It began modestly seven years ago with 50 entries and purse of $1500.


This year the Brush Run 101, now known official as the “World’s Championship Off-Road Race”, drew 369 entries competing for a purse of $12,475 plus hundreds of dollars in contingencies.


Mud dominated the picture in Brush Run 77’, glazing drivers and machines alike as they wound along the tortuous course and sloshed through the rain-swollen waterholes. And as in previous years, the grueling run took its toll. One estimate was that only about one fifth of the starters completed the required laps. All the winners in the cycle classes went the distance, five laps or 100 miles, but in some other classes Sunday, the number of laps was shortened.


Estimates of crowd size ranged upwards to 35,000 for the two day Labor Day weekend event here. Crowds jammed the major viewing areas, and during the height of the race activity traffic seeking to enter the Carter’s field area was backed up for miles along Highway 8 and Corning road.


Ray Ritchie of Buchannan, Mich., finished first in Class II cycles to take top money for all classes. His time was 3:20:13 for five laps and he collected $1055. Winners in that class shared a purse of $2100.


Among the four-wheeled vehicle classes, top prize money went to a local driver, Jack Flannery, in the American Stock Class, Flannery drove a Ford pickup over the course, taking three laps in 2:55:08, and collecting $931.25. Crandon drivers dominated the American Stock class, with Joe Houle taking second, Leon Eaves third, and Bob Conn fifth, to finish in the money.


Guy Biggs from San Diego, Calif., was the competitor who traveled the greatest distance to enter this year’s Brush Run. Other entries came from all over Wisconsin and neighboring states of Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan.


In addition to the purse, contingencies were received from the following: Ison Auto, Dayco, Hodaka, Bultaco, Champion, AP Exhaust, Phils Inc., DynaMotive, Amsoil, Sportsman Bar and Guy Briggs.


The sponsoring organization, Wolfhead Sportsmen Club, called this year’s race a “huge success due to the cooperation of many clubs, organizations, police department and the sheriff’s office.”


The added that they are already looking ahead to next year, planning new routes an extensive repair on old loops, the Sunday night trophy part, which was sponsored by Anheuser-Busch and Oneida Liquor, was well attended by the racers and pit crews and plans are to continue this in the future.