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ABC Superbikers | Videos

The Origins of Supermoto

Invented in America in 1979 by race promoter Gavin Trippe as a made-for-television racing showcase, "Superbikers"–as it was dubbed for its annual ABC’s Wide World of Sports telecast-pitted riders from multiple motorcycle racing disciplines against each other in a one-race event that combined aspects of road racing, flattrack and motocross.

Superbikers faded out over the years, but later caught on in Europe and was re-branded as Supermoto. The sport has since exploded in popularity and has now, ironically, two decades later crossed back across the pond.

Many of the current Supermoto bikes utilizes off-road machines fitted with 17-inch wheels, road racing tires and oversized brakes. Others use more of a naked Superbike platorm as a starting point. Supermoto has officially taken-off in America, though it remains primarily a hard-core enthusiast sport.

Naturally, it did not take long for manufacturers to see the inherent potential of building street-legal versions of these nimble racers to enjoy on the paved roads of the world. Today you can find top-notch Supermoto bikes from KTM, Ducati, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, Aprilia, Zero, Beta, Yamaha, Honda an others.

This 3-part (30-minute total) 1986 ABC Superbikers motorcycle racing video includes old favorites such as Eddie Lawson, Kent Howerton, Jeff Ward, Bubba Shobert, Ricky Graham and still active Chris Carr. Freddie Spencer and Kenny Roberts did not race ABC Superbikers in 1986. Spencer was injured at the time and Roberts had other things to do.

How would today’s MotoGP riders like Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden or Dani Pedrosa stack-up against Chad Reed, James Stewart, Ryan Dungey or Ryan Villopoto? Maybe the still active American Dirttracker Chris Carr would take the cup? Or what about getting Mat Mladin to come out of retirement to take on Ben Bostrom or better yet Larry Pegram?

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. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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