Catalina Island Grand Prix Returns in 2010

Map of the Catalina Island Grand Prix from the 1950sNow here's a great return to the old days of motorcycle racing, the Catalina Island Grand Prix is coming back, scheduled races will take place on December 4th and 5th, topped off with a 100 mile Pro Race on December 5th, though all of the activities should run over a period of 4 or 5 days. The last time the race was run was in 1958, the image shows a map of the old race course. Catalina Island is located off the coast of southern California

The Avalon City Council Tuesday, May 4 unanimously approved a request by AMA District 37 Motorcycle Club to host a Catalina Island Grand Prix. The on road and off road event should be a great boost to tourism at a time when business is usually slow.

From the Catalina Islander:

Throughout the 1950s, the Catalina Grand Prix was one of the premier motorcycle races in the United States. Every year, boats loaded with motorcycles crossed the channel from the mainland. The races usually consisted of more than 206 bikers competing in a mad scramble over a 10-mile course that ran through city streets and up into the hills above Avalon, through the golf course and then back into the city streets.

"This is going to be a family orientated event," he said. "There will be plenty of spectator access to races... we are bringing back a piece of Catalina's history and the nostalgia of the Island.”

However, (Avalon Mayor) Kennedy said the event could have a short shelf life on Catalina. "This is a one time permit," he said. "The success or failure of this event is going to dictate whether anything like this happens again on Catalina."

Details are still very limited, a website with complete information is expected to be up next month.

Thanks for the great tip from Bryan!

UPDATE: Catalina registration now open

Videos below:


  1. Tin Man 2 says

    This is Great, It would never be allowed if they were not broke. Bet the Locals will fly out for the week, not at all like the Isle of Man locals who welcome the racers into their home.

  2. woody says

    From what I have gleaned, it wasn’t the island’s residents, or the Wrigleys, or the Catalina Island Co. that have been blocking the race all these years. It has been the Catalina Island Conservancy who have blocked it, and there has been a shake up in the balance of power between all these groups.

    If you want to see video of the Yamaha in action check it out here:
    part 1:
    part 2:

    (videos added above – kneeslider)

  3. The other Larry says

    So what type of motorcycles will be run? Moto-crossers? Motards? Superbikes? 600’s?

  4. Nicolas says

    the ancestor of supermotard racing !!!

    So cheesy footage, it’s so awesome … I was expecting to see the Green Hornet and Kato showing up and kick some @ss, at some point … and as the bike were put in a crate, they should have stayed in the crate !!! 😉

    Note that Yam is the only surviving brand of the top 10 on this race …

  5. Bob Nedoma says

    (Avalon Mayor) Kennedy said the event could have a short shelf life on Catalina. “This is a one time permit,” he said. “The success or failure of this event is going to dictate whether anything like this happens again on Catalina.”

    Make it a success!!

  6. todd says

    I had just missed a 2008 Catalina Grand Prix reunion last time I visited. I’m glad to hear they will be racing this time. Looks like I’m heading back – just need to remember the Dramamine…


  7. Cameron Nicol says

    Disney Land vacation and Catalina Gran Prix! I’m in. Can’t wait for more details. That should take care of the Canadian winter blues!

  8. Ron Shelby says

    This is incredible! I never thought I would EVER get to see motorcycle racing on Catalina Island! I did find a great DVD with alot of great Catalina Grand Prix footage as well as a couple of other long-lost SoCal racing at

    Can’t wait for the REAL thing!


  9. Thruxton Cup says

    Too bad it’s in December. It could be pouring rain. Either way, I’m in.

  10. The Other Guy says

    Hah!…I guess their precious green environment takes a back seat when they’re out of the Green that matters most:…

  11. Vulcanridingsailor says

    Racing should be awesome on the island, if it’s not raining. I plan to take my boat over and make a long weekend of it.

  12. DAVE MILLER says


  13. island local says

    Catalina and most residents are welcoming the race with open arms. A lot of locals here still race the District 37 Grand Prix, desert, and SCORE circut. It will be mostly a dirt race much like Adelanto Grand Prix. It is not being held on any Conservancy land so they don’t have anything to say about it. There has been no shake up in the balance of power the reason for the race returning is of the enthusiasim of the local racers to bring it back and the economic benifits it will bring to the community of Avalon. The Island Compay owns most of the land that the race will be on realized this and gave their approval. They have said it is a one time event. That could change if things go well. I hope everyone comes and has a good time.

  14. Barry Bertram says

    I raced Cataalina on a 350cc Velocette in 1955 and a TR6 in 1956. I can’t wait to be there. December is usually good weather. Thanks to the local enthusiats for getting it going again. IF, they have a SUPER SUPER SENIOR CLASS. I’m in and so are a few of my buddies who also raced these years. We were in the San Gabriel M.C. Along with greats such as Johnny McLaughlin, John Steen, Norman Gorgone, and a bunch of other hot off road racers.
    See you there,
    Barry Bertram
    #209 in ’56

  15. Jeff Sanders says

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but I googled a search on ferrys there, and I have not seen one that carried anything but passengers. How do we get the bikes and equipment over there? Is there an auto ferry I missed and does anyone know the cost on that? Hours of operation?

