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James D. Anderson  (1942 – Present)


James D. Anderson is rumored to be the father of motocross.  Born March 23, 1942, he grew up riding motorcycles around his family farm in Witchita, Kansas.  Seeing James’ proficiency for riding, his father built him a small track in their backyard with a tractor, which James would spend hours each afternoon riding after school.


Soon James was redesigning and building the track himself to make it more challenging.  He built jumps and would test them out himself, then redesign them in order to achieve the perfect lips off the jumps, thus resulting in the maximum lift to launch the motorcycle the longest distances.  James’ friends would come over and ride the track with him, and in his early twenties James began to hold races for local riders on his backyard track.


By the summer of 1963, popularity of the races and Anderson’s track had spread and others were trying to duplicate the track in locations throughout the county.  A series of races were held in the summer of 1964 at the tracks that had been built in the county, in which the riders competed for the “King of the County” award.  By 1965, this new sport of Motocross was known across the country.  Children and adults of all ages were trying it out at new local tracks that were being built everywhere.   James D. Anderson himself oversaw the building and design of many of these new tracks and would participate in many of his local races well into his fifties.  Today he still participates by announcing at the series held in his home county.


Jennifer Schreck


COMM100 - SJSU