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Illegal Motorcycle Racing Essays

Animals in sport are a specific form of working animals. Many animals, at least in more commercial sports, are highly trained. Two of the most common animals in sport are horses and dogs.

Types of animal sporting events[edit]

There are many types of animal sporting events, with varying levels of participation from humans. Some are solely between the animals while others use the animals in a lesser role. Most sports involve training, while some can also involve selective breeding.

There are some large-scale events that include animals in a variety of sports. A rodeo can comprise many different sports, ranging from bull riding to pole bending.


Racing is the most popular form of animal-related sport, particularly horse racing. Some racing events directly involve humans as riders while others see the animals race alone. In some sports the rider is not directly riding the animal, instead being pulled along. Examples of this include harness racing, dogsled racing and popular ancient Greece and Roman Empire sport of chariot racing.

Greyhound racing, a popular form of animal racing, dates back to the 1800s in the United States, after the dogs were brought over from Europe to help control the hare population. While track racing is the most common, there are other forms of racing. Pigeon racing, for example, sees homing pigeons finding their way home from a set distance away. Kambala, he-buffalo racing in coastal Karnataka, India is a rural spectator racing conducted every year during winter in about 50 towns/villages. Racing events are a common way to gamble, with billions spent worldwide every year. This is one reason that some countries or states have made such sports illegal.

One-on-one and team events[edit]

There are some non-racing competitive events involving animals. Polo is an example, with competitors hitting a ball with mallets while on horseback. Elephant polo dates back to the early 20th century when members of the British aristocracy in Nepal began playing the sport.

In the 14th to 16th centuries jousting was a popular one-on-one tournament event involving knights on horseback.


In most counties the act of two or more animals fighting each other, such as cockfighting, and dog fighting, is seen as cruel and is therefore illegal. Some legal animal fights take place around the world, including cow fighting and camel wrestling. There are also some legal forms of sport where humans fight animals, such as bullfighting which has a long history in Spanish and Portuguese tradition. Not all animals are large, however, with cricket fighting being a popular (though illegal to gamble on) sport in Macau and Hong Kong.[1]

There are several other blood sports in history that were intended as entertainment, many of which involved baiting by dogs. Many different types of animal have been placed into a pit, sometimes tied to a post, and set upon by dogs. This ranges from rat-baiting and badger-baiting to bear-baiting and lion-baiting. There are even some tales of human-baiting.

Animals that take part in animal fights are usually specifically bred for strength and stamina.


Main article: Hunting

Hunting began as a crucial component of hunter-gatherer societies, being an important source of food. The domestication of animals and the development of agriculture lessened the need for hunts, with food being more readily available. Hunting became a sport for those of the high social classes. In most parts of medieval Europe, the upper-class (aristocracy and higher clergy) obtained as privilege the sole rights to hunt in certain areas of a feudal territory.

Dangerous hunting, as for lions or wild boars, usually on horseback (or from a chariot, as in Pharaonic Egypt and Mesopotamia) also had function similar to tournaments and manly sports: an honourable, somewhat competitive pastime to help the aristocracy practice skills of war in times of peace. In ancient Rome the "Venatio" was a form of entertainment that pitted humans against animals in an amphitheater.

In modern times, hunting is usually legal as long as the hunter has a license, though there are some unregulated forms in some countries. Animals can be on either side of a hunt, assisting the hunters or being hunted themselves.

Fox hunting has been a controversial issue, particularly in the United Kingdom, regarding its necessity and the cruelty involved (See Fox hunting legislation).


Fishing is somewhat different from other sports and is most commonly a pastime or hobby. However, it can also be a competitive sport.

Pigeon shooting[edit]

Pigeon shooting was one of the shooting events of the 1900 Summer Olympics. Competitors in these events had to kill as many live pigeons as possible. Birds were released one at a time from 'traps' in front of the shooters.

Shows of training or breeding[edit]

Shows are intended to highlight the excellence of training or breeding of the animals involved. There is a variety of horse riding sports in this category, including show jumping and dressage, both of which are featured at the Olympic Games. At lower levels, horse shows offer a wide variety of competition both riding and driving as well as In-hand classes that evaluate equine conformation.

Dogs, being easily domesticated, are one of the most popular animals to have in shows. Cattle and sheepdog trials are popular in many countries and are used to show how well a dog can gather livestock. Other dog sports of this category include dog agility events, whereby the dogs must tackle obstacle courses, and obedience trials, where they must execute a predefined set of tasks.

Crufts, a British conformation show for dogs, has grown since it started in 1886. While dogs are the most common show animal, cat shows are also common. Both of these animals have a wide variety of breeds and compete in categories, comparing each individual to the breed "ideal."

