The Grandfathers of Motocross ™



The History and Purpose of the Grandfathers of Motocross website

The purpose of this website is to share the personal recollections of Del Kuhn, one of the top Southern California off-road motorcycle riders of the 1940s-1950s. Though born in 1925, he clearly remembers his “ motorcycle days” like it was yesterday. Del Kuhn rode motorcycles competitively from 1947-1954.

This web site is dedicated in memory of Del Kuhn’s best friend Lloyd Mayer who died in the 1947 Big Bear Hare & Hound.

We also thank our friend, artist Brian Finch for his talents in creating our website logo.

As Kuhn’s wife of almost 40 years, my desire was originally to create a physical scrapbook for viewing by family and friends. As I learned more about those early racing days and the other riders of that time, I realized that Del had a treasure chest of intact sharp memories and vintage memorabilia. I decided with his permission to create a website to preserve and share his knowledge and experiences of this pre-motocross history. This is a part of Southern California Motorcycle racing during the 1940s & 1950s and we are happy to share it.

More background:

Although there were many motorcycle riders and races since the invention of motorcycles, we chose not do go that far back. We have a lot to cover with just the information we currently have and hope to add more to this website.

We only ask if a viewer has a photo/document to share or a suggestion/remark/correction, please e-mail us. This website is NOT all about Del Kuhn’s racing career but also of the other fine riders of that time. We have been extra diligent in trying to make sure all dates, names and other facts are correct by not only relying on Del’s recollections, but using other resources such as vintage magazines, newspapers, checking with the rider himself or family members and using internet information.

Those who came before…

There were many early pre-1930s great riders, names we recognize today as the motorcycle pioneers and this website is not to dismiss, discredit or disrespect their contribution in any form but Del Kuhn’s personal history is just that, his personal account history. The focus of this website is generally, 1940s & 1950s in Southern California, as this is when and where Del raced.

Now some 60 years later, Del agreed to be interviewed for this endeavor. Fortunately, Del properly stored, yet never displayed his collection of 1940s-1950s motorcycle trophies, vintage competition apparel, photos, magazines, posters, other memorabilia and even rare ‘film footage.’ Some of these will be included in this website and personal photos are copy-righted.

The events that led up to the birth of Motocross.

The majority of the events included the grueling Enduros, sure-footed English Trials, the all-around Field Meets, the gravity challenging Hill Climbs and the speed-based Hare & Hounds. From one these skilled events a specific event called Scrambles took place. This later evolved to the modern Motocross. Hence, after learning of these early legendary riders and other unsung riders contributions to the sport, I affectionately coined the term the ‘Grandfathers of Motocross’ on these riders.

Remembering some of the Grandfathers of Motocross

Most of the riders of that time that Del admired, his peers and good long-time friends have passed and our desire is to also include the events, contributions and achievements of those early pre-motocross riders.

These are some of the riders that Del knew, respected and talked about during these interviews with me. Del laughing added, that a few of them he also ‘rubbed handlebars’ with as he identified the old photos collection. In no particular order and Del says to forgive him, if he inadvertently forgot someone, these are the riders he recalls fondly… his idol, the great *Aub LeBard, best friends *John McLaughlin and *George Gunther, plus *Max Bubeck, *Russ Good, *Dutch Sterner, Elmer Rasmussen, *Vern Hancock, Al Rogers, Ralph Adams, Wes Drennan, *Nick Nicholson, Norm Sothern, Ernie May, *Chuck Feets Minert, Charlie Cripps, *Bob ‘Red’ Harrison, *Chuck ‘Bud’ Howseman, *Swede Belin, *Eddie Day and Dalton Holiday to name a few.

  • = deceased

Motorcycle competition deaths:

There were many other notable riders, including those who sadly, died during competition. He remembers the motorcycle accident deaths of best friend Lloyd Mayer and Moose Page. In addition, the deaths of Flat Trackers Bert Rausch and Vern Robison also were premature. Others disappeared from the motorcycle scene, moved away and Del never heard from again.

The next generation, taking Motorcycle racing into Modern times.

Of course, there were the over-lapping and the next generation of riders to follow these Grandfathers of Motocross ™. These included the young riders Malcolm Smith, Preston Petty and *Bud Ekins to name a few.

We hope this website sheds a little more light in hearing first hand from Del Kuhn, who was there and had a ‘few trophies & titles’ under his belt as he shares what he remembers about those early exciting cycle racing years.

Please enjoy the website!
Del & Vicky Kuhn 2014

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