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Bench Racing Ammo: November Blues

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The late Gaylon Mosier in the 1976 Trans-AMA Series
November is the longest month for American motocross fans, isn’t it? Not because of the days, but because of the almost complete lack of big races. The way the schedule works now, there are two World Supercross races in Canada in December, then U.S. Supercross from January through May, the outdoor nationals from May through September, and even the U.S. Open to keep us interested through half of October. Only November is without a major professional race in America (though amateurs and kids have the Winter Olympics throughout the last week of the month).

Gary Semics, a Trans-AMA regular
But November wasn’t always such a dull month. Back in the days of that late, great Seventies Show known as the Trans-AMA Series, the top American motocrossers met up with the best from Europe (and a few fast Japanese riders) for a cross-country motocross blitz. The races were held at such famous tracks as Red Bud, Carlsbad, Puyallup (WA), Saddleback and Livermore (CA), St. Peters (MO), and Rio Bravo (TX). The weather didn’t always cooperate, and the Europeans were mostly in charge, but then interest in the series started to wane as supercross in America grew. When Roger DeCoster stopped coming, that was the beginning of the end.

And speaking of supercross, here’s one that you won’t believe: The Anaheim Supercross used to be held in November! That’s right, the Big A joined the AMA Supercross circuit on November 12, 1977, as the last race on the series schedule. In those nascent days of “stadium motocross,” dates were hard to come by, so the 10-round series schedule called for the Pontiac doubleheader (rounds 6 and 7) to be held the first week in April, then Round 8 (New Orleans) to go off on June 4, then the Superbowl of Motocross in the Los Angeles Coliseum—the penultimate round—was July 9. Finally, a full FOUR MONTHS later, the last race of the ’77 was held in November, at what used to be called Angels Stadium. The winner? Same as the first race: Team Yamaha’s Bob Hannah.

Roger DeCoster was no stranger to November ";mudders"; on the Trans-AMA Series
At the 1978 Anaheim SX (November 11, and this time a full FIVE months after the next-to-last round), Gaylon Mosier won the last stadium race of his professional career. He would be killed the following year in a cycling accident while training near Unadilla in New York.

In 1979, Kent Howerton won the Anaheim race, held on November 17; in 1980 the race was briefly dropped from the schedule. It finally returned in 1981 – as the first race of the year, on January 31.

But November still had a race: The AMA moved the San Diego SX to November 14, and the race was won by Broc Glover.

Now, before you start thinking this ridiculous old schedule was the AMA’s fault, it wasn’t. Back then, before the promotion of supercross was unified under one roof, there were several different promoters scattered all around the country. They didn’t seem to cooperate with one another on much of anything, but the AMA was able to cobble all of the races together for a unified series, even though it stretched from January to November and overlapped the AMA National Motocross Series, the soon-to-be-extinct “Trans-USA” Series, as it came to be known in its death throes, and the various FIM Grand Prix races that still came to America.

So now there’s nothing in November for us fans. Although I doubt the riders are complaining.
Gaylon Mosier won the 1978 Anaheim SX, which was held on November 11

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