The Catalina GP returns after 50 years – Pictorial

Pictorial – Santa Catalina is a small island off the coast of California, and for 2010 the Red Bull Catalina GP was run, 52 years after the last event.

Red Bull Catalina GP

Santa Catalina is a small holiday island off the coast of Southern California. Accessible by ferry from Long Beach south of Los Angeles, the island is known for more than just the unfortunate drowning of actress Natalie Wood in 1981. Long before that, in 1958, the last of the popular Catalina GPs were run. That event also marked the very first international race for Yamaha, who managed a 6th place finish, and the desire to keep racing that continues over 50 years later.


From 1951 to 1958, the Catalina GP was run through the streets and nearby hills of Catalina’s town, Avalon, much like another iconic Californian dirt bike race, the Lake Elsinore GP. And like the Elsinore event, history loving dirt bikers have revived the event for 2010, 52 years after it last ran.

Sponsored by Red Bull, the December 2010 event attracted 800 riders, including several big names including Nitro Circus frontman Travis Pastrana and the 2010 Baja 500 winner Kendall Norman, who managed a race win. Pastrana entertained the crowd around the six mile course with heel clickers over the triple jump until his RM250 seized. Pastrana’s Nitro Circus mates Andy Bell, Gregg Godfrey and Kurt Nicoll also fronted for the event.

All images copyright Garth Milan/Red Bull Photofiles

Other noteworthy racers included Homer Knapp, who took to the course on Saturday on the same 1920s Harley Davidson he rode in the Catalina race in the 1950s, Hall of Famer Malcolm Smith, motocross champion Rick Johnson, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and Olympic skier Daron Rahlves, who won his race.

“On Any Sunday” film maker Dana Brown was at the event with a film crew, with the Catalina GP reportedly part of his next film, On Any Sunday III.

A successful event with a large crowd leaving their disposable income in the local traders tills has left the door open for the race to be returning next year.

All images copyright Garth Milan/Red Bull Photofiles


All images copyright Garth Milan/Red Bull Photofiles


Travis Pastrana



Kendall Norman.

All images copyright Garth Milan/Red Bull Photofiles


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