The World Off-Road Championship Series was started by a man with a vision to build a thriving, successful West Coast racing series. That man was none other than Dave Hamel, a dedicated racer and brother of the late great motorcycle desert racer Danny Hamel. Originally billed as having the collection of the fastest off-road racers on the planet, it was also a motorcycle-only show. Two years later, the ever-expanding ATV racing numbers had Hamel considering the addition of four-wheelers to the program. Although ATV attendance was low at first, it soon flourished into a separate ATV schedule on different weekends than the motorcycles.
For those unfamiliar with the late Danny Hamel (1972-'95), he was one of the greatest desert racers of all time, right up there with the likes of Johnny Campbell, Ty Davis, Larry Roeseler and their ATV counterpart Dean Sundahl. Danny had a passion for off-road racing and winning. His numerous wins included three consecutive Baja 1000 victories, with two of them overall wins-beating the trophy trucks, buggies and ATVs. Danny also was one of the top AMA District 37 riders with 17 overall wins. His life was cut short tragically in 1995 when a motorist mistakenly entered the Baja racecourse and collided with Danny head on. He was transported to a hospital in Ensenada, Mexico, but would not survive. Danny was pronounced dead after suffering from chest injuries. Danny Hamel was a championship off-road racer and will always be remembered as one.
History of the WORCS, Part 1
Later that year, his brother Dave created the Danny Hamel Memorial Fund to support up-and-coming racers committed to being a positive role model through off-road racing-like Danny did during his short racing career. By the end of the '98 racing season, it looked as though the DHM Fund would mirror its namesake's brief existence. The income was exhausted, and with fewer donations coming in, the creation appeared doomed and unable to help young racers transition from privateer to factory-level racer.
So Dave and Julie Hamel rearranged the business, and it emerged in '99 as the Danny Hamel Memorial Fund Race Program. The business would support Team DH via designing and selling a reliable product line of motorcycle accessories and a small line of apparel, along with conducting off-road riding schools. Team DH consisted of eight kids ranging from 10-20 years old.