The Original Baja Buster, Revisited

BIