Dirty Riding


In general, you can find almost any design of motorcycle your imagination can come up with. I’ve done blogs about bikes with big radial engines, electric engines and even one with a jet engine (technically a gas turbine engine). But these were all unique, hand-made machines with limited production. None of them had a sport built around them.
I happened to catch the FIM Speedway races a couple of days ago. I can promise you that if you’re just flipping through channels and come across something like this, you’re going to stop and watch for at least a few minutes.
FIM stands for Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, or International Motorcycling Federation. It is the body that regulates the motorcycles and track used in the race.
Here are some interesting specs:
They can’t have engines larger that 500cc.
They burn methanol.
They must weigh at least 170 pounds.
They can have only one gear.
They can’t have brakes of any kind.
They run on a dirt track anywhere from 850 feet to 1,500 feet long and at least 33 feet wide.
More specs at Wikipedia
OK, now get your mind around a 170-pound, methanol-burning, 500cc motorcycle that can’t gear down, ripping around a 33 feet wide dirt track. With no brakes. And other motorcycles.
Sounds like a recipe for excitement to me.
These bike spend much of the race at a 90˚ angle from the direction of travel. They have a dirt shield over the rear tire to reduce the spray of dirt and gravel. To my eye, these are strange looking bikes with a strange riding style.


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— Guy Wheatley

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