World’s Most Extreme Motorbike Races

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Many people believe motorbike racing consists of going around a loop repeatedly. However, it can be so much more than that. In many races, competitors must endure rugged terrain and extreme conditions. Motorbike racers around the globe test their mettle in some of the most demanding environments.

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Isle of Man TT

The Isle of Man TT, a jewel in the crown of road racing since 1907, is possibly one of the most famous events in the world, motorsport or otherwise. Recently, it has been considered the most dangerous race on the planet. Around the island, almost 38 miles of winding roads go through streets and houses, making the road route extremely dangerous. During the race, the drivers pass through towns and villages at more than 130 mph. There have been about 240 riders who have died during TT’s history.

No doubt the TT isn’t for the fainthearted, and we doubt it could exist today without the history and passion that brought 60,000 people to the tiny island, but no race is as mind-blowingly crazy as this one. Those of you who are interested in high speed and adrenaline will not want to miss this race.

Pikes Peak International Hillclimb

This ‘Race to the Clouds’ event is somewhat of an anomaly as there is no actual ‘race’, but rather it is more of a display of what man and machine can accomplish when they race up a winding mountain path into higher altitudes. The 12.42-mile course leads straight to the summit of a 14,110-foot mountain over most of its century-long history, making it more of an off-road rally competition than a race. Despite being one of America’s oldest motorsports events, this race is still relatively new to motorcycle racing.

Up until 2011, gravel made up most of the track. As of now, however, the entire thing has been paved, which should make the treacherous race safer. Despite this, most people involved in the event claim that it’s now even more dangerous, as it means drivers now go at higher speeds than ever before.

Macau Grand Prix

Even though motorcycles and street races don’t precisely make logical partners, the Macau Grand Prix has maintained its position in the road racing hierarchy. Though it has four wheels at each corner, perhaps even a roof, it has high-speed stretches that are similar to the TT race, coupled with corners that are so slow you could push your foot on the throttle, and the whole thing is enclosed by five feet of solid steel or concrete. It’s not uncommon to see riders drag their bikes and helmets just inches off the wall in breathtaking photos over the years.

Several fatalities have occurred at Macau Grand Prix, nine in total since 1976. Such street occurrences are less likely to emerge due to the run-off areas strategically positioned around the track.

The Ice Run on Lake Baikal

Some apparent issues are associated with motorcycling on ice, but the ice on Lake Baikal isn’t your standard ice road. The course for this race takes place on the deepest lake in the world, located in the heart of Siberia. The motorbike is separated from the icy water by meters of thick ice, which provides a significant layer of protection against the ice breaking.

Racers will need good studs on their tyres to prevent an unintentional triple salchow, regardless if they’re going on the Ice Run or the Speed Festival, which has a mile-long drag strip. This race is unique and worth going to for incredible photo opportunities. If you go to this sub-zero race track, pack your winter warmers and have a flask full of hot tea, as it gets very chilly! 

Paris-Dakar Rally

The race occurs on a different continent than Paris or Dakar, so its name is perhaps the most absurd. As early as 1977, the original course took riders from Paris, France, to Dakar, Morocco, on an epic cross-country journey. Moving the race to South America became necessary in the 2000s due to safety concerns and political tension in North Africa.

Paris-Dakar is undoubtedly the furthest, most lethal, and most legendary off-road race, covering an incredible 5000 miles or more. Over two gruelling weeks, numerous vehicle classes race across half of South America’s continent, including recovery days at bivouac sites where drivers can rest and perform maintenance on their equipment. The racing classes range from massive off-road trucks to high-performance rally cars. But the bikers have the most difficulties navigating the seemingly endless course.

Imatra Grand Prix

In Formula 1 and rallying, Finland has proven to have a surprising need for speed thanks to its talented fast drivers. The same applies to motorcycle racing in Imatra, which hosted the Finnish Grand Prix until 1982. Amazingly, it has barely changed on the IRC calendar today, despite being deemed safety-wise a bit challenging. Despite the alteration, the layout still requires you to leap over the tracks of a railway cutting across it. Its long and engine-stressing straights, combined with some cheeky chicanes past log piles, are similar to the original Hockenheimring motor racing circuit, with even more speed.