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25 June

Take a motocross bike, add a sidecar and throw in a few jumps and skids and you’ve got one of the most spectacular and unknown motorsports around: sidecarcross. It’s is a growing grassroots motorsport and very popular in eastern Europe. We gave Michal Černý, a Motul-backed co-driver, a call to find out more.

Michal, what is sidecarcross?
Sidecarcross is like motocross, except there’s two of us on the bike. The biggest difference to road or track sidecar racing is we slide around corners and jump like motocross bikes do, and we race on dirt tracks. It’s pretty crazy. Because there’s two of us riding it, we need to cooperate and trust each other completely. I’m the co-pilot, so I’m the guy hanging onto the bike and shifting my weight around to keep it down when we’re going around corners. My driver is Vojta Špalek.

That sounds mega. Is it as much fun as it looks on YouTube?
It's lot of fun and the adrenalin is certainly pumping when we’re on the track. I’ve yet to come across a sport where you can feel so many emotions or such a thrill as sidecarcross. Unfortunately, due to coronavirus, we haven’t got out as much recently as we’d have liked as a lot of the races have been cancelled. 

How did you get into sidecarcross? It’s quite an unusual sport.
I was 14 years' old when I started. My father was competing in sidecarcross in the Czech championships and I guess I was inspired to try it myself. My partner Vojta has been riding motorbikes on the road since childhood, but got into sidecarcross at the age of 20 because I was looking for a driver. I said: “Why not give it a try?” and he hasn’t looked back. We’re a great team together.

What series do you compete in?
We’re competing in the Republikový Přebor in the Czech Republic, the second highest championship. It’s a surprisingly popular sport, particularly in eastern Europe. There’s even a world championship. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll race in that?

The bikes look pretty custom. Did you build it yourselves or can you buy them off the shelf?
No, we didn't build it ourselves, but the bikes are custom and created from parts by many different companies. For example, we’re using a VMC frame and ZABEL motor.

You’re also backed by Motul. How have you found the collaboration?
We’re using Motul because it was recommended to us by many of the top riders in sidecarcross. We are super satisfied with the products. The lubricants mean the bike functions really well and the engine is always reliable. Sidecarcross tracks are hard on the bikes. There’s a lot of jumps and we have to push the bikes to the max, so having a bike that gets us to the end of a race is important.

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