The History Of The Dirt Diggers
By Chris Kemp
The Dirt Diggers were formed at the end of the Second World War in 1945. A few of the founding members were scout riders in the war. These brave souls rode Harley’s and Indians with no suspension, as this is all that was available. Many of the bikes were war surplus.
The first president was a man named Neil Hansen. In the forties one of the first cross-country events was called a paper chase. A rider was sent 15 minutes ahead and spread little bits of paper wherever he turned to mark his course. The first rider to catch him was declared the winner. The winner would then help write down finishing positions. Later throwing peanut bags filled with lime marked the courses. The BLM stopped that and surveyors tape has been used ever since.
The Dirt Diggers held field meets and races in what was then Venice flats, now known as Marina Del Rey. Other races were held at White Horse, Crater Camp, along with Mulholland Drive. To advertise some of these races Jack Baldwin would wear billboards and wheelie down the main streets of Santa Monica.
The Dirt Diggers are responsible for many firsts in our sport. The first all girl race was put on by the Dirt Diggers called the Petticoat scrambles. They were the first club to put on a night scrambles, the first to have a program for a race and the first club to put on a F.I.M. sanctioned race in the United States. This was the well-known Hopetown, where they set some major attendance records with an astounding thirty eight thousand in attendance over one weekend.
Some of the racers from Europe being the well known Roger DeCoster, Torsten Hallman, and Joel Robert. Throughout the years the club has been through many hardships at times having as few as three members. The club is now very healthy due to the dedication and enthusiasm of the current members.