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Bob Hurricane Hannah

Bob Hurricane Hannah was born on September 26, 1956, in Lancaster, California. His father was a motocross rider, and often took Bob along for rides as a child. When he was seven years old, his father got him his first bike. Many hours of Hannah’s childhood were spent riding in the desert of California, but he never raced. His father didn’t want him to race, for fear of his son getting hurt.

Once Hannah was 18-years-old and living out on his own, he entered his first race. Hannah won this first amateur race, and that would be the only race he would ever race as an amateur. He raced so much better than the other racers that the racing officials told him he would have to race further races in the expert class.

Bob Hurricane Hannah1975 was Hannah’s first complete year as an “expert” racer. He raced in two AMA Nationals events, with his best finish in sixth place. Considering he had only been racing for about a year, this was an exceptional feat. The next year, Yamaha decided to give Hannah a chance, even though he wasn’t really known but in the Southern California circuit. The then 19-year-old Hannah was signed up to race the 125cc Motocross Nationals. He won five of the eight races that season, leading to his first Championship.

Hannah rode a Yamaha 250 in the 1977 AMA Supercross Series. Even though this was his first year on a 250cc race bike, and Supercross instead of Motocross, he still dominated the series, winning six of the ten races, and his first AMA Supercross Championship. He won the Championship again in 1978 and 1979. Because of his stunning professional debut, journalists said that he came in like a hurricane, and that is why he is referred to as Bob “Hurricane” Hannah.

1978 not only brought Hannah a Supercross Championship, but also a Trans-AMA MX Championship, and an outdoor MX Nationals Championship on a Yamaha 250. He won eight consecutive races that series, setting a new record. He won six races of the 1979 Supercross Series, as well, clinching yet another Championship. A devastating water skiing accident toward the end of 1979 would cause these AMA Championships to be his last. His right leg was broken in twelve places, and he had no choice but to sit out the 1980 Supercross and 250 Outdoor Nationals Series.

Hannah continued to race in the 1980s, but he no longer had what it took to win championships. He finished second in the 1981 250 Outdoor Nationals, and third in the 1982 250 Outdoor Nationals. He completed his last full-time season in 1987, and retired in 1989.

Throughout Bob “Hurricane” Hannah’s fifteen-year career, he won seventy AMA nationals, which was the record until it was broken in 1999 by Jeremy McGrath. Hannah became an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee in 1999, and a Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee in 2000.

4 Responses to “Bob Hurricane Hannah”

  • Jason says:

    My MX career spanned from age 11 -16. Bob was one of my biggest influences. I am now 37. My best result was #4 at a state level but sadly despite huge ambitions we couldn’t afford to continue. Now I have 2 boys, Seth 6 (after enslow) and Chad 2 (after Reed). I used to own several videos with Bob racing including a film clip with U2 out of control. That pumped me to many wins.
    Regards
    Jason Qld Australia

    • Avatar of Admin Admin says:

      @Brad May
      Brad, thank you for your comments, however we aren’t affiliated with Bob Hannah. Here at VintageMX.net we like to blog and discuss our favorite motocross heroes and bikes. Sounds like Bob was one of yours too!

  • Dan O says:

    The ’70s were my era of motocross – the golden era of motocross for sure.

    I remember watching Hannah and Howerton battle it out at Unadilla during that time. It was ’79 (’80?) or so. Hannah flying out of the Gravity Cavity with impressive air.

    Very cool era and great memories.

  • Brad May says:

    That year at Unadilla where you went down after you got the hole shot. You got up with I think the clutch cable and brake cable hanging. I believe you came in third? It was the best ride I have ever seen. In Brad Lackey’s book, the picture of you riding with the American flag, I’m in the background. You took the second moto. What a day!!!

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