Some unusual animals also take part in shows, such as the competitors in rabbit show jumping and common chaffinches in vinkenzetting.

Popular culture[edit]

Films and television series about animals in sport can be realistic or fictional, involving animals in an activity that they cannot really perform. Seabiscuit is a fairly accurate portrayal of the famous American horse of the same name, while MVP: Most Valuable Primate, a film about a hockey-playing chimpanzee, is unrealistic.

The 1980 animated film Animalympics is a spoof of the Olympic Games and features anthropomorphicised animals. In the combination live action and animation film Bedknobs and Broomsticks, animated animals play a game of football. Similarly, several television commercials used the Budweiser Clydesdales and other animals in live-action and CGA roles to appear to be playing American football.

From 1976 to 1999, the BBC broadcast One Man and His Dog, a television series about sheepdog trials. They also commissioned three series of Pets Win Prizes, a game show with contestants' pets having to perform in various tasks.

Man vs. Beast is an American television show that pitches humans against animals in a variety of unusual challenges, including competitive eating between world champion Takeru Kobayashi and a brown bear.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Horse racing is a very popular sporting event involving animals.
Greyhounds preparing for a race.
Bullfighting is legal in some countries.
Fox hunting has been a recent controversial issue, particularly in the United Kingdom.

American Racing: A Diversity of Innovation

American automobile racing has a century-long history of grass-roots invention. Its history begins with the American-European rivalry that characterized early auto racing and progresses to uniquely American forms of racing. Some forms of racing are dominated by big budgets and sophisticated engineering. Others are enjoyed by people of modest means with little formal engineering education.

The business side of racing shows the changing role of marketing and consumerism and the rise of the sponsored professional racing team. Alternative competitions, such as those inspired by the energy shortages of the 1980s, highlight other kinds of engineering ingenuity. Finally, American racing includes the evolution of the racing athlete from the demanding skills of a bicyclist to the endurance tests of modern automobile racing.

Henry Ford racing Alexander Winton

Frank Duryea at the wheel of his racecar

Europe vs. America

Sporting European gentlemen, rather than profit-motivated US commercial enterprises, dominated the economics and rules of European sports-car and overseas Formula racing through the 1950s. Until the 1930s, closed tracks in Europe were rare, and many races were held on open roads between cities, or on twisting, multi-cornered courses on public roads or through city streets. City to city races were considered more fun and sporting.

Many racers paid for their own cars and mechanics, and so there was little need for sponsors who might make demands on wealthy car owners or racing teams organized directly by manufacturers. Public safety or noise concerns were afterthoughts. Most long-distance sports-car races could be watched for free, although viewers along the road could only see the cars for the instant they zoomed past. Paying spectators were few. The open-wheeled Formula cars raced more often on closed courses, but still on twisting courses several miles long, where viewing was usually difficult and most guests were upper class.

The First Auto Race in America

Charles E. Duryea sitting in the winning auto

The first auto race in America was a city-to-city round trip race.

On Thanksgiving Day 1895, several intrepid motorists braved the snow to race from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois, and back

A Duryea motor “road wagon” won the race. The vehicle was powered by a 2-cylinder, opposed, water-cooled motor of 4 hp. It had a maximum speed of 20 mph, but it averaged only 7.5 mph during the race.

In the US oval tracks became more popular than open-road racing because the tracks allowed large paying crowds to watch all the action from a safer distance.

Oval tracks stemmed from bicycle racing, and later, from motorcycle racing on highly-banked, circular or oval velodromes. In the early days of the 20th century, velodromes made of wooden boards laid longitudinally were very popular because the resulting track was smooth and fast.

This race of Miller vehicles took place on August 19, 1928 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Note the boards used on the race.

First auto race on a track in the United States.

Line up of cars at Altoona. This race of Miller vehicles took place on August 19, 1928 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Note the boards used on the race track.

The rules of racing

Each racing category has its distinctive competitive goal, each with its own design rules. The rules dictate vehicle specifications such as engine size, overall weight, body style, chassis arrangement, dimensional restrictions, and permitted technical add-ons. American racing has become codified in these rules, but the rules are always changing. The history of American racing and the wide diversity in forms of racing can be traced through the changing rules.

The rules sometimes changed for technical reasons, and sometimes for economic reasons. Some sets of rules are ordained by closely held governing bodies. Other sets of rules are established by elected governing boards or by larger, national or international organizing bodies (similar in structure to Olympic governance). In every case, however, the power to set rules comes from those who own the tracks or have the most money supporting the competitions.

Miller “91” Packard Cable Special Race Car

Any set of codified rules creates a particular design envelope within which creative and well-funded players continually press limits, seek better design of component parts, and sometimes find a technical avenue not anticipated in the rules and thus prevail. By its nature, racing is out-and-out competition—technological as well as on the track.

