5) The Erzberg Rodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble
Motocross and Supercross races are exciting and make incredible spectator sports – but they are short, and take place in controlled environments that allow riders to have full command over the terrain, and how to approach it.
Race dirt bikes outside on long, outdoor cross-country courses with numerous terrain variations and challenging obstacles instead, and you get Enduro. Now take the best Enduro riders from all over the world and put them in a giant pit with an insanely large mass start and near vertical climbs over virtually impossible terrain, and you get: the Erzberg Rodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble.
The Erzberg Rodeo is an Enduro racing event that takes place in Austria every spring since 1995, and is the largest of it’s kind in Europe. The four-day event is a dirt-riding festival that features exhibition races of all sorts, but the main event is the Red Bull Hare Scramble, a four hour Enduro race that is likely the most challenging Enduro race in the world.
The course changes each year, but it always takes place in a fascinating place – a massive quarry carved out of a mountain in the Austrian countryside. The race begins with an enormous mass start of 500 riders, all attempting to claw their way out of the crowd and up the multiple, rocky terraces left by decades of mining activity. Huge crowds of riders battling to find the perfect line up almost impossible hill climbs results in pileups of dozens or hundreds of riders. As a result this race has the highest attrition race of any on our list – of 500 starters, typically less than 30 will even finish the race!
4) Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
While this is an old race – America’s oldest motorsports race, in fact – it is still a relative newcomer to the motorcycle racing world. This is because of the nature of the course itself – for most of it’s century-long history, the winding, 12.42 mile course that heads straight up to the peak of a 14,110-foot tall mountain was mostly unpaved, and the race was known more of an off-road rally competition as a result.
But paving began in 2002, and was finally completed in 2011. With the course fully paved, the race was finally open to road racing motorcycles, meaning the world’s fastest bikes could finally attack the course with their firm road suspensions, aerodynamic bodies, and sticky race tires. Quickly, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb became one of the most important events in the world of motorcycle racing.
Supersports quickly became the weapon of choice to attack the mountains 156 turns, many of which are remarkably treacherous to navigate, as the course is lined with either massive trees or with corners completely lacking in side rails. One wrong move will likely result in either a quick stop from triple digit speeds by a pine tree, or taking an expedited trip down the mountain by going over its side!
Incredibly, only 5 racers have died in the race’s 100-year-long history. But two of those were in back-to-back years in 2014 and 2015, which prompted a rules change banning ultra-fast supersports from competition. But that didn’t slow racers down – the most recent course record was set this year by Chris Fillmore in a wickedly powerful KTMSuper Duke R, who finished the race in a blistering 9 minutes and 49 seconds!
3) The SCORE Baja 1000
The SCORE Baja 1000 is a grueling off-road race that takes place each November in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. The race was founded in 1967, and is today one of the premier events for long-distance off-road racing in the world.
The Baja 1000 features a number of vehicles classes from trucks, to buggies, to ATVs, and the race, which spans from 600 to nearly 1000 miles depending on the course, is perhaps known today or trophy truck racing. But the race actually started as a challenge between four wheels and two, to see which type of vehicle could best dominate the long, dry, flat Baja terrain.
Bud Ekins, a racer and Honda dealer best known for being Steve McQueens stunt double and racing partner, first ran the course in 1962, as a way to test the durability and performance of a new Honda dirt bike. Several years later, however, another racer named Bruce Meyers shocked the world when he ran the same course 5 hours faster in a home-built buggy – and immediately, a competition was born.
The Baja 1000 has grown every year since, and today dozens of classes compete every year, testing their machines and their own endurance across the vast Baja landscape. While the vast course is grueling – particularly for motorcycle riders, who expend tremendous energy traversing it – the challenging terrain isn’t the only danger present at Baja. This race is the only one where spectators are actually booby-trap the course, simply in the hopes of seeing something interesting happen. As if covering nearly 1000 miles on a dirt bike wasn’t dangerous enough! Click Here…