Cycle News

Cycle News Issue 42 October 24, 2017

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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CN III ARCHIVES BY LARRY LAWRENCE W e think of kids in their teens racing at the pro level a fairly recent phenomenon. You know the mentality—start them racing at five and by the time they're 15 they already have a decade's worth of racing experience. But young racing prodigies didn't start in the '90s or 2000s. Eddie Mulder is proof of that. Back in January of 1960, a fresh-faced kid from Lancaster, California, just 16, scored a stunning victory in one of the biggest motorcycle races in America, the Big Bear Run. It wasn't just the fact that a 16-year-old Mulder beat the top desert racers of the era that was the story, it was the way he'd done it—coming from behind after losing a footpeg on his Mel Dinesen-tuned Royal Enfield in the middle of the race, and passing hundreds of fellow competitors to take the champion's trophy at one of the most impor- tant races in America. Overnight Mulder went from an obscure kid play- ing around on his motorcycle in the desert, to having his face plastered all over the country in motorcycle magazines and win posters celebrating the unlikely victory. "It was big, man," Mulder says today when looking back on his Big Bear victory. "After that things just sort of snowballed, the sponsorships came rolling in and my career was off and running." The Big Bear first ran in 1921. Legend has it that a group of riders were together celebrating the new year when they decided to go out and see who could be the first to compete the 100-mile ride to Big Bear Lake. Helped along by annually being the first big race of the year (usually right after New Year's), the Big Bear quickly grew into one of the most publi- cized races in the country. Riders who won what would become called the Big Bear National became well-known names in motorcycle-racing circles, riders like Dick Page, Dutch Sterner, Aub LeBard, Del Kuhn, Vern Robison and Bud Ekins. By the 1960 edition of the race, it had almost gotten out of hand. A total of 765 riders took the start of that year's race. Only 207 crossed the finish line 150 grueling miles later. The race be- came so big in fact, that it was one of the things that caused its demise with police complaining of crowd control as a major issue. P128 Big Bear's Baby-Faced Champ

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