The Catalina Grand Prix returns

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Catalina-Grand-Prix-2010-2.jpgOn December 4 and 5, 2010, motorcycle racing will return to Catalina Island for the first time in 52 years. Held for a span of eight years between 1951 and ’58, the Catalina Grand Prix was sort of an early ancestor of supermoto, with bikes racing both on and off-road in a single race. Organized by AMA District 37, the format, route and other details of the event have yet to be determined, the Avalon City Council only approved the race on May 4 and it hasn’t yet been officially announced.
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Located 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, Santa Catalina Island
only has a tiny population centered in Avalon, its only town. Bicycle
and even hiking access to the island’s preserved wilderness is heavily
restricted. It’s logical to assume that the Grand Prix will be
restricted to land controlled by the town and not the Catalina Island
Conservancy.

A website for the Grand Prix is expected to go live in June, revealing
all the details. Avalon has only granted the race a permit for a single
event. For it to reoccur, the race will need to prove a financial
success for the town, attracting racers, spectators and their wallets
from the mainland. We’ll keep you updated as details become available.

Here’s a few old videos to give you and idea of what made racing on
Catalina so special.

via District 37

  • CMC

    That sounds pretty rad.

  • brettvegas

    Bitchin. Would love to race the guzzi on that course.

    Hey Grant, WTF is up with the frame-rate. Shitty camera? Frame-rate looks really slow, or something.

    • Grant Ray

      Brett, it looks like whoever edited the film stock together with the music slowed the rate down for dramatic impact. Would have been cooler to just let it run at the original, slightly too high rate.

    • CascadianPDX

      It played fine… busy server? Slow connect on your end? This is some great funky old archive footage from decades past, and you’re griping about vid quality? Kids these days!!!

  • j.rot

    I will absolutely be there! Grant, you and Wes could make up a HFL crew if you’re gonna cover the race. Do a drink-up and what all.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      We’re planning on being there too. Little too early for a couple disorganized screwups like Grant and I to book flights and hotels yet though.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

    My parents took a trip to Catalina a few years back, and raved about it. It looks absolutely beautiful, and a great place for race!

    Counting my vacation days now…

  • gregorbean

    Funny, I was just reading about this earlier today on a lesser motorcycle blog. A couple of cool youtube vids on their post, in seemingly original condition with great old school narration:

    http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2010/05/18/catalina-island-grand-prix-returns-in-2010/#more-11392

    Having been to Avalon once and considering the terrain of Catalina, I think this will be an awesome event. I also have a feeling it will only happen one time before they do away with it again, so if you’re interested I encourage you to go this year.

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    Good time to have a race over there, since it’s the middle of the slow season for the island. I’m in.

  • http://thebullitt.blogspot.com/ Pattack

    So how does one enter such an awesome event?

    • Sean Smith

      Step 1. Be a current AMA District 37 racer. Step 2. Be super-cool and get invited.

      Well, maybe. It might be invite only, it might not be.

  • Sean Smith

    I’ll definitely be there. I’ve got the hook-up for a plane ride to and from avalon, and I may book a hotel too. One of the mechanics I work with is racing it, and I’m sure I’ll have a few other friends over there.

  • The Grudz

    Yes! I finally have a real good excuse to visit the Isle of Catalina. I’ll just omit the part about motorcycles when telling my lady friend that we’re going to a beautiful island in December. Wes and Grant, I’ll meet you in the ferry terminal bathroom for whiskey shots…what’s yer brand?

  • http://www.surlyboy.com Doug D.

    Maybe the race will be held in conjunction with the Catalina Wine Mixer, the biggest helicopter leasing event in the western hemisphere since 1997. Pow! Pow!

  • cam

    catalina wine mixer!

  • Botswana Meat Commission FC

    DO NOT DISGRACE THE CATALINA WINE MIXER.

  • mike

    Hahaha: “YaMAha…by the looks of it, they should stick to making pianos”

    Boats and hoes!!!

  • http://www.akilar.com/holiday-rentals-in-andalucia.html andalucia

    Well it’s nearly the break so out of interest I wondered what most of us are doing in these difficult times!

    Are you:

    a) Having your normal vacation
    b) Moving to a self catering holiday to save money
    c) Staying in your own country to save money
    d) Not having a holiday at all
    e) Going “to hell with it” and having the trip of a lifetime!

    I’d love to be doing E, but I know we’re going to be doing C or possibly D.

    What are your plans?

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

      Ha, if you’re looking to travel to beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts in exchange for a place in Spain, we might be able to work something out ;)

  • http://www.realestatevacationrentals.net Great Vacation

    Fantastic writing! Any opinions that you maybe to share in order to illustrate the last point a small bit further? thanks

  • Jeff Van De Veere

    Bitchen!! I don’t know when I’ve been this excited about an event!! Ok, maybe prom night in my dads’ convertable Cadi with my girl who has agreed to “go all the way”!! That was 1969.
    We used to go to Catalina 6 or 8 times a year, but I was never there for the race. Only saw it in the movie, “On any sunday”. Hope you guys keep this website up forever!! See you there

  • Mrs. Kuhn

    My 84 yr. old husband and Natl.Motorcycle Hall of Famer, Del Kuhn and his friend of 60 years, George Gunther who has passed, laid out the original course back in 1951. We’ve been invited
    and are looking forward to the race in Dec. It been nice to see young racers get the thrill and of ‘maybe’ having all the skills it takes that the old men talk about. See you there.

  • Al Colley

    I rode from 1954 through 58. A memory I will
    never forget. All you young racers if you can make
    it do it you will never forget it. greatest
    party i ever went to.

    Al Colley

  • dave schuler

    i remember you al you were a checker?? great race,. hope they have us back, Dave Schuler hilltoppers ,trailblazers hall-2002