During the 1800s, clubs formed in Britain to hold footraces they called “hare and hound runs.” Several members were picked to be the hares and given a sack of shredded paper to drop as “scent” and a 10 minute head start. They would run off and throw the paper from time to time leaving a trail.
Every so often, they would stop dropping the paper and head off in a new direction, simulating the trail of a rabbit. The hounds would follow, looking for the paper trail. When they would notice that the trail had stopped, they would spread out in all directions looking for the new trail. They would usually end the day at a pub or restaurant. And, by the way, this is also the origin of the term “paper chase.”
A hundred years later in Britain, the concept spread to motorcycle racing, and in these hare and hound races, course ribbons or arrows took the place of the dropped paper. As in the paper chases, the riders didn’t really know where the course would lead until they got there.
This spread to America, where hare and hounds were primarily desert races. Cross this kind of racing with American Scrambles, which were derived from the flat-track races but on rougher ground, and you got a track longer than those used in Scrambles but shorter than most Hare and Hounds. Thus, Hare Scrambles.