Blackwater 100 Enduro, the toughest race ever

Anyone remember the "Blackwater 100"? I remember reading about this race every year in the late 80's early 90's. It was on the cover of most the ATV and dirtbike mags. The articles displayed pictures of unbelievable water/mud crossings, showing bikes and atvs buried in the thick of it. Hill climbs of greasy clay mud with bikes and riders stacking up all over the place. Spectators holding a budweiser in one hand and trying to help pull the bikes through the mud with the other hand. Riders attempting to ghost ride their bikes up the worst sections, which usually included vertical mud clifts impassable by mortal man. It was purely awesome looking!!!

As a youngster I always thought it would be great to run the event. As I got older I had forgeten about the Blackwater, however, for some reason something recently sparked a memory, and I begin wondering if it still existed. I thought, "hey, I can do whatever I want now, I can go to the blackwater." To my dismay I learned that it was discontinued after 1993.

So I am hoping a few of you may have attended the blackwater 100 as either a participant or spectator. It would be great to hear some stories, and any pictures would be sweet.

I found a couple of pics searching the net, but these ones are nothing like the ones I remember from my dirt wheels mag:





Oh yeah, I remember it. That one was as bad as it got. It was run out of a little place called Davis, WV near the Blackwater Falls State Park. It's about a 4 hr. drive from here and sadly I only went once, I think it was '89.

Spectating it was a strange mix of feeling sorry for the amature level and rookie class guys as they struggled and wallowed in hellish rocks, mud, and waist deep water...and being in pure awe of the pros as they glided through the same stuff making it look effortless by comparison.

But before you listen to a spectator ramble on about it, we've got some TT members who've actually ridden it. Ask Stonewall from the XR600/650 forum, I'm pretty sure he's raced in it. Also Dwight Rudder who hangs out on the XR250/400 forum is an ISDT gold medalist and a 7 time National Enduro champ, I'd say he's raced it. Also Turbo250 from the XR250/400 board is a highly accomplished racer from IN and may have run it as well.

I read that the reason it was stopped was because the little one-horse town of Davis just couldn't accomodate the influx flood of people that came with holding the toughest national race in the country in a tiny little place like that. And then also I've heard that the environmentalists were screaming bloody murder about the damage that was being done in and around the state park area by not only the bikes but the throngs of people as well.

Don't know which, or if either one is true, but it's gone now and that's a shame.

Let us know what you dig up about it. :)

I remember that race as well. The true meaning of hard-core off-road. I believe it was the tree-huggers that led to the end of that event.

I remember seeing that on an old Motoworld 2 show in the late 90's.

Seemed like an excellent way to ruin a motorcycle. (Kinda like hillclimbs). :)

I raced the Blackwater for the first time in '91. I came all the way down from Vermont, and this would be my very first Cross Country event! I didn't know what to expect, except what I read in those magazines. It hadn't rained in about 6 months, so hot and dusty was the name of the game. The "Highway 93" river crossing wasn't even very difficult(on the first lap!), except for the crowd! Just like you said, they were all drinking and splashing what little water they could find on the embankment trying to make it more slippery. If you didn't make it up, they would do everything possible to help you. If you did make it up, look out! As you were going to get "pelted" with Beer cans!!! The course was almost 25 miles in length, and the beauty is almost to hard to describe! And I'm down from Vermont, which is unbelievable too!!! Anyhow, one of the greatest memories from that year was the fact that my machine was overheating from my flat tires, and I had just climbed up to the "Moon Rocks", were there is no water. I had to do something, looked around, no one sees me, and down go the pants! Nearly filled the radiator too! Of course just then, "Hey! What are you doin'?!"."Ummmm..., just filling my radiator. It's not full yet. Can you guys help me?". "Sure thing!". So here were three grown men that had just filled my radiator so I could continue, and the one guy says the most true words ever spoken. "Man, I wouldn't want to overheat that thing now!!!". And overheat,it did! Word to the wise, that stuff stinks! But I completed the race, something all of the locals said no newbie ever does. It took me seven hours, but I made it!!! Oh yeah, SEVEN HOURS! But this was due to my massive amount of flat tires, seven to be exact! And yes, I was on a quad. I couldn't even imagine trying that course on a bike! Nowadays, I'm wiser, and my quad faze is long gone, and I would love to have done the Blackwater on my 250F, but sadly, the enviromentalist's shut it down after '93. I talked to a gentlemen on ThumperTalk that knows a little about what happened. Originally, a timber company had bought a HUGE tract of land, and had wanted to dam up a river flooding this area for power generation and such. The Eco-freaks fought them tooth and nail, so they held a meeting and asked who was the natural enemy of the Eco-freaks. They said, "Lets let Bikers and Quads do whatever they want during this 20 year moratorium, then we'll see how they like that!" So for 20 years, we had free rein, until the moratorium ran out. Now it's gone forever. I've got wwwwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more memories from this, and '92, and the last one in '93, but I'm sure you don't want to hear about any quadtards!!!

