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Actually, I think that "dirt track" may have came about after "scrambles" which supposedly was invented by motorcycle dispatch riders after WWI (or WWII ?) who missed their frantic rides across the countryside carrying important messages.
At my junior motorcross club (got my first bike on 5th birthday) we had 3 tracks. First was the "Speedway" track which was a 1/4 mile oval, second was the "Short Circuit" which was a larger oval with a Chicane in one leg (good for sorting out the sidecar boys), and the third was the "Scrambles" track which was much bigger again with jumps, stutters, uphill/downhill and whatnot.
Never been a fan of Supercross style tracks.......