Big Bear was one of the most famous point-to-point desert endurance races of its time. It started in 1921 and ran till 1960. The last race went from Lucerne Valley to Big Bear and back.
That last race started at 9:30am on January 10th. The field consisted of 765 racers. Bud Ekins on his Triumph passed the first gas check in first place followed closely by Wayne Harris on a Royal Enfield Interceptor. He immediately overtook Ekins for the lead, but he crashed into a large boulder and was out of the race. Somewhat later Buck Smith (Triumph) took the lead, but his gas tank broke. This left Don Surplice (Matchless) in the lead, but he had mechanical difficulties. Ekins had also abandoned due to a burnt engine.
The race consisted of three laps. In the final lap, many racers had dropped out, the race proving too hard for even the toughest veterans, less than 330 remained in the race.Up to then the race had been in the twisting sand washes of the Rattlesnake Canyon, and from there on it went onto the snow covered trails of the Big Bear mountain. There Babe Jay (BSA) took the lead but a surprising challenge came from 16 year old Eddie Mulder on his Royal Enfield 500 single. They took many spills and the lead exchanged places between them. Essentially, who got up first got the lead. Down in the desert, Eddie started pulling ahead and he finished the race with a commanding lead. He had covered the circuit in 4h21min averagin more than 27mph.
Mulder would go on to become an accomplished racer and was inducted in to the AMA hall of fame.
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