Rideapart - Lake Elsinore Celebrates With 50th Anniversary Race


Off-road racers compete in a race through the California town once again, just like in 1968.


In 1968, some enterprising folks got together and convinced the little farm town of Lake Elsinore, CA to host a motorcycle race through town and around the dusty hills surrounding it. Some say it was meant to be the successor to the Catalina Grand Prix, which ran every year from 1951-58 on the island off the coast until the logistics and its own success killed it. The Elsinore race was also killed by its own success, and the crowds of rowdy bikers who attended in the late 1970s.

But by the mid-1990s, off-road motorcycling had matured (slightly) into a huge family-friendly industry, especially in Southern California, and the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix returned. Those 1990s races were a labor of love for motocross racer Goat Breker, who lived in the area at the time, before moving on and opening his off-road resort. For a moment it looked as if the grand prix was going to die again, as the town was growing fast during the housing boom, but the local minor league baseball team got behind it to keep it going (and the burst housing bubble hit the town hard).

So technically this was not the 50th running of the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix, but it was the 50th anniversary of that first race in 1968. Now, much like Bruce Brown says in On Any Sunday, if you are going to ride just one race this year, everyone races at Lake Elsinore, even the pig farmer from Murrieta.

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Manuel Serra