  16. woody says

    Jeff, D37 and the promoter are promising bikes will be transported via barge, and transpo will be included in the entry fee. Details are supposed to drop early next week.

  17. Old Dirtbike Warehouse says

    Can’t WAIT ! also will VP fuel be allowed in ’58 Goldstar :)

  18. Matt Sersion says

    I am so happy this race is back! I will be making a Documentary about The Catalina Grand Prix starting June 2010. I want to include interviews of those that were there in the ’50s. I live in Southern California and will travel relatively far for your stories.

  19. robert bryson says

    have my 1958 Zundapp super Saber scrambler. would like to break her out. does anyone know if there will be a vintage 250 class…. with a 60 +++ class… if not .. whatever!! if you note in the videos,. Z’s finished way up on the roster… we raced every dicipline on them.. I’m bringing my 61 Daytona road racer back to her 50th anniversary this March with AHRMA bryson, laguna motorsports , AHRMA 515…. 949-6323526

    Anyone with Zundapp history “stuff” please call or email… thanks

  20. robert bryson says

    want to bring out my 58 Zundapp super Saber scrambler. Anyone know if there will be a vintage 250 class???? any one with zundapp history stuff, I am interested!!! taking my 61 road racer to Daytona, AHRMA, for her 50 th this next march. … note Z’s finished way up in those days… believe a 250 won the overall in the Big Bear in 60 or so…
    call bryson 949- 6323526. Laguna Motorsports AHRMA 515 cheers

  21. robert bryson says

    can’t work the computer, but can still twist a throttle… senility keeps me from remembering that I’ve broken most bones at least once… let’s race men!

  22. Preston Petty says

    That’s great news. Hope it really happens.
    Imho, that was the most enjoyable race ever.
    Rode it in ’57 & ’58 and have many fond memories.

  23. says

    Hi All, Sounds Great, Hope we can All race. My Pops (Bill Boyd) rode in 58, & said it was a Hoot!* – & I’d like to race this one too! Cheers* & hope to see U there.

  24. Jeff Van De Veere says

    This will truely be an historic event!!! My dad, (G.E. “Van” Van De Veere) and I rode with, Al “Ace” Baker, Wayne Peterson and a bunch of the old timers. We can bearly contain ourselves! What’s the latest news on the event? Particularly, entry sign ups for the race.

  25. Jimmy Allison says

    How about a vintage class. I’d love to bring my 58 Gold Star and race it.

  26. Jeff Van De Veere says

    Cool Jimmy,
    My high school best friend, Dennis Harper, rode a ’58 500 goldstar and I rode a ’55 650 Trumpet. We set them up for the des. as well as we could in those days and still rode to school. Can’t wait to do this ride. Anyone know more about the particulars?

  27. Bryan Menne says

    How Cool- this sounds too great to miss, I’d have to break out the Dual Sport & gear for this one! Hope they have the 50+ Int. class like the Elsinore GP. Now I have to break the news to the wife… but my boy is excited & wants to pit already for me. Why hasn’t this had an entry form or full article in Cycle News?- I only just saw it in the Archives p.47 of 7/14/10. I Gotta tell all my bros about this -yee-hah!

  28. Ron Reed says

    This is awsome. I saw this race on “On any sunday”. What are the regulations? I want to race this! Who’s allowed to enter and what type of bikes are allowed?

  29. Mike McDonough says

    We are so jacked to hear this is coming back, Good things in history should be welcomed back…. Well done to the organizers.

  30. Bryan Wood says

    Hopefully everyone who wanted to get in on this has done so. Entry’s were announced last week, and the list is up at the official website, which is buggy, but has information now. For anyone who missed it, I think they are planning some late entries to fill in spots left opened by last minute cancellations. So get an application in and get on the wait list. There are vintage classes for everything back to bike as raced in the original. Classes are basically borrowed from AHRMA:

  31. Bonneville Tim says

    This should be an amazing time! As a lifetime occasional islander and lifetime rider, I support it completely. I hope that it’s more Isle of Man and less 1947 Hollister!

  32. says

    I’ve wished and hoped for the return of the Catalina GP, since I raced my XR 75’s and my sponsor, Ed Kretz (Sr. & Jr.) would tell stories of the event. And now, I’ve been entered. And, at the same time, get diagnosed with cancer. A freckle, then mole, then melamoma on my shoulder that comes out in surgery tomorrow morning. The docs telling me 6 weeks to heal…we’ll see. My first L.A. Supercross, I wrapped my cast on my leg with a moto sock and duct tape to practice at Claude Osteen Cycle Park, then cut my cast off my leg the week before the race. I wasn’t my best, but I didn’t miss that race.

  33. Bill Swanson says

    How do I enter? I just found out about the race.
    Bill 818 262 7904 cell 818 790 0920 Home

  34. Craig Cove 6X says

    If I Found about this Event sooner I would have come out of Retirement and Entered!….Craig Cove #6 Dist 37 1970