Seventeen names. Seventeen.
That’s how many made the final cut for the DirtBikes.com list of the Top 10 Desert Racers of All Time. A discipline that has endured for more than 50 years now, desert racing has produced a wealth of motorcycle racing talent, wild characters and all-around good guys, making a top-10 list to celebrate the best of the best a tough undertaking. We took all of it in to account, making selections after consulting with expert journalists such as our beloved Rick “Super Hunky” Sieman and desert fox Mark Kariya. We factored in results, talent, personality and era in an attempt to come up with something worthy of more than mere ridicule. In the end, we think we came up with something that represents the sport’s five decades-long history quite well, keeping in mind that our goal was to make a list that represented desert racing and not off-road racing as a whole. Remember that before you fire off your angry email.
Is it the end-all, be-all list? Probably not. We’re sure that some desert fans are bound to get pissed off when a) they either don’t find their personal favorite on here, or b) aren’t happy with the position in which they do find it. Hell, we’re still bummed at some of the names we weren’t able to fit on this list. But if you think it’s easy, we encourage you to try it for yourself and let us know how it turns out for you.
10. Larry Bergquist
One of the winningest riders in AMA District 37’s history and a founding member of the Buzzard’s Motorcycle Club, Larry Bergquist epitomized fast in the desert. In a sport considered to be the domain of the young, Bergquist didn’t get his first career desert racing win until he was 31 years old! He is third on the all-time AMA District 37 desert racing all-time winner’s list, with 31 wins, and he is the 1968 Baja 1000 Champion along with teammate Gary Preston, giving the Honda brand the first of its record-setting 25 Baja 1000 wins. A true pioneer, Bergquist was not only fast on a motorcycle, but he was also a desert racing ambassador and steward. He worked his tail off to promote the sport, organizing Buzzards M.C. desert racing events. He always made sure that Buzzards M.C. events left a lighter footprint by leading clean-up crews after the races were finished.