This December, the stars will align for the rebirth of one of California’s most historic motorcycle races – the Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix. The famed race, which was held between 1951 and 1958, brought thousands of spectators and hundreds of riders to Catalina Island, helping establish it as the bustling tourist destination it is today.
After a 52-year hiatus, Red Bull has teamed up with My Cuz Vinnie Promotions LLC, the City of Avalon, the Santa Catalina Island Company, The Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce, the Catalina Island Conservancy and Del Amo Motorsports for the race’s triumphant return on December 4 and 5.
The Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix will give a new generation of riders the chance to participate in what was widely considered one of the most challenging and elite races of the 1950s. The course will span seven miles and encompass a variety of terrain including pavement, rocky cliffs, hills, winding turns and a traditional motocross section.
Due to the lax technical inspection, the 1950s race was considered a “proving ground” for various types of suspensions, engine and frame modifications and special tunings. The Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix will follow its 1950s open class tradition by providing races for a wide variety of engine displacement and skill levels.
The field will include almost 800 riders who registered prior to the October 7 deadline. There will be 12 races over the two days with an average of 80 riders per race. The Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix will be AMA sanctioned and all AMA rules will be followed.
“I’m stoked to be part of this historic race,” said four-time Baja 1000 winner and 2010 AMA National Hare & Hound champion, Kendall Norman. “I’ve heard so much about it - the pioneers of the sport racing their old-school bikes in one of the most unique locations imaginable. It’s great that we’ll finish off the season with what’s sure to be one of the most fun races of the year.”
Both motocross superstars and emerging talents will vie for top honors as they blast into the hills surrounding the main port town of Avalon. Riders will look to join Bud Ekins (the stuntman who performed the famous fence jump in “The Great Escape” for Steve McQueen) and Bob Sangren (the race’s only two-time winner) as champion of the island spectacle. Sangren will also be returning to the island to serve as Grand Marshal for the 2010 race.
The event is free to the public, and no tickets are required. There will be ample viewing areas along the course for spectators. For info on getting to Catalina Island, please visit www.catalinaexpress.com.