The AMA Pro Motocross Championships kicked off without the defending champion Bob "Hurricane" Hannah, who had broken his leg waterskiing the previous September and would be out the entire 1980 season. Suzuki's Kent Howerton stepped into the void, winning the opener at Hangtown's Prairie City OHRV Park. Yamaha's Mike Bell, Kawasaki's Warren Reid and Honda's Donnie "Holeshot" Hansen would follow.
In the 125 Class, Mark "Bomber" Barnett topped three-time AMA 125 National Champion Broc Glover of Team Yamaha and Barnett's Suzuki teammate "Flying" Brian Myerscough. Finishing fourth on an exotic white Mugen Honda was Johnny O'Mara in his first professional race.
Team Honda's Ricky Carmichael took the win in the Houston Astrodome over his Honda teammate Nathan Ramsey, though RC was riding a CR250 two-stroke and Ramsey was aboard the company's new CRF450. Finishing third was Kawasaki rider Ezra Lusk.
In the 125 class, James Stewart suffered a few spills, opening the door for Pro Circuit rider Matt Walker of Georgia to take the Houston main event win. Amsoil Honda's Travis Preston is second and Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Eric Sorry was third.
Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto got the win in Toronto over Rockstar Suzuki rider Davi Millsaps and Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey in the Rogers Centre.
In 250SX, Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin grabbed himself a win over GEICO Honda's Will Hahn and Suzuki rider Blake Wharton.
Jeremy McGrath's unbeaten season just kept on going with a ninth straight win to start the 1996 AMA Supercross Championship, bettering Kawasaki's Ryan Hughes and Honda of Troy's Larry "Big Bird" Ward at Texas Stadium outside of Dallas. Suzuki's Ezra Lusk was fourth, with Kawasaki's Jeff Emig fifth.
Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Mickael Pichon and Casey Johnson went 1-2 in the 125cc race, which, like the race this coming weekend in Indianapolis, was an East/West combined event. Yamaha's Kevin Windham came home in third.
Today is also the birthday of Swedish racer Fredrik Noren and 250SX East Region Supercross Champion Justin Bogle, the currently sidelined 450SX rider racing for Autotrader/Yoshimura Suzuki.