A view of the annual motorcycle chariot races held in Sydney, Australia. Media provided by Youtube.
Did you know that motorcycle chariot racing has been a thing since 1922? No, really, because I’ve just discovered this new corner of the Powersports industry, and I couldn’t be happier.
Today’s motorcycle chariot races might be spurred on by hit films like “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (1999) instead of heavy-hitting epics like “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ” (1925), but the concept remains the same. Two bits of (presumably well-bred) horsepower are lashed to a lightweight chariot, with solo charioteers holding the reins of the whole caboodle.
Sydney’s annual Chariot Motorcycle racing efforts show two riders holding stiff-barred reins with a throttle on the righthand side, per typical motorcycle setup – though motorcycle chariot-ing didn’t always use this setup:
“A typical early vehicle configuration was a rider on a motorcycle pulling a chariot and charioteer who were essentially ornamental. This soon developed into a configuration with two riderless motorcycles steered by a single charioteer using reins.”
One of the trickier bits of this sport has to do with jackknifing, or when the chariot moves opposite to the motorcycles; here, in the above YouTube coverage, we see masterful handling of both bikes and chariot, with riders using the bumps and drifts to get ahead via little jumps and leans.