Mitchell (Please don't hold it against me!) Marks

Maniac :)

I've got wwwwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more memories from this, and '92, and the last one in '93, but I'm sure you don't want to hear about any quadtards!!!

Tell em! If you notice my reference above was to "dirt wheels" magazine and not "dirt bike", I was riding quads at the time as well. I still wouldn't mind having one for racing, I watched the loretta lynn GNC ATV nationals last night on tv, and it sure looked like a blast.


I've got the issue of DB that the first picture you posted is in. That's Rick Sieman on the Maico 760. The bike couldn't be kick started when cold, it had to be towed!

Anyway, I've seen one of those in person; Barry Higgins has one in his shop in Georgia. Maico gave it to him as a "thank you" for all the bikes he sold. It's way cool!

Aahh, memories.... old memories! :)

spode, by chance do you have a scanner? would be killer to see some of the other pics and article.

when looking around for blackwater stuff I kept seeing references to a pinball game, I finally checked out a link and found this: blackwater pinball game. I think I need that for my garage :)

spode, by chance do you have a scanner? would be killer to see some of the other pics and article.

when looking around for blackwater stuff I kept seeing references to a pinball game, I finally checked out a link and found this: blackwater pinball game. I think I need that for my garage :D

Not currently hooked up to my new computer, but if you'll drop me a PM as a reminder, I'll see what I can do. Then I have to go dig through a warehouse full of boxes to find my OLD issues! :)

Pinball machine: Looks like a TT group purchase might be in order! :D

I remember reading a quote from a quad racer in one of the mags about that race. He was mired down in a water hole like 3' deep when all of a sudden something goes by him so fast he thought it was a jet ski by the wake of watter that was thrown at him. Turns out it was a pro atv racer hydroplaning across the bigger watter holes at mach speed.

I almost went to there on a whim to watch the race years ago, but I couldn't con any of my friends to drop everying and go at a moments notice. Now I wish I would have went by myself.

One of my buddies has a DVD of this race, some of the nastiest riding I've ever seen. It was funny watching the drunk spectators, I've never seen so many mullets before.

I would love to get a copy of that dvd. If your friend is willing could ask him to make a copy. :)

Blackwater was a Harescramble, not an Enduro.

Looks like the Washougal hangover scramble last year :)

I went and spectated/partied the last three years they had it. Sucked it got shutdown by the National Audubon Society over e coli levels. I was gonna race (quad) the year it wasn't held and have been bummed ever since. I recently got back into sport quads and I'm gonna run some local hare scrambles and the Snowshoe GNCC since it's the closest I can get to completing my dream from 20 years ago. That's right I'm old (43) but I am gonna have a blast! :thumbsup:

By the way, I actually own 2 of those Blackwater 100 pinball machines! :jawdrop:   And I'm looking to sell one, would like to sell it to someone that at least knows or went to the race since they are rare now.

what I can remember was it was 86 or 87,but anyway the MUD,it really doesn`t want to come out... ever

I tried it on a kx125,tried is the word...


I`ll have to dig around but I think I still have a blackwater pin somewhere.

Edited by OkieTwister

My dad raced in 1986, was fourth overall after the first lap but his good ol IT200 had an electrical problem from all the water.

11yr old thread brought back from the dead! WOW.....

I remember reading about Blackwater years ago. A couple years ago there was a race on satellite TV about a 24 hour race, where I don’t remember. There were classes in the race. Four man teams, two man, and singles. Imagine racing an off road track sort of hare scramble style, as a single. One person, racing 24 hours, most laps completed is the winner. That would be tough as a four man team, near impossible as one man.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now