Never Have I Ever: Raced a Motorcycle Chariot


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. 

A view of the motorcycle chariot races prevalent in the earlier years of the 20th century. Media provided by Wikipedia.
A view of the motorcycle chariot races prevalent in the earlier years of the 20th century. Media provided by Wikipedia.

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.”

– Wikipedia
Australian freestyler Jack Field. Media provided by RideApart.
Australian freestyler Jack Field. Media provided by RideApart.

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. 

This is definitely a full-body sport, and not one for the light-hearted. 

By the way, these chariots aren’t just limited to motorcycles…

A rider with a chariot to call all his own. Media provided by Chariot Racing Australia.
A rider with a chariot to call all his own. Media provided by Chariot Racing Australia.

Have you ever been to a motorcycle chariot race?  

*Media provided by Wikipedia, as well as Chariot Racing Australia and Youtube*



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