If you’re anything like me, you harbour fantasies of racing against Valentino Rossi, taking on Dougie Lampkin or flying high over a motocross course but a combination of age, a lack of talent and the pressures of the real world mean that TV is about as close as I’ll ever get.
However, you can get a taste for that action from the comfort of your living room if you invest in any of a number of video games.
Technology nowadays means that the clunky graphics and ludicrously unreal mechanics of old-school video games are largely a thing of the past. Depending on the format you’re playing on, the visuals can be almost photo-realistic and the physics of gameplay can include damage and realistic handling limits.
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There is a wide range of games available, across a range of platforms, from circuit racing to motocross and the latest home consoles to smartphones, to allow you to indulge your deepest fantasy.
Here are what are reckon are some of the most interesting games around right now.
MotoGP 2021 (PS4)
MotoGP21 features the full range of official teams, riders and liveries for the 2021 MotoGP season. The latest iteration has been developed remotely during the Covid pandemic and although 2020 was an unconventional season, 2021 u2013 and the game u2013 look to be a bit more normal.
We've played this game and found the tutorial mode, controls and rider aids can be tweaked to suit any level of ability - not something you could say about previous iterations, which kind of threw you in at the deep end. Still, it's challenging enough to make getting a podium, let alone a race win, feel incredibly satisfying.
This new version includes a managerial mode, where you hire key team members and approach the season strategically, the ability to choose your own riding style, realistic physics that include tyre and brake wear and fuel consumption and if you drop your bike, you have to pick it up again, losing time in the process.
Also available for PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X, Nintendo Switch
Monster Energy Supercross 3 - The Official Videogame
While the world of Supercross might be something of a niche to many UK bikers, itu2019s hugely popular in the US. Why not take some time out and get to know the sport with Supercross 3?
Racing on either 250 or 450cc machines from official manufacturers and teams, players can choose between career mode and quick races, pushing yourself on the dirt, or taking the battle directly to your friends with online gameplay.
If you don’t fancy a race, you can also head to the series’ largest-ever test area; allowing you to fine-tune your riding skills, pull cunning stunts, or simply free roam.
Also available for Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch
More of a racing/riding simulation than a game, Ride 4 put you on hundreds of bikes and at dozens of circuits around the world. Bikes are faithfully reproduced and the mechanics are as real as possible; tyre wear and damage are all part of the thrill and day turns into night and back to day again while the weather also changes.
There’s a career mode that could get you called up to test bikes for manufacturers or an endurance-race scenario with real strategies to affect the outcome.
Available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, PC
Heavily discounted due to the fact that this is the official game based on the race from three years ago, this offers not just bikes but quads, cars, UTVs and trucks as well.
The graphics are reasonable and the physics a bit questionable but it’s a fun romp through the deserts of Argentina, Peru and Bolivia following your GPS to various waypoints (if you’re on a bike – the car co-drivers are a bit late on the navigational instructions). Play online against riders from around the world or offline for fun.
Available for Xbox One, Xbox X
Isle of Man TT: Ride on the Edge 2
The legendary u2013 and infamous u2013 Isle of Man TT may have fallen foul of the Coronavirus epidemic in 2020 and 2021 but fans can take to the islandu2019s roads in TT Isle of Man 2 after competing in feeder championships on one of 18 bikes (including classics) and over a further 17 tracks though none are genuine, real-world circuits.
The game has a selection of official and while the graphics appear very nice and a faithful reproduction of the 38-mile circuit, the physics could be better, according to player reviews online.
Mud, sweat and glory is the tagline for the official game of the 2020 MXGP Motocross championship. Itu2019s got the official riders, bikes and teams from the season as well as all 19 circuits around the world. Like many games, thereu2019s a career mode to allow you to progress through the feeder series and develop your skills and you can also create the circuits you compete on, with as much altitude as attitude.
You can also free-roam to gain experience and have some fun. Play online or on your own or become a race director – the choice is yours.
Also available for PS4, Xbox One, PC
Valentino Rossi: The Game
A slightly older option in this list, but certainly one worthy of note. Released in June 2016, this is a game that sees The Doctoru2019s love of two and four wheels collide; allowing you to race the then latest YZR-M1 MotoGP bike and Yamaha R1M superbike, as well as take part in car drift and rally challenges, plus sideways flat track action.
Competing in the MotoGP season, players can also re-trace the steps of Rossi’s career, as well as explore his famous ranch, where he still carries out much of his training. For a Rossi fan, this is well worth a purchase.
Released in 2017, Road Redemption is your chance to let off some serious steam; taking part in vehicular warfare in a post-apocalyptic landscape. Rated 18, this is very much a Road Rash for the modern era and while it might not be a game for the motorcycle racing purist, it could provide some great value entertainment.
Challenge up to 10 of your mates online, or enjoy four-way split screen multiplayer from home. There’s also a campaign mode, if you fancy causing some destruction on your own.
Also available for Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.
Compete all over the world in this challenging trials epic u2013 letting players stamp their two-wheeled authority on everything from the Eiffel Tower, to Yellowstone National Park.
With official sponsorships from the likes of KTM and Fox Racing Gear, players can customise outfits and bike liveries, as well as build unique tracks.
On top of this, there is also a 'tandem bike' mode in multiplayer, which sees two riders contributing 50% of the power and balance whilst riding together on one bike. Get set for plenty of thrills, and plenty of spills!
Also available for Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.
Dirt Bike Unchained
Powered by Red Bull and running on Apple or Android mobile devices, this addictive game offers a range of bikes and tracks that you can race over, jump from, flip and whip across and gain mentorship from riders such as former Womenu2019s Trials champion and enduro rider Laia Sanz. Play alongside or against other players and choose from a variety of game modes as you try to become worthy of the coveted Red Bull helmet.
From the same people who developed the successful Traffic Racer, Traffic Rider is a road-based chaotic racing sim where you can progress through 29 bikes, from scooters to cruisers and sportsbikes and over 70 missions in career mode.
The objective is to make as much money and score as many point as possible, with dubious techniques such as riding against oncoming traffic scoring higher and earning you more money. An interesting diversion if there’s noting on telly or you have a bus or train journey to while away – just remember the headphones.
A frankly infuriatingly addictive game, this pits you as a stick man on an off-road bike working your way across an increasingly annoying and tricky course that will destroy your bike if you allow anything but the wheels to hit the u2018tracku2019. Play against a ghost of your best run or other players online. It will become your new addiction.