Short Course Racing Was Catching On

While Saddleback Park was enjoying growth in the southern part of the state the American Motor sports Association AMSA, formed by Jim Webb and Chris Garrett, successfully promoted a couple of events in the Fresno, CA area. The first Bombero 300 held in 1975 drew a surprising 80 entries and a whopping fan base swelling to 10,000. After the Bombero 300 the promoters fueled with their recent success held the Rio Santa Maria at a privately owned off-highway facility called Spillway Park. The entries were up to 91 but only 4000 spectators showed up. Webb and Garret felt confident enough to come back the following year and added four more events to the AMSA schedule. Apparently short course racing was catching on.

While this closed-course was catching on out west a desert style off-shoot was going on in Wisconsin. The year was 1970 and the event was the “World Championship Off-Road Races” at Crandon, WI. Far from being what one would consider a short course event because it was a closed course 101 mile loop race. The original event consisted of four 25-plus mile laps. In true Baja Desert racing fashion attrition prevailed and only one in four vehicles finished. The sponsors of Crandon would later follow in shortening up the event to make it a true spectator sport. More on the Midwest racing later.