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.


     It is believed the first mechanical "carriages" appeared in Tsar Russia in 1891, in Odessa, while 15 fuel mechanical vehicles were registered in St. Petersburg. The then vehicles were referred to as just "motors".

     The first motocross racing was organized on the 8th of November, 1898. The two-way distance was 41,6 km long, the road from the railway-station Alexandrovskaya (near Detskoye village) till the turn to the station Strelna was chosen as the event venue.

     The next racing took place in summer of 1899, on the route from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Three racers onboard of cars and three riders on three-wheelers participated in the racing. The winner was a motorcyclist who covered the distance clocked 26 hours and 57 minutes. A car-driver was a runner-up, it took him 42 hours and 59 minutes to finish the race.

     In 1900 another competition was organized. This time the distance was 100 versts (the length measure "verst" was used in old Russia, and 1 verst equaled to 3500 feet, or 1,06 kilometers). It was the first race where up-hill running was included. The participants of another race were two cars (both had technical problems and didn't manage to finish) and a tricycle - the tricycle covered 650 versts from Moscow to St. Petersburg within 26 hours and 23 minutes. In November, 1900 the Sport magazine organized the Sport-Cup racing which was rather extreme competition, since it was 28 degrees C below zero. Next year, on the 4th of March the Association of biking tried to organize the car-racing in winter-time for the last time, since the drivers couldn't conquer the deep snow-piles.

     In 1901 the Club of automobile and motorcycle Tourists was established in Moscow, while the Association of driving and bicycling was organized in St. Petersburg. There were few female riders in Russia before the October revolution of 1917: N. Kholodovich and K. Korobanova, both from Moscow, were riding motorcycles. And in 1902 miss Walton onboard of motorcycle Werner was the first ever Russian female-rider who registered a record riding 2 verst-distance (2,12 km) on a track with the speed of 40,64 kmh.

     Motorcycle sport in pre-revolutionary Russia, before 1917, was directed by All-Russian Association of Motorcyclists (VOM) with the head-quarters in St. Petersburg (which was then called Petrograd) and Moscow Association of Motorcyclists (MOM), established in 1906 in Moscow. Worth mentioning is the fact that St. Petersburg used to be the capital of Russia, not Moscow. All in all there were over 20 sport-public organizations involved in motorized vehicles (both cars and motorcycles) in Russia before 1917.

     The Russian sportsmen started to participate in International racing with quite a success. The routes of marathon car racings came across the territory of Russia, for instance the rally New York - Paris of 1908. In 1909 the rally Petersburg - Riga - Petersburg was organized.

     The road motorcycle racing Kiev - Chernigov - Kiev was conducted in 1913, and Moscow - Petersburg - Moscow racing took place in 1914. Before the revolution of 1917 the motorcycling sport in Russia was not quite popular, and it wasn't a mass-sport, instead it was a sport of the rare enthusiasts. The popularity spreading was influenced by the lack of motorcycle manufacturing. The sportsmen had to buy the motorcycles in other countries, and only rich people could afford it.

     The real leap in development of motorcycle sport in Russia was registered after the revolution of 1917. In July, 1918 the moscovites organized the motorcycle racing on the road Moscow - Klin - Moscow. In 1920 the First Cup of the Russian Federation took place in Moscow. Then, in 1921 the Second Cup was organized in Tula: there were track racing and road racing with the distance of 100 versts (106 km).

     The motorcycling competitions were included into Spartan Games of 1928 (sports and athletic games, sort of National Olympic games). All the participants had private motorcycles made abroad. 61 motorcycle records were registered in spite of the fact that the racings were held on a cobble-stone road, and while the racing the sportsmen had to change or repair their tires 10 or 15 times, and to fix mechanical faults as well.

     The regular National Motocross Championships started in 1928 in the USSR. The country leaders loved motorcycles, and the number of motocross sportsmen was growing rapidly. The hugely popular Chkalov Motocross (named after famous Russian aircraft pilot) used to attract several hundreds of racers before the beginning of the war with Germany in 1941. The champions were as famous as national heroes of that time. Continued on Page 2.


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