Home > Motors > ATV

Motorcycle Chariot Racing Is Real, and We Have to Try It

I've seen plenty of motorcycle sidecar racing. It's not a mainstream motorsports activity, but it sure is cool. The "monkey" in the sidecar constantly jockeys about to leverage bodyweight and physics to allow faster speeds while cornering. It's always an entertaining spectacle.
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

As I lazily scrolled Instagram, the algorithm fed me something I’d never seen in my decade of involvement in motorcycle racing. Instead of two racers and one sidecar motorcycle, there were two motorcycles and one human. The driver was in a chariot, deftly controlling two motorcycles ahead by ropes. And then I knew: I had to figure out how to become a motorcycle chariot racer.

Chariot racing with horses was born in ancient Greece. The motorcycle chariot racing video above is from the 1940s, but I found records of events going back to the 1920s. The horses were replaced by Harley-Davidsons, and the chariots and drivers’ garb looked period-specific. Also notably period-correct is the complete lack of safety gear. This is Sparta!

Gerard Butler in the "This is Sparta" scene in the movie 300

The video below is more current. It’s from an annual motorcycle chariot race in Australia, and yes, there is a pro class. I can’t make out the bike models, but the chariots look to be fabricated from modern steel and aluminum stock, and the drivers have somewhat modern motocross safety gear. I was astounded at the number of fans! This is Sydney!

Racing is racing, so there’s not much to decipher regarding the competition format. But I have so many other questions! How is the throttle controlled? Do you shift gears and use the clutch? If so, how? I see a lot of countersteering; is this always the way? It seems unlikely, but I have zero clue.

The one thing I do know is that I must become a motorcycle chariot racer. The algorithm was 100% accurate. This singular event is the obvious outlet for my current aging status. I’m beyond the need to huck my dirt bike over gaps, but I want to go faster than my single-cylinder steed and rear tire contact patch can deliver.

With age comes a cage, but I’m not ready to surrender to a full metal jacket. I like motors and mechanical tinkering. And man, oh man, I live to pass on the outside, wreckers or checkers, in controlled chaos.

Motorcycle chariot racing fits the bill. Who’s with me? My next editorial task is to draft a pitch to GearJunkie corporate. This is obviously an excellent marketing platform, and we have full health insurance coverage. This is GearJunkie! Gerard Butler, saddle up!

Young rider on dirt during a Motorcycle Safety Foundation MOTO Intro event

Learn to Ride a Motorcycle for Free: Here's How

Do you want to learn to ride a motorcycle, but don't have a bike? Here's your chance to ride for free, with professional instruction. Read more…

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!