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Saddleback

Orange, CA

One of the most iconic venues in the first two decades of Pro Motocross was Saddleback Ranch. The Californian track featured rolling hills and was a popular riding destination for pros and everyday riders. Unfortunately, a pair of fatal crashes and a push from a real estate developer closed the venue for good, and the land remains vacant to this day.

Venues

Located in Orange, California, Saddleback Park was opened in 1967 and held a pair of nationals during the first ever Pro Motocross season. The venue hosted races in 1972 and 1973, before returning to the schedule from 1979-1984. Around 15 minutes away from Anaheim, Saddleback was operated by Marvin Henricks. The track’s demise came after lawsuits due to fatal crashes, and a disagreement between Henricks and the land owners ended up putting the once beloved course out of commission.

Iconic Moments

Cool stuff here

1972-Building Blocks

The inaugural Saddleback national was one of the first rounds in the history of Pro Motocross, and Brad Lackey was the top dog on track. The Kawasaki rider was consistently fast, working his way from 7th to the lead in the first moto. Lackey won the second moto comfortably after Gary Jones had a swingarm issue. A Kawasaki 1-2 rounded out the day, with Lackey’s teammate John DeSoto putting in a dominant ride, lapping up to 3rd place.

1981-The Saddleback Massacre

Coined by Motocross Action’s Jody Weisel, the Saddleback Massacre involved a dominant racer coming back with a vengeance. Bob Hannah swept the Supercross and Motocross titles in 1979 but suffered a major setback in a water skiing accident. A spill shattered Hannah’s leg and put The Hurricane on the sidelines for a full year. Hannah’s return to Motocross would be the 1981 season opener at Hangtown, where he’d lose to defending champion Kent Howerton, who stated that he was aiming to top his championship and win each moto.

David Bailey pulled the holeshot during the first moto, but Hannah and Howerton quickly took the top spots. A heated battle commenced, with both men making contact. A plethora of aggressive moves ended with Howerton going down, landing on Hannah’s bike. The incident prompted Hannah to turn around and give the middle finger to Howerton before the champ would remount and eventually come back for the win. Howerton held the lead again at the start of the second moto, but issues with the arm he landed on in the first race allowed Hannah to take the lead. Howerton hung around until the very end, making a desperate pass and going down on the last lap.

Hannah’s first Motocross win after injury was fueled by anger, as he told Motocross Action that “he angered me into beating him,” and saying that he tried everything to beat Howerton after the winning claim and all the contact.

This interactive table details the all-time leaders at Saddleback. Who has the most starts, wins, podiums and points. Filter by class. On mobile, slide left to access more columns. To see all years of data, become a member of the We Went Fast Garage and help us continue (and expand) these unique views of the sport’s history.

This interactive table details the Saddleback winners history. Who won in what year and what round was this venue. Filter by class. On mobile, slide left to access more columns. To see all years of data, become a member of the We Went Fast Garage and help us continue (and expand) these unique views of the sport’s history.