Monday, July 11, 2011

Russian Motocross History ? Looking Back

With the success of the Russian giant Evgeny Bobryshev last weekend at the Grand Prix of Germany, we thought it might be a good idea to check on some Russian Motocross history. A look into the past as a Russian stands on top of the World for the first time since 1980.

Russian Motocross History

In 1936 the Central Auto-Motor Club in Russia has been established, which was played an important part in motorcycle racings in Russia.

After the Second World War, the national motocross got some contemporary characteristics in terms of sport organization. The most of the races were held on relatively short lap tracks, though some of the races had a lap-length of 30 km and more (those distances were popular in the USSR and USA, mainly). The motorcycles were being changed as well: their development and manufacturing was specifically motocross-oriented. There was a system of series introduced comprising several short and dynamic races.

Motocross des Nations started since 1947. It took place in Holland, and Britain was the winner. In 1952 Federation International de Motocyclisme (FIM) introduced the regulations for European Motocross Championship and the motorcycles with the 500 cc engines. The first European Championship took place in 1955, and in 1957 the first World Championship was organized. Since 1961 Trophy Des Nations (National Trophy) was established for national teams of 250 cc class.

In 1960 the Federation of car and motorcycle sports was created in Russia. With each year the motorized sports were gaining popularity and affordability in the country. The skills of the sportsmen were growing, and the quality of the motorcycles was being mastering. The tracks and the programs were more complex and spectacular, and the races were of more interest to people.

Since 1963 Russian motocross sportsmen became regular participants of the International races of the highest level. However there was an obstacle, since the Russian crossers had to overcome the difficulties because of the ideological prohibition of the western motorcycles.

Russian racers were permitted to use only motorcycles produced by the allies of the Soviet Union, in particular, Czech Republic (then it was called Czechoslovakia). Czechs produced famous at that time models Jawas and CZes. But Czech motorcycles were weaker in many aspects compared to the machines produced in Europe and Japan.

Nevertheless, in 1965 Victor Arbeckov could become the Champion onboard of the CZ, which was a real surprise for the motorcycling world. Arbeckov could gain a victory even over great six-time World Champion Joel Robert from Belgium, who was at the peak of his sporting career.

Another famous racer, Gennady Moiseev (presently the President of Motorcycling Federation of Russia) proved to the world the high potential of the Russian racers once again in 1973. During one of the rounds of 1973 World Championship Gennady Moiseev appeared to have no motorcycle, as the Czech partners were not in time to deliver their CZ for him. Then the representatives of the young KTM Company from Austria offered the Russian racer their machine. Gennady Moiseev took the offer, and wined the race.

Frankly, that liberty cost the representative of the Russian delegation his Communist party membership and the position. On the other hand, the Russian team acquired the great KTM machine. With the KTM Gennady Moiseev became three-time World Champion, in 1974, 1977 and 1978.

However, In 1979 Gennady Moiseev was prohibited by the Soviet authorities to use Austrian KTM, and he was ordered to switch to CZ model again, which immediately worsen his position to the tenth place in the Championship.

Before 1980 the national team of Russia took the first places three times, two times – second places and four times – third places in Motocross des Nations and Trophy Des Nations. During the first 18 years the leading motocross racers of Russia – Arbekov, Grigoriev, Moiseev, Kavinov – won 4 golden medals, 2 silver medals, and 4 bronze medals in World Championship action.

Only in the beginning of the 1990-s the Russian sportsmen got the freedom and possibility to use modern motorcycles produced in Western countries. But the ideological iron curtain have been preventing the natural development of motorized sports in Russia for years, and the riders lost their skills to be competitive with the rest of the world. Sometimes the Russian sportsmen even couldn’t have qualified for the World Championship.

However, step by step the Russian motocross gains the strength. There’s a good organization, and there’re main development targets. The Russian racers become more competitive, they work a lot, and react quickly for the changes in the modern motocross racing.


Shaun Simpson Joel Smets Jeff Smith Marty Smith Steve Stackable

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