Bruce Brown’s 1971 documentary On Any Sunday famously captured the immense popularity of the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix. Drawing big names like Steve McQueen and racing legend Malcolm Smith to the small town outside of Los Angeles, the Elsinore GP represented the height of the dirt biking in America. Unfortunately, in the mid-’70s, the event started drawing the wrong crowd (motorcycle gangs) and organizers shut down the competition.
Fifty years later, the world is in the midst of a global pandemic, and shutdowns have threatened the future of the entire industry. During the initial COVID-19 wave in March, 2020, motorcycle dealers, manufacturers, and enthusiasts didn’t know whether the sport could weather the financial impact. However, due to other recreational limitations and social distancing mandates the public started returning to two wheels by April, 2020.
In particular, the motocross segments experienced an instant boom in sales. As a family-friendly, outdoor activity, off-road riding could be enjoyed while still adhering to health and safety guidelines. Fifty years after the peak of motocross popularity, the industry was recovering, during a pandemic, nonetheless.
To celebrate the special anniversary of the 1971 Lake Elsinore Grand Prix, KTM, Husqvarna, GASGAS, and Troy Lee Designs are partnering with Ride Motorcycles to produce a video series capturing the landmark year. Aptly named The Year of Jubilee, the three-part miniseries tells the story of manufacturers, riders, and the families doing what they love through the most adverse circumstances.
Released April 9, 2021, the first episode dives into the trials and tribulations of young motocross racers at the annual Loretta Lynn’s AMA Amateur National Championship. Future installments will focus on Pro Supercross and Motocross circuits, but if the sport can grow during such a challenging time, who knows how big it can grow in the coming years.
Sources: Elsinore Grand Prix, Roadracing World