FARMINGTON — The 800 acres of dunes along Old Bisti Highway will reverberate with the collective growl of more than a hundred motorcycle engines this weekend.

Held mere minutes south of Farmington, riders of all age groups will compete for off-road glory in the eighth annual Wannabe Racing Hare Scramble motocross race. The area, on Bureau of Land Management property, will be closed except to racers and spectators from 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 7, for the event.

A kind of motorcycle racing involving multiple laps on a marked course through woods or other rugged natural terrain, a hare scramble offers the racer mile after mile of unpredictable conditions, twists and turns. The rider who maintains the highest speed throughout the race wins.

The Farmington dunes track is a 10-mile loop, framed to the east and south by steep sandstone bluffs, replete with hard-packed trails, sand washes and plenty of rocks and scrub.

"The Webe Racing group who put on the event pay a certain rate for use of the land," said BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Janelle Alleman. "Each year they participate in a pre- and post-event clean-up of the area."

Brett Craig, who organizes the hare scramble, sees off-road racing as the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, a love of his since he began riding as a boy.

"True off-road racing is a major endeavor to keep going. We're not in it for the money," Craig said. "I just absolutely love it and hope to see it continue.



Part of that love is embodied in his five-year-old daughter, Jayden, who he began training for hare scrambles at the tender age of two.

"She just loves it and wants to do whatever her daddy was doing, so it was a natural progression," he said. "She entered her first race last year in what I call the bobble-head' class, riders who are age 4 to 6."

Jayden started on a strider bike, which doesn't have pedals, and began following her dad around the backyard track of their Durango home.

She never once used training wheels.

"It's a family affair," Craig said. "Lots of families come out for the races and the bobble heads are all I care about. Forget the pros. The kids make it special."

Every child who competes will earn a trophy, unlike the older riders, Craig said.

"The incredible experience of racing on unpredictable terrain, no matter what kind of weather, makes the hare scramble a super rush," he said. "Every time you turn a corner, you never know what's going to be in your path."

More information:

What: Wannabe Racing Hare Scramble motocross race

When: All day, Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7

Where: Dunes Vehicle Recreation Area, south of Farmington on N.M. Highway 371 (The Old Bisti Highway). Head south on Murray Drive until you get to the Shell gas station. Head south on Highway 371 for 1.3 miles and look for the race arrows on the west side.

Cost: $5 gate fee for the weekend per person (10 and under are free)

More info: Go online to or call the BLM at 505-564-7676.

James Fenton can be reached at; 505-564-4621. Follow him on Twitter