Dirt bikes are also known as off-road motorcycles and are built specifically for rough road conditions. With enough training, some people have mastered the art of riding bikes on rough trails, risking their lives but making a pretty penny from it. This article highlights the most famous dirt bike riders.
Most dirt bike riders are adrenaline junkies who got into the sport as young kids. They suffer gnarly injuries that force them into early retirement but not before earning fame and wealth. After leaving the sport, some of these athletes get into other motor racing sports or go into training other riders.
Famous pro dirt bike riders
Dirt bike racing is a risky sport, with the athletes endangering their lives with every stunt. Here is a list of the most famous riders who have been exemplary based on their performance and accomplishments.
10. Chad Reed
Chad Mark Reed is an Australian supercross and motocross champion with 20 years in the sport. He has been sponsored by companies like Red Bull, Yamaha Motor Company, Boost Mobile, and Penrite Oil Company. 2020 was his last season on a KTM bike. Named Australia’s most successful motocross racer, Reed was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia On 13 June 2011.
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9. Tony Cairoli
Antonio Cairoli, an Italian professional motocross racer, entered the racing scene in 2002 and won his first FIM Motocross World Championship in 2005, in the MX2-GP class. He has won nine FIM Championships and 178 Grand Prix Championships, making him one of the most successful bikers worldwide.
8. Ryan Dungey
This 33-year-old American racer is a four-time supercross and motocross national champion, with ninety wins in other competitions. He was active between 2006 and 2017 when he retired until April 2022, when he made a comeback to race in part of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Apart from his impressive career, Dungey is also a staunch Christian and supporter of cancer charities.
7. Roger DeCoster
Active in the seventies, the Belgian racer won five 500cc Motocross World Championships and 36 500cc Grand Prix races. He received the Belgian National Sports Merit Award in 1973 and was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. For his biking achievements, he received FIM legendary status in 2010. The 78-year-old icon is currently the Motorsport Director of KTM and writes a monthly column for Dirt Bike magazine.
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6. James Stewart Jr.
Nicknamed the fastest man on the planet or Bubba, Stewart has over 200 wins in AMA motocross and supercross championships. Introduced to racing by his enthusiastic father, Bubba’s first race was in 1989 when he was four, and he had a very impressive career till retiring in 2019 at 34. He also had a TV show, Bubba’s World, that ran from March 2010 to February 2011.
5. Ricky Johnson
Richard Bernard Johnson Jr. is a 58-year-old American former professional racer. He was active in the 1980s in AMA motocross and Supercross competitions and won seven AMA national championships. Johnson is one of the best racers because he had considerable success as an off-road truck and stock car racer. Motorsports Hall of Fame of America accepted him in 2012.
4. Bob Hannah
Robert William Hannah, also known as Hurricane, was one of the most successful motocross racers in American history, with 70 AMA National triumphs and seven motocross National Championships. He stepped into this arena when he was just 19 years old in 1976 till he retired in 1989, competing under Yamaha, Honda, and Suzuki racing teams. Bob joined the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2000.
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3. Ryan Villopoto
This American former racer competed in the AMA Motocross Championships from 2005 to 2014 for the Kawasaki factory racing team. Villopoto is a 4X supercross and 3X motocross champion who was trained by veteran racer Aldon Baker. He retired in 2015 after injuries he suffered in the Trentino GP crash barred him from participating in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
2. Jeremy McGrath
McGrath was named the King of Supercross in the 90s for his epic BMX jumps during races. With 89 wins to his name, the American racer was active from 1989 to 2006 with Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, and Kawasaki teams. The popular champion has also ventured into off-road trucks and stock car racing.
Among McGrath’s, most notable achievements are winning the AMA Pro Athlete of the Year Award in 1996 and being the first rookie to win the AMA 250cc Supercross Championship in 1993. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2003 and the MSHFA in 2010.
Ranking the 20 most famous motocross riders in the world
1. Ricky Carmichael
Known for his commitment to fitness and preparation, Ricky Carmichael is regarded as the greatest motocrosser in the world. Like some of his counterparts, he ventured into stock car racing after retiring from dirt bike racing in 2007. Carmichael is a 7X AMA 450cc motocross national championship winner and a 5X Supercross Championship 450cc class champ.
The racer’s current gig is at AMA Monster Energy Supercross Broadcasts on NBC. He was inducted into the MSHFA in 2015. In 2021 Ricky partnered with Triumph Motorcycles and Ivan Cervantes to develop prototypes for a new line of dirt bikes.
What is the difference between motocross and dirt bike racing?
Dirt biking is riding a motorcycle, generally with knobby tires, off-road in the dirt. It also involves stunts, like Caleb Wyatt’s backflip, the first of its kind in 2022. Motocross is the most common type of dirt bike racing, which involves riding laps around a circuit with jumps, sharp ledges, and other obstacles.
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Who is the best dirt bike rider right now?
The 2022 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship winner of the 450 class was Eli Tomac, who races under Yamaha. He is a 30-year-old American bike racer and a3X Supercross Champion and a 5X Pro Motocross Champion. He joined Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing in the 2022 season from Kawasaki and won his 6th Daytona Supercross title, an all-time record.
Famous dirt bike riders that died
This sport is very risky, and some bikers have lost their lives practising in the Grand Prix racing. Some of the most notable deaths include:
- Dario Ambrosini in 1951
- Leslie Graham in 1953
- Rupert Hollaus in 1954
- Tom Phillis in 1962
- Bill Ivy in 1969
- Jarno Saarinen in 1973
- Daijiro Kato in 2003
- Marco Simoncelli in 2011
So many dirt bike riders have come and gone, but only the pros have become famous enough and made this list. Additionally, some have significantly impacted the sport, not just through motocross racing but also through other sports and technical input. They are great role models for up-and-coming racers and enthusiasts.
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Source: Sports Brief News