MXA PRODUCT TEST: MASSACRE AT SADDLEBACK DVD: Why The Names Hannah and Howerton Are Bound Together Forever


WHAT IS IT? A play-by-play of the 1981 AMA 250 National at Saddleback Park (the one where Hannah cleaned out Howerton on the Magoo double jump).ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ

WHAT’S IT COST? $24.95.


WHAT’S IT DO? If you are any kind of motocross fan, you’ve heard of “Hannah versus Howerton.” Even though the famous feud between the two National champions happened 28 years ago, it is still fresh in the minds of hundreds of thousands of motocross fans. Everyone who is anyone in motocross claims to have been there that day (even 27-year-olds). But the attendance at Saddleback Park on April 5, 1981, was 14,000 people, so only that many people could have ever seen the famous event as it happened.

Except that now, thanks to 50 minutes of forgotten footage from that day, every fan can see what transpired on the rock-hard adobe of Saddleback. And, to make it better, Bob Hannah pulls up a seat on your couch and talks you through every minute of the race that became known as “The Saddleback Massacre.”

MXA has a close connection to the 1981 Saddleback race. Not only were we there, but Jody is the one who wrote the “Massacre at Saddleback” story that the movie is named after.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the “Massacre At Saddleback” DVD.

(1) How to watch it. “Massacre At Saddleback” comes in two major parts: The 50 minutes of home movie coverage and “The Motocross Files” historical documentary. We advise you to watch “The Motocross Files” segment first. It is a concise, accurate and well-made explanation of everything that took place that day. It is kind of like the Cliffs Notes for the home movie section. Then, after watching “The Motocross Files” segment, cue up the 50-minute home movie section. Watching it in this order enhances the story line.

(2) Footage. The home movie footage of the 1981 Saddleback National is of home movie quality. That means it is not high quality. Luckily, the guy with the camera had a great spot where he could film not only the Magoo double jump, but Suicide Mountain, the finish line and Webco Hill without moving. While the film quality isn’t great, the footage is of such historical significance that beggars can’t be choosers. Without this home movie footage, there would be no way that anyone, short of the 14,000 in attendance, could see the famous take-out.ÿÿÿÿÿ

(3) Audience. The audience for this film is Bob Hannah fans, guys over the age of 40 and aficionados of motocross history. It is a historical document and has nothing that would appeal to a modern teenage motocrosser.

(4) Best moments. Obviously, the best moment is when Hannah jumps the Magoo double jump and plows Howerton from behind. Then, when Howerton doesn’t fall, Hannah sweeps him off his bike on the way down the hill.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? This movie would have been so much better with some point/counterpoint commentary from Kent Howerton.

For a Hannah fan, the 14,000 who were there or the 100,000 who claim they were there, this is a five-star movie, but without the other side of the story, it’s a flawed attempt to retell history.

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