When it comes to participation in sport there can be few that suck up the life savings like motocross, and one father has estimated it costs him a small fortune each year just to keep his son doing the sport he loves.
Young Alfie Mountford, 15, from York, is mad on motocross – a form of off-road motorbike racing – and since he started racing at the age of 7, his passion is costing his father a wallet-bulging £17,000 a year.
‘He needs a new bike at the start of each season and that costs nearly £4,000,’ says his father, Simon. ‘And then it costs a further £3,000 to adapt it to becoming competitive. You’re looking at over £7,000 before you even begin racing.’
Alfie Mountford has proved something of a motocross hit since he first cocked a leg over a bike and now competes all over the country in local and national Red Bull motocross events.
That sometimes means round trips of over 500 miles from where they live in North Yorkshire, and if there’s a mud track to race over then Alfie and his dad are there.
‘The distances are huge’, says Simon who used to ride motocross. ‘The big killer is the diesel getting to and from races. Forget about the motor homes, which 90% of the people have, it costs a fortune in fuel doing just 15 miles to the gallon. That soon mounts up when we are racing every weekend.’
And costs do not stop there. Each season means a new helmet might cost £400. Then there are two sets of race kit, boots, gloves and goggles. On top of that there’s the wear and tear on the bike plus a new set of tyres for each race along with a new chain and sprocket. Race entry fees, mechanical repairs and training replacements, rings, race fuel, food…the list goes on.
‘My son is competing at quite a high level so the costs for us are a bit higher than a lad who ventures no further than thirty miles from his home to race.’
So can motocross be done on the cheap?
‘It can be done cheaper but not cheap’ says Simon Mountford who funds his son’s hobby with a motocross apparel business called moto41. ‘It would mean buying the bike second hand and only travelling locally to race. You’d have to make do at times but bike bits always needed replacing.’
A second hand bike would set you back £2,000 with race entry starting at £35 and each race using £15 of fuel. Assess the costs at any level and it soon mounts up.
There are estimated to be 80,000 motocross riders in the UK and although it isn’t as popular as it used to be it remains one of the most thrilling and exciting forms of motorsport on two wheels.
The official organisation to getting involved in motocross is the Amateur Motorcycle Association and they are contactable for anyone interested in taking up the sport. You will need deep pockets.
Not so for all your motocross apparel. Go to moto41 for a wide range of motocross clothing from entry level to top end.