It’s nearing the end of summer, 2022 in the northern hemisphere—and this year, so far, has been filled with a sort of wild energy. Take Zwarte Cross 2022—a (mostly) annual motocross festival in the Netherlands.
The event apparently started back in 1997, as a comparatively small affair. It hosted maybe 1,000 people, a bunch of bikes, an afterparty (and live music, of course), and those who attended had a great time. They told their friends. Next year, it got bigger—and so on, and so on, until the pandemic pause. Fast-forward to 2022, and the most recent one hosted over 200,000 people. Same spirit, only much bigger, and with multiple mad classes of motorbikes (and other vehicles) out on the MX course.
There are, of course, proper off-road machines that compete in proper off-road classes. That’s all well and good, and obviously the more riders sending it, the better. Much in the way that it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast, taking bikes that aren’t meant to do something and then making them do that thing can sometimes be the most entertaining thing of all. (Think about, say, flat-tracking a chopper.)
The guys from 44 Teeth went and did just that in 2022. They took a KTM 890 Adventure to Zwarte Cross, entered it in the Street Bike class, and then 44 Teeth's Alastair Fagan rode the pants off the thing through four laps of sandy, rutted, nightmarish track. (At some point, you have to ask the question—is it more fun for the people watching, or more fun for you if you’re the one shooting the on-board GoPro footage?)
There comes a time in most riders’ lives when you’re out riding, and maybe trying something new—and then you realize that you’re in way over your head. Maybe you’ll try to get through as best as you can, and maybe you won’t. It seemed, from the video, like Al passed that point at least once—but he kept going through all four laps before being flagged off, and he didn’t crash. Result!
As a spectator, it’s one thing to manage sliding your totally inappropriate bike through the sandy, rutted mess and managing to get yourself through the course. It’s another to constantly be cresting hills, only to realize that other bikes are at a dead stop, directly in front of you—and you have to somehow maneuver yourself around them. The obstacle course portion of getting around this track with the rest of the field is what seems trickiest—but of course, it could be much different when you’re the one in the saddle.
There are other classes that take to this track over the festival, as well—everything from mopeds to sidecars to quads. Does this look like something you’d want to try, or at least watch?