Motorcycle Types Adventure / Dual-Sport FIM: Motorcycle Racing History

FIM: Motorcycle Racing History

FIM History

Anyone who follows motorcycle racing has most likely heard of the FIM, or Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme. A governing body for moto-racing events worldwide, the FIM represents a total of almost 50 world championships and prizes, and encompasses five disciplines: road racing, motocross, trials, enduro and track racing (such as speedway and ice racing).

Since its birth in 1904, the FIM has gone through many transformations, maturing to its current state. And with these changes arrives quite a history. The date was Sept. 25, 1904; the Motocycle-Club de France organized the International Cup, with participants from Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and Great Britain. The victory was taken by France, but arguments began about racing conditions. The five countries needed a governing body, and created the Fédération Internationale des Clubs Motocyclistes (FICM).

By 1906, the FICM became inactive, a unanimous decision by all participating countries. But in 1912, the Auto-Cycle Union of Great Britain called a meeting, hoping for a rebirth of the FICM to re-establish control and development of the sporting and touring aspects of motorcycling, and to assist participants in those fields. Now ten countries were involved, which are considered today to be the founding members of the FICM: Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The following year the first international event held under the sponsorship of the FICM took place: the International Six Days Reliability Trial. By the second eve of World War II, national associations affiliated with the FICM went from 10 to 30, and in 1936, the first Speedway World Final took place in Wembley Stadium, giving the first official World Championship and first World Champion title for Australian rider Lionel van Praag.

Due to the war, racing activities were postponed, but resumed in 1946. The following year the first Motocross des Nationals took place in Netherland, with riders from Great Britain, Belgium and Holland. Then in 1949 the FICM became the Fédération Internationale Motocycliste (FIM); that year the most prestigious motorcycle competition also began, the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix.

After individual Motocross Championships were created in the 1950s, the 500cc event became a World Championship in 1957, and the 250cc class in 1962. In the 1960s, the Trial appeared, becoming a World Championship in 1975. Enduro started as an Individual European Two Days Championship in 1968, and became a World Championship in 1990. The Individual Ice Racing World Championship was created in 1966, and the Long Track World Championship in 1971.

In 1998, the FIM was again renamed to what it’s currently called today, the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme.

FIM Historical Timeline

• 1904: birth of FIM (then called FICM)
• 1912: rebirth of FICM
• 1937: an agreement was drawn up by the FICM and the AIACR (the International Association of Recognized Automobile Clubs, FIA predecessor) defining their relationship and ensuring very close collaboration between both organizations
• 1949: renamed FIM (Fédération Internationale Motocycliste)
• 1951: recognized by the Union of International Associations as a non-governmental international organization.
• 1958: Thomas Wynn Loughborough, FIM Secretary General since its reconstitution in 1912, retires
• 1959 (January): the headquarters of the FIM were then transferred from England, where the FIM had been located since its re-founding in 1912, to Switzerland, more precisely in Geneva, for reasons of economic and political stability
• 1959: a member of the Federation of Semi-Official and Private International Institutions based in Geneva (FIIG)
• 1967: a founding member of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF)
• 1984: became a member of the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE)
• 1994: a member of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC)
• 1998: FIM renamed to current FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme)
• 1998 (January): the FIM was granted, on a provisional basis, the status of Recognized Federation by the IOC
• 1998 (May): a member of the Association of the IOC Recognized International Sports Federations (ARISF)
• 2000: during Olympic Games in Sydney, the FIM was granted the official status of a Recognized Federation by the IOC
• 2001: an Affiliate Member of the World Tourism Organization (WTO)
• The FIM also signed a memorandum of cooperation with the United Nations Environmental Programmed in 2006 and 2008

FIM Five Motorcycle Racing Disciplines

• Road Racing, with Grand Prix (MotoGP), Superbike (WSBK), Supersport (WSS), Sidecar and Endurance
• Motocross (with three solo classes and the sidecar), the Motocross of Nations (competition with National teams), Supercross (SX), SuperMoto, Snowcross, and Freestyle
• The Trial, with Individual Trial, Indoor Trial, Trial des Nations, competitions for men and for women
• Enduro, with the World Championship, Indoor Enduro World Cup and the International Six Days – run since 1913, the oldest competition held under the aegis o the FIM – and the Cross-Country Rallies
• Track Racing, with Individual Speedway Grand Prix, the Speedway World Cup (team), Junior Speedway, Long Track and Ice Racing (individual and Team)

The FIM is also engaged in non-sporting activities – tourism, gatherings and leisure, mobility, transport, road safety and public policy, environment, and the place of women in motorcycling activities – or activities linked with sport, such as technical, medical and judicial aspects.


Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

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