Motocross vs. Other Sports: Which is the most physical?

We all know that motocross is a physical sport. In fact, it’s so physical that riders need to be in excellent shape just to compete. But every year, we hear naysayers telling us about the rigors of track and field sports and how motorsports and motocross are not real sports. So, we decided to take a closer at how MX stacks up against these “real” sports regarding physicality.

First up, let’s look at a sport that requires high levels of fitness and stamina and no small amount of skill. It’s the world’s favourite sport: football. Now you’ve seen all the memes and compilation videos comparing the injuries suffered by football players to those we see on the MX track. We’re not going down that path. Football is full of guys feigning injury, and that’s not what we’re talking about here. The truth is that soccer is a genuinely physical sport that takes a lot of effort to play. But is it as physical as motocross? We’re going to say no to the fact that only bad tackles or awkward falls result in serious injury. Any fall in MX can destroy your career.

Next, it’s the NFL, and to be honest, we’re going to say that this game is, in fact, less physical than soccer. Are we serious? Yes, we are. American football players spend a lot of time standing around with plays only lasting a few seconds. They also wear a lot of protection, and while some tackles are severe, really bad ones are few and far between. It’s a dangerous sport at times, but you don’t need a huge amount of stamina to play. We’d like to see Tom Brady try to stay on a bike for four laps.

So, what about rugby? One of the most physical team sports on the planet, players push each other around for 80 minutes while being ready to sprint through any gaps in the defence. These guys wear no protection and take lumps out of one another. As far as field sports are concerned, this is the one that as MX fans, we respect the most. It’s as punishing a sport as we’ve ever seen.

But in our mind, there are only two sports that can hold a candle to motocross, and yes, you’ve guessed it, both are motorsports. Rallying and F1. Now, before you lose your mind on the topic of F1, let us explain ourselves. Rallying is an obvious one, and we’re talking “through the forest and around winding country roads” rallying. It’s dangerous, takes a lot of concentration and physically demanding. An easy choice.

So, what about F1? Well, regardless of what some of you may think, F1 is, in fact, a physically demanding sport that takes levels of concentration that few can master. Crash an F1 car and your life and those of the people around you are in immediate danger, so the pressure is immense. One hundred and ninety miles of white knuckles and total concentration with even the smallest error is punishable in the worst possible way. Add to that an F1 calendar that takes in races all over the world three or four times a month, and you have a recipe for one of the most physically demanding (and dangerous) sports of all time.

Interestingly, you’ll note that of all the sports we discussed, the only one that you can compare to MX regarding physicality and danger is one that some athletes think is not even a “real” sport. Motorsports are physical, and people need to get it into their heads that being able to run around a pitch for 90 minutes does not mean they are better than someone who controls a powerful machine through jumps and corners. Besides F1, rallying and perhaps rugby, there’s little that can compare to motocross.

Words:Ciaran McEneaney



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