THE STORY CONTINUES
History Of Hattah Since 1998
In 1997 at a North West Victorian Motorcycle Club General Meeting it was raised that the club should start something big for Enduro’s. “Let’s bring back Hattah” was the consensus.
Since the early 70’s the BP Desert Race was racing off-road bikes, buggies and cars, until 1979 when the conservationists got their way and the race was disbanded for destroying the natural habitat.
Club members wanted their Desert Race back. A lack of land, the biggest barrier. A volunteer committee formed including Des and Colin Woodberry to organise a Hattah Desert Enduro. Lenny Crowen owned land which he made available to utilise. Due to the unknown risk as to the amount of entries, the format of a Pony Express was run with one day licences.
Finally in 1998, the Hattah Desert Enduro was back!
The volunteer team prepared the land, marking the track, pits, spectator areas, under the watchful eyes of Des, Colin, John Budd and Ken Reed. President Ray Tegart and wife Marg were heavily involved in the organisational side of club events and Marg became Race Secretary in 1998, ultimately also becoming Event Coordinator, holding these roles for 14 years.
In 2007, Ray Tegart took over from Les Gates as Steward, Geoff Gunn took over from Les Banbury as Clerk of Course, and Ray and Geoff worked together on Hattah for ten years, with Geoff still in his role today.
In 1998 The Hattah Desert Enduro saw 70 riders take part with Craig Rutherford securing the honours. Scrutineering and prologue were held at Jamberoo Park, the North West Victorian Club complex, on the Saturday morning. Riders then headed to the track where they camped with food and live music on offer until well into the night. The Enduro then raced on Sunday with Iron Man classes and Pony Express.
The initial two years were club based races, however organisers wanted the Enduro to become an Open Event and expand the field. This would require riders to hold a national licence, so after negotiations with club riders the race became an open event in 2001, with Motorcycling Victoria allowing the Club to accept national and one day licences for the event.
In 2005, The Hattah Desert Enduro became a national event requiring national licences. Scrutineering moved to Sunset Cycles in Red Cliff on the friday, with Juniors introduced for the first time with races held on the Saturday and seniors racing on Sunday.
Strange Drilling, a Western Australian Mining Company, became the first naming rights sponsor in 2005. Prior to this, Colin Woodberry provided the Hattah Desert Enduro’s prize money. Honda became a naming rights sponsor from 2006 to 2008.
In 2008, the race name changed to “The Hattah Desert Race”. The biggest shift coming when Mildura Rural City Council and Mildura City Heart came on board and the club held sign-on and scrutineering in Langtree Mall. The Mall became a spectacular sight with hundreds of bikes, riders signing posters and giving interviews, giveaways, food venues, and live music.
2016 saw entries grow to 650 riders............. North West Victorian Motorcycle Club had done it. Their dream had come true and the rest is history.
Welcome to the Penrite Hattah Desert Race!