It was 50 years ago that a Honda motorcycle first took on the challenge of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula—a fitting send-off for the JCR Honda racing team as it prepares to extend Honda’s unmatched record of success in this year’s Baja 1000.
In 1962, Dave Ekins and Bill Robertson set off from Tijuana, Mexico and established a record-time run to La Paz on the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Their epic run aboard two Honda CL72 Scramblers was aimed at demonstrating the tough character of these new production bikes. That run set the stage for what would become one of the most famous long-distance off-road races in the world, the Baja 1000.
Over the years, Honda motorcycles have won the Baja 1000 a record 22 times. Honda’s current win streak extends back 15 years, and this year the JCR Honda team of Johnny Campbell, Colton Udall, David Kamo and Timmy Weigand will attempt to make it 16 years in a row.
Many racers in a wide variety of classes have chosen to ride Honda motorcycles and ATVs in this year’s Baja 1000, but one of the most attention-grabbing entries this year has to be the 2x Honda CRF450X piloted by Chris Ridgway, Jim Wazny and Mario Panagiotopoulos from the HERO Racing Team. HERO is an acronym for “Helping Everyone Reach Out”—a charitable endeavor aimed at assisting amputees. And yes, all three riders are left-leg amputees, riding with prosthetic legs. The team will be riding in the Open Pro Class 22, and by luck of the draw their number was chosen to lead off all motorcycle racers when the race kicks off on November 14.
All this and more promises to make this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 a memorable race indeed.