The AMA/PJ1 National Arenacross Series returned to Des Moines, Iowa, for the 14th year and the '97 season opener. The Friday night winners were Suzuki-mounted Cliff Palmer in the 125 class, followed by four guys who all won 125cc SX races: Jimmy Gaddis, Nick Wey, Buddy Antunez, and Chad Pederson.
The 250cc winner was Brad Woolsey over Palmer, Antunez, Pederson, and Mike Katin. And the Dash-for-Cash winner was former 125cc Supercross Champion Denny Stephenson.
Roger DeCoster wins the Puyallup Trans-AMA in Washington.
At a star-studded Trans-AMA race at Tulsa Motorsports Park in Oklahoma, Suzuki's two FIM World Motocross Champions, Roger DeCoster and Joel Robert, were the top performers.
DeCoster went 1-1-1 while Robert was second overall with 4-2-3 scores. Swedish rider Thorlief Hansen was third overall. The 250cc "National" Support class was won by Maico rider Gary Chaplin.
On that same weekend over in California the Dirt Diggers were holding their 13th annual Hopetown event but an unexpected and scary surprise cast a dark cloud over the affair.
A pre-entry was mailed to the club with a note on the back that said "I am going to kill two girls." It was signed Zodiac, the name of the notorious serial killer that was terrorizing California at the time (and has never been found). The club called the FBI and they sent agents to work the event undercover. Nothing untoward happened, but it was a sign of those times in the Golden State.
The race winners were Bob Grossi, Preston Petty and Dan Wilson. The winner of the Hopetown GP's 250 Expert class was CZ-mounted Marty Tripes, then 15 years old.
And in the Baja 500 Malcolm Smith and Gunnar Nilsson rode a production Husqvarna to the Bike win, and finished second overall only to a truck.