An examination of the factors that encourage long term participation in the extreme sport of motorcycle road racing.

Marilyn Jan Lewis (2010). An examination of the factors that encourage long term participation in the extreme sport of motorcycle road racing. PhD Thesis, School of Tourism, The University of Queensland.

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Author Marilyn Jan Lewis
Thesis Title An examination of the factors that encourage long term participation in the extreme sport of motorcycle road racing.
School, Centre or Institute School of Tourism
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-12
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Associate Professor Ian Patterson
Dr Shane Pegg
Total pages 248
Total colour pages 5
Total black and white pages 243
Subjects 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Abstract/Summary In the sport of motorcycle racing, where participants reach speeds in excess of 300km/hour, it can be expected that they exhibit different personality characteristics and behaviour to participants in other less extreme types of sports. This study sought to examine the motivations for participation in the extreme sport of motorcycle road racing in Australia. More specifically, the study investigated the relationship between the theoretical constructs of serious leisure, flow state, sensation seeking personality and the sport motivations of motorcycle riders in Australia. A mixed method approach was used with qualitative interviews being conducted with an expert panel of motorcycle riders to initially determine the underlying concepts that related to the sport of motorcycle racing. The analysis of interview data and subsequent review of the relevant literature revealed that the concepts relating to serious leisure, the flow state, sensation seeking personality dispositions, and sport motivation were appropriate underlying theories to explore in the second phase of the study. A number of standardised scales and survey items that had been successfully used in previous studies were used to collect data with respect to the research questions posed for this study. The survey instrument was posted to all licensed motorcycle racers in Australia with a response of 370 completed surveys (27%) recorded. The mean age of the respondents was 40 years of age, with the majority of respondents (97%) being male. Motorcycle road racing was vi the principal sport for 85% of respondents with their involvement in road racing extending for an average of nine years. The first research question for the study sought to determine if riders exhibited the sensation seeking personality trait and did it act as a key motivator for engagement in motorcycle road racing? Male riders achieved very high E-Thrill and Adventure subscale (E-TAS) scores and these high scores may be a key to determining the personality characteristics of potential racers. The second research question tested whether motorcycle road racing competitors exhibited deviant behaviour. The results found that younger riders were more likely to sustain injuries than older riders, and that the more injuries that were sustained, the higher their score on the E-Thrill and Adventure subscale (E-TAS). This indicates that the changing sensations from injury were a major motivating factor for study respondents despite the pain involved. The third research question asked whether motorcycle racers were more highly intrinsically or extrinsically motivated to engage in this sport. Study results revealed that Australian motorcycle road racers were more highly intrinsically motivated than they were extrinsically motivated. In fact, all three intrinsic motivation measures rated in the top three rankings. This result would indicate that motorcycle racers freely chose to participate, value the competition and judge it to be important to them as individuals. The fourth research question posed in this study related to whether riders regarded road racing as a serious or casual leisure activity. A significant positive correlation was found between the ranking of a rider in a rider hierarchy and their serious leisure scores. This finding indicates that riders in professional teams were more likely to consider motorcycle road racing as a form of serious leisure. This finding also served to confirm the importance of the second criteria of serious leisure or study respondents, which was ‘a tendency to have a career in the chosen field’. The fifth research question sought to explore how motorcycle road racers experienced the flow state? Study findings revealed that younger riders were more likely to experience a high flow state as they competed on the track. This finding is consistent with other study results which reinforced the fact that motorcycle road racers reported a very high subscale score for the autotelic dimension of the Flow State Scale, which is defined as the sum of all the other flow experiences. In summary, the findings of this study make a significant contribution to advancing an understanding of the motivations and personality characteristics that Australian motorcycle road racers possess. Firstly, the thesis itself is the first comprehensive review of its type of the motivations for why individuals engage in the sport of motorcycle racing in Australia and vii reflects a critique of literature from a diverse range of sources not previously undertaken. Secondly, a range of motivational theories have been applied to the extreme sport of motorcycle racing and the study findings offer an insight into the sport not previously available. Thirdly, the main personality traits that are critical to explaining why individuals sustain their involvement as a motorcycle road racer in Australia have been identified. This, in itself, is an important study outcome as motorcycle road racing event organisers need to be fully cognizant of the fact that by their engagement, riders simply want the opportunity to be on the track racing, and to try their best to win if at all possible. Any prize money that they might receive via their efforts is a secondary concern and is not considered by them as a primary motivating factor. Rather, study results revealed that in fact it is the level of intrinsic motivation experienced that keeps the riders returning to such an extreme sport, even if injured, as racing is what each individual freely seeks to do.
Keyword Motorcycle road racing, extreme sport, serious leisure,
sensation seeking personality disposition, sport motivation,
flow state, rider hierarchy.
Additional Notes Colour pages to be printed: 24, 60, 78, 101, 209

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Created: Thu, 30 Jun 2011, 13:29:49 EST by Mrs Jan Lewis on behalf of Library - Information Access Service