceptable description of the sport, better yet, if you feel revolted that something as spectacular and breath-taking as moto-cross should be summed up in a few corny sentences like those, then you've come to the right place.

Everybody should have - if nothing else - a healthy respect for this wonderful sport and the people who are involved with it, as it's often scene to rather out- of -this world feats of prowess and courage.

What onlookers often don't realize is the amount of physical effort involved in moto-cross. As in most motorsports riders are not only driving a motorized vehicle around a track, they 're struggling every inch of the way on the edge of adherence, flying through the air over quite incredible distances, absorbing the shock of the landings, balancing the bike that often weighs around 200 pounds around tight bends on a type of terrain that seems all but meant for someone to ride any type of vehicle over it.

Add all this to the fact that a typical moto-cross race lasts for at least thirty minutes, and it brings us to the conclusion that it is by no means a suitable sport for the couch-potato type person. As a matter of fact - a curiosity - there was a comparative study in the 1980s , done by the National Health Institute in California which resulted in the conclusion that the cardio-vascular fitness of motocross riders was comparable to that of American football and soccer athletes.

In the early days ( meaning before 1965) all moto-cross bikes were powered by four-stroke engines. As the two stroke engine gradually proved its superiority over the old four-stroke, all bikes got fitted with such powerplants, starting with the 1970s. The fuel in two-strokers, however, had to be mixed with oil in order to provide better lubrication, thus causing engines to release an increased amount of pollutants into the air resulted from the partial burn of the oil. In the 1990s - due to growing concern for the environment - the good old four-stroke got pulled from the shelf, dusted off, modified and put to use in the new generation of motorbikes ( the Yamaha YZ400). Since then, four stroke racebikes have become pretty common again, as they're allowed - under special rules - to race two- strokers of lower capacity. The shorter pistons that are used and the higher rpm 's the new four-strokers run at, allowed them to produce higher power outputs.

The engine was not the only part of motocross bikes to undergo a series of changes through the history of this spectacular sport. Improved suspensions allow riders to take much larger bumps nowadays than they were able to tackle in the 1960 s, and battling the challenges of natural terrain is not the only way to soar to success anymore. The advent of indoor tracks ridden with man-made obstacles and jumps led to the appearance of Supercross, Arenacross, and Freestyle - a discipline solely dedicated to jumping skills.

Supermoto - a type of racing which involves riders taking on both typical motocross-track portions and tarmac stretches has gained a lot of popularity lately. The tires used are road tires.

Another recent offroad moto-racing phenomenon is ATV racing. ATVs ( All Terrain Vehicles) are four-wheel motorbikes with special high-performance four stroke engines, the latest of which feature electronic fuel-injection ( Suzuki LT-R450).

The advances in technology, both in materials used and electronics keeps opening new possibilities for offroad moto-racing. ATV racing continues to draw crowds and participants alike in the USA, a popularity which is partly attributed to the fact that manufacturers keep producing race-ready machines.

With this trend in full swing the future of offroad moto-racing never looked brighter.