Motorbike racing has come a long way since the days of Kick Start and Barry Sheen. Event organisers have mined extreme sports for inspiration and come up with new thrills. Enduro racing, for example, sees riders steam through woods and rivers in a two-wheeled rally. Motocross is like a 21st century speedway as bikes compete against each other on a fearsome off-road track. And Supermoto combines various disciplines to find the best off-road rider. In tribute to the ever-growing world of wheelies, wipeouts and plastic body armour with ‘Rizla’ written on it, FHM took three of Britain’s best riders out to play hogs of the road – kitted out in some of this winter’s fastest biker-inspired fashion.

David Knight, 29

Enduro Racing

Achievements: Six times British Champion and twice World Champion. Won the 2007 Grand National Cross Country series in the USA.

How does enduro differ from motorcross or supermoto?

The easiest way to look at it is like car rallying, but with motorbikes. Riders navigate between checkpoints in an allotted time slot and have to cope with anything that nature throws at them.

What bike do you ride?

I ride for KGM. It’s a 450 KTM XC, very similar to a motocross bike, but we just make it a little more user-friendly for woods and tree roots.

Do you see the course before you ride it?

You can walk the ‘special’ stages but not the roads between them. The first couple of laps you’re trying to learn it more than anything.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

Whereas in motocross you’re going round the same course, everything in enduro is always different. One minute you could be in the rocks and the next minute you could be going down a riverbed.

What kind of protective clothing do you wear?

A lot of people wear tons of protective stuff, but I just wear a helmet and knee pads. The only time I use body armour is when the ground has a lot of stones – if you’re behind someone, rocks fly up and hit you. I don’t use it when I’m going through woods. If you’re going to hit a tree then a bit of plastic doesn’t make much difference.

Have you broken any bones?

I’ve been pretty fortunate. A lot of guys get hurt all the time.

Tommy Searle, 18

Motocross

Achievements: Debut season this year featured two podium finishes – including a win at Donington – and several Top Ten positions.

What’s motocross?

Racing on an enclosed off-road circuit, in a mass start rather than time trials. A race is usually broken down into smaller sections known as a ‘moto’ or leg. The first rider across the line is the winner.

What are the big differences between motocross and other styles of riding like supermoto and enduro?

It’s all done on dirt, on purpose-built courses. You don’t just go around the woods. There’s so many of you on the line that it’s a lot more intense.

What do you ride?

A factory Red Bull KTM SXF 250.

When did you start riding?

When I was six.

What kind of protective clothing do you wear?

You have boots, helmet, knee braces and bottoms and a top. Then you’re ready to go.

Have you broken any bones?

Yeah, I’ve broken my collarbone, my wrist, and my arm but they’re not so bad. It can be a lot worse.

Any particularly bad crashes?

None that stick out but I have had a lot. It’s not like the good people don’t crash – we all do.

Do you train outside of riding?

Yeah, I do a lot. You have to be strong, not so much ‘muscley’ strong but ‘endurance’ strong.

What are your goals for the future?

I want to win the World Championship next year.

Christian Iddon, 22

Supermoto

Achievements: Seven times

UK supermoto champion and the first Briton ever to win a World Championship event.

What’s supermoto?

A combination of road racing and motocross that was developed from a one-off event to find the best all-round rider.

What do you ride?

An Aprilia SXZ 550.

How’s your season gone?

Pretty well – I came third in the World Championship.

Have you had many spectacular wipe-outs?

I’ve done my collarbone six times, my wrist twice, my leg, my ankle.

I had my collarbone plated up and crashed while it was plated. One of the screw heads came out. You could actually feel one of the Phillips screw heads through the skin. So that was pretty cool.

Did that put you off?

It was a little bit of a worry, but you just have to get straight back on. Once that happened that’s the worst things can get. These things happen in racing.

What kind of training do you do outside of practice?

One of the things I do is put all my leathers on and do half-an-hour flat out on the rowing machine. Everyone laughs but it’s the best thing – it’s so uncomfortable, then you go out and race and comparably it’s dead easy. Everyone thinks I’m a bit weird for doing that.

Why do you need to exercise so much?

People think it’s easy to ride a motorbike. But just trying to hold on to one is tough – it’s trying to kill you every time you open the throttle. It really is physically demanding. If I don’t ride for a while then I’ll do two laps and I’ll be absolutely wrecked.

Fashion Assistant: Nikki Ahmed

Photography Assistants: Andrew Leo and Guy Lowndes, www.dickiedawson.com

Retouching: Daniel at Provision

Thanks to David Knight, Christian Iddon, Tommy Searle, all at Red Bull and Three Sisters Race Track, www.three-sisters.co.uk