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MOTOR RACING

Elsinore Grand Prix Revs Up

November 08, 1996|SHAV GLICK

After an absence of 24 years, the Elsinore Grand Prix is being revived.

Motorcycle races through the downtown streets of the lakeside community in Riverside County will be held Saturday and Sunday, with professional riders competing in the Danny Hamel 100 on Sunday afternoon.

Goat Breker, a former world and national motocross champion from Riverside, has revived the race, once one of motorcycling's most spectacular events.

"My dad raced the Elsinore Grand Prix in 1971, and I've been trying for several years to convince the people in Lake Elsinore to do it again," said Breker, who also operates the Perris Raceway motorcycle track. "We'll have six races Saturday and six Sunday. All but the Hamel 100 will be about 40 minutes long over a six-mile loop that includes two miles on downtown asphalt roads and four miles on dirt northeast of the downtown district."

The Elsinore race ran from 1968 to 1972, when it suffered from too much success, much as growing crowds caused the demise of the Big Bear Run from Saugus to Fawnskin, and the Catalina Grand Prix. In 1972, its last running, there were 2,200 riders and about 150,000 spectators, including a large number from motorcycle gangs who terrorized the populace.

Saturday's feature race will be for motorcycle legends, including such old-time favorites as J.N. Roberts, frequent winner of Mint 400 and Barstow-to-Vegas races; Dave Aldana, A.C. Bakkan, Whitey Martino, Gary Bailey and Larry Roeseler.

Roeseler, along with enduro champion Ty Davis, will be racing in the Baja 1000 today but, along with a number of other riders, plans to be at Elsinore. Roeseler, who switched from bikes to trucks this year, is favored to win SCORE's mini-pickup class.

Malcolm Smith, whose winning ride in an Elsinore race helped popularize the movie "On Any Sunday," will be one of the grand marshals.

Breker expects an entry of 1,700 riders, from peewees to professionals. As part of the festivities, Robbie Knievel, son of Evel, will attempt a motorcycle jump of record proportions inside Diamond Stadium, Elsinore's baseball park. The jump is scheduled Saturday night.

Before becoming a race promoter, Breker won the French 500cc Grand Prix motocross in 1988, three national 500cc motocrosses and championships in Japan and Australia. His career ended when he broke his hip shortly after winning the race in France.

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The 29th running of the SCORE Tecate Baja 1000, an off-road race sometimes the length of the peninsula to La Paz, but this year a Figure 8-style loop race that starts and finishes in Ensenada, is being run today.

The 714.2-mile grind through Baja's interior will feature the Trophy Truck class with defending champion Larry Ragland and Team MacPherson's Jeff Lewis in factory-sponsored Chevrolets, NASCAR driver Robby Gordon and Rob MacCachren in Fords, Curt LeDuc in a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the Iron Man, Ivan Stewart, in a Toyota.

Motor Racing Notes

SPRINT CARS--After watching Mark Kinser win two World of Outlaws races in his winged sprinter last week at Perris Auto Speedway, the Sprint Car Racing Assn. resumes its wingless car series Saturday night at the Perris Auto Speedway.

MIDGETS--Ricky Sheldon, a student at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, could become one of the U.S. Auto Club's youngest champions tonight in a 30-lap Skoal TQ series race at Ventura Raceway. Sheldon, 18, holds a 100-point lead with two races remaining.

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