While a typical motocross race lasts 40 minutes and is held on outdoor trails emphasizing natural terrain, supercross is run on man-made tracks in stadiums. Also, supercross races are shorter, they include harrowing twists and turns, and feature thrilling, crowd-pleasing jumps.
Mike Goodwin staged the first ever supercross event in 1972. He called it "The Super Bowl of Motocross" and it was held at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.
The race was won by 16-year-old Marty Tripes. Even to this day supercross is a sport for the young with racers usually retiring before they turn 30.
Nearly four decades after Tripes' victory, Supercross has grown into the number two motorsport in the United States behind NASCAR. The sport has produced a bevy of riders that have become household names: James Stewart, Chad Reed, Travis Pastrana, Rickey Carmichael, and Jeremy McGrath.
Supercross is sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. The series features 17 weeks of racing with one racing event per week. The season lasts from January through Mid-May. Riders get points for competing and winning weekly events and then those points determine the season's overall champion.
The AMA Supercross series is divided into two classes, the 450's and the 250's, or lites. The lites are further divided into an East and West circuit with each one racing for eight weeks. Obviously, the 450 is the sport's premiere circuit and it's sometimes called the Supercross Class.
McGrath holds the mark for most career championships with seven and most career wins with 72. Carmichael is second in both categories with five championships and 48 wins. Active riders Stewart and Reed each have two championships.