When I started doing research on the 1974 Appalachia Lake National in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, for this issue (page 140), I knew
exactly what happened there. The campground went
bankrupt in 1975 and the land used for the track was sold
off. From time to
time I stop by for a
look; the track’s faint
outline is still there.
That got me
thinking about the
other eleven tracks
that made up the
’ 74 schedule, and
with the help of fellow fans, Facebook
groups, and websites like VintageMX
.us, I got updates on
all of them.
The series start-
ed with the Hang-
town National, run
by the Dirt Diggers
Club near Plym-
outh, California. It
was much more
of a sand track
than the hard-pack
of today’s Prairie
City OHRV Park in
where Hangtown moved in 1979. The old track has sat
unused since, though there was an attempt to revive it
recently for vintage racing. What’s really cool is that the
Dirt Diggers are funding a permanent monument on the
property to commemorate the old Plymouth track.
Baymare, farther south in Moorpark, hosted big
regional events in the late sixties and early seventies,
but ’ 74 was its one and only national. The track stuck
around for some time before being shut down. It’s still
Buchanan, Michigan’s RedBud—the fourth round in
’ 74—is the centerpiece of the series today. The Ritchie
family racetrack, founded in 1972, hosts big local and
regional events, as well as the Red Bull RedBud National
every July Fourth weekend.
The Grand-Am track in Hamersville, Ohio, just east
of Cincinnati, hosted a single, muddy national in ’ 74.
It’s almost impossible to find and is now a housing site,
according to Steve Lorbach, who went looking for it
recently for American Motorcyclist. He wrote a guest
column called “Searching for Hamersville” that’s up
now on Racer X Online.
Next was Manning Raceway, outside of Salt Lake
City. This badlands track sat atop a mountain on a
family farm and held a 125 National combined with an
Inter-Am in ’ 74. The race and track are most remembered for the wildfire that erupted when a smoke flare
fell off a skydiver who was descending during the
Kansas’ Baldwin Motocross Park also ran a
combined Inter-Am/125 National in ’ 74, but the trail
runs cold after that—even Kansas-born friends like
Andy Bowyer and the Hahn brothers don’t recall the
long-abandoned track, which was about two miles
outside of town.
Mid-Ohio was next. It was a major hub of motocross in the seventies, hosting Trans-AMA races,
Inter-Ams, the 125 U.S. Grand Prix, and three different
nationals. It closed in the eighties and reopened briefly
a few years back, but its world-class auto-racing facility
is going full-throttle.
Next came another Ohio track, Delta Motorsports
Park. It remains one of the longest continuously running tracks in the country, sitting right next to the Ohio
Turnpike west of Toledo. Due to its size, the big events
are long gone—the last national there was in 1976.
Founded by Donald Kessler in the 1973, Mexico,
New York’s Moto-Masters Park
hosted a national the very next
year, as well as Trans-AMA and
Inter-Am races. It’s still up and
running local races, but the only
New York national now is Unadilla.
Jack Moore’s Highland Hills track was located
about an hour east of Cincinnati off Route 50 and was
immortalized in Charley Morey’s iconic photograph of
“Tony D. and the Jammer” battling at the ‘ 74 500 National. That was the facility’s one and only major race,
and then it closed for good.
Finally, there was the bayou track called Motocross West, right on the banks of the Mississippi
River. Known locally as Waggaman, it hosted four
nationals, including the legendary “Battle of New Orleans” that is the basis of the film One Chance to Win.
The track closed in 1978, though promoter Marion
Phillips is still an active rider.
Know any more about these old tracks? Get in touch:
KNOW ANY MORE ABOUT THESE
OLD TRACKS? GET IN TOUCH.