Throughout racing history, changes in the rules—for engine size, supercharging (or banning thereof), chassis details, overall sizes and styles, fuel capacities—were frequent. Usually, when one participant or racing team started to dominate their races, those who collectively had more sponsorships at risk or who owned the tracks saw to it that the rules were changed to better equalize the chances of winning. Then the cycle began again.

An example of corporate sponsors forcing a rules change comes with our 1929 Miller “91” supercharged, front-wheel-drive car for the Indy 500.

The Miller was so fast that it began to dominate Indianapolis-type racing. The Detroit car makers threatened to pull out of the Indy 500, because it was too expensive to compete with the hand-crafted ‘high-tech’ of the exotic Harry Miller cars.

The track owner and Indy organizers changed the rules to “outlaw” superchargers and to change the size of the engines permitted in Indy cars. End of Miller dominance; welcome back, Detroit sponsors.

Drag racing

'Big Daddy' Don Garlits and his Swamp Rat XXX. This top fuel drag racing car was the first to exceed 270 mph.

Drag racing—the straight dash over 1/4 of a mile from a standing start for the shortest elapsed time—is a form of racing unique to the US.

The form grew directly from illegal match racing on rural roads by high-schoolers in the postwar 1940s-early 1950s. Teenagers, “souping up” their rebuilt cars, wanted to show off their mechanical skills. The most objective way was the standing-start race of two cars over an identical short distance.

The arbitrary distance of 1/4-mile came, according to one version of the story from the fact that it was easily measured on a straight stretch of rural road and because a longer distance would be unnecessarily dangerous.

Many worked-over old cars could hit nearly 100 mph in “the quarter.”

Mass market novels such as Hot Rod made the hot-rodding phenomenon seem like a widespread form of youth rebellion. Its lurid cover glamorized speed and mobility even as the content warned of the terrible consequences of dangerous driving.

'Hot Rod,' by Henry Gregor Felson, 1950

In the early 1950s promoters built legal drag-racing strips. With little investment, an organizer could lay just over 1/2-mile of asphalt in two wide lanes (the extra length for the prep and burn-in apron at the starting end together with an over-run beyond the finish line), add some bleachers, add timing apparatus, and go into business on sunny weekends. Local law enforcement authorities were pleased that such tracks gave the drivers a legal, and safer, place to race. Teenage mechanics and drivers proudly brought their cars to the “strips” to prove their mettle in fair competition. And if they failed to win, they worked on their cars some more and tried again the following week. The bulk of fans have always been those who have had experience working on their own cars

Rules served teenage enthusiasms and teenage views of fairness. The result was a form of racing with just a few basic classes to accommodate modified production cars raced by amateur owners and also to accommodate highly specialized, purpose-built dragsters mostly run (today) by professional teams.

Acceleration was and is the only value. Briefer and briefer elapsed times, the goal; shaving weight and boosting power any way possible, the means. Cars with comparable kinds of bodies ran in match races, with few restrictions on engine, chassis, and drive-train modifications that owners could try.

The motivating idea—and the quality that still attracts the die-hard enthusiasts for the form—is the “no holds barred” expression of sheer power deftly.

Rules have changed over the years to accommodate technical changes, such as fiberglass bodies, and additional safety improvements, such as roll cages and fire suppression to protect the driver.

Drag racing is not as widely popular with the public as Indy or NASCAR. It is, perhaps, more a mechanics’ form of racing rather than a drivers’ form—but any enthusiast will rightly point out the skills of the drivers of such high-powered cars, the fastest of which now exceed 300 mph in “the quarter”—a far cry indeed from the drag race depicted in Rebel Without a Cause.

Open-wheeled racing

Eliminating fenders on race cars started in order (1) to make it easier to cool the poor brakes on early race cars, (2) to reduce significantly the weight of the car by allowing a narrower body (lower weight allowing the fastest acceleration with a given engine size or power output), and (3) to facilitate quick changes of wheels/tires during stops during longer races. The latter two virtues are still true, and “no-fenders” is still part of the rules for Indy cars and for internationally organized Formula cars. Dirt-track “Sprint” cars and many other grass-roots forms unique to the US also frequently follow the no-fenders rule.

Closed car racing and the rise of NASCAR

Daytona Beach, Florida, has been a hallowed venue of American racing since the early 1900s. The problem with the beach (as seen by the race organizers) was that too many spectators could see the races without paying, albeit from a farther distance than those who paid. The problem with the beach (as seen by the racers) was that you sometimes ended up in the waves.

Alexander Winton in the "Bullet No. 1"

Wreck of Frank Croker's 'Simplex Special'

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