In its potential as a global motorcycle sport, the XDL is suddenly ahead of the curve. It fits into emerging economies and evolving motorcycle cultures. The growing populations and exploding middle classes in Eastern nations have suddenly put motorcycles into the hands of multitudes who are begging for bike events in countries bereft of funds or real estate for roadracing facilities.
Unlike the FIM’s catalog of roadracing, which has long been the singular romance for those with the purses in motorcycling, stunt competitions can be hosted in local parking lots and provide an outlet to which any street rider can aspire—and practice. You may already have seen some of those videos on YouTube: nearly naked scooter kids in sandals terrorizing scrimshaws. There’s no need for purpose-built facilities, hundreds of acres and expensive equipment. So, the FIM, an international sanctioning body, wants a stunt championship as part of its competition family in 2013, and the XDL is the most organized and experienced of any stunt series.
Randy Grube, owner and founder of XDL, has been talking with the FIM and interested parties in other countries. “The FIM and us have been discussing XDL becoming its international stunt riding series,” said Grube. “All I can say for certain today is that next year, the FIM will have a series, and that next year, we will have events in India. Whether we are FIM-sanctioned or not is still to be determined.
“The Pulsar motorcycle brand is pushing for us to do this. The money is in place. The XDL is in place. In Pulsar’s advertising, it’s all stunts. So, we’re working with them right now to plan the events for next year. I was also approached by a European organizer about them using XDL formats and rules. That conversation made it clear that there’s no ‘Europe’; every country has its own event or two and its own rules. In the eyes of the Europeans, XDL is the only entity with a clear rule set that’s been tested and improved over time.”
If the XDL or stunt competitions in general become a big sport in Europe and Eastern countries, it really shouldn’t be a surprise. In Spain, for example, MotoGP has often attracted more spectators than Formula One car racing. In the States, where enthusiasts like us might love motorcycle roadracing, it’s hard to remember that it is a tiny sport of no national significance outside of our little club. Maybe the XDL is the door to a new generation of riders here. Maybe it will be the door to a new world of riders overseas. Either way, like it or not, it’s going to be something.
“There seems to be an increasing consensus that the XDL format, which differs vastly from the common European format, is better for the sport and more entertaining for the fans,” says Grube. “It comes down to how much riding time the Europeans give their athletes, which is a lot, versus the two minutes we give them. But we’ve proven that less is more, and they now seem to agree. XDL will play a key role in the global growth of the sport, and we welcome the credibility that comes with the FIM.”