HOME  •  MAIL  •  FIND  •  D37 WEBSITE

THE LEGENDARY BIG BEAR RUN

EARLY ROUTE PINS PHOTOS WINNERS ARTICLES LATER ROUTE

The early, point-to-point enduraces races of the twenties and thirties are the root of modern desert racing. The first Big Bear Run was 1921. In the 40s and early 50s, it started at the Saugus Cafe and finished in Big Bear.   In those days, you could choose your own route.  One year, the winner rode south around the San Gabriel mountains rather than up through Lucerne!    Del Kuhn, the 1950 National Enduro Champ and three-time winner of the Greenhorn Enduro, won Big Bear in 1952.  Aub LeBard won three years in a row: 1949, 1950 and 1951!    Some of these early races were put on by the old Three Point Club. Sometime in the 50s, Orange County MC laid out courses with loops and checkpoints from the Soggy Dry Lake area to Fawnskin via Rattlesnake Canyon. In at least one of those years, the route included Means Dry Lake, Giant Rock and Pioneer Town before heading up Burns Canyon to Lake Baldwin and then Fawnskin.  Bud Ekins won in 1954, and was leading the 1955 race until his carburetor iced up.   Remember Steve McQueen jumping the fence in The Great Escape?  That was stunt man Bud Ekins on a stock Triumph!  Bud was the desert hot shoe in the 50s, and won several ISDT gold medals. That's him below carrying the #1 plate through the snow.   530 entered that year, but only 119 finished, and one of them was a 48-year old speedway champion named Wilbur "Lammy" Lamoreaux on a 200cc Triumph Cub!  He won the 200cc class, of course, but was way ahead of everything under 500cc!    The last Big Bear Run was in 1960, and ran from Lucerne to Fawnskin and back to Lucerne.   Eddie Mulder won that one on a 500 Royal Enfield thumper...


Bud Ekins led the '56 Big Bear until his carburetor iced up...


Roy Burke (right) was leading when snow
ended the race at Old Woman Springs...


Buck Smith (3rd), Charles Hockie (2nd), Roger White (1st)

Thanks to the following old timers, who made it possible to approximate both the original and later courses, document many of the top finishers and display pictures of one of the oldest point-to-point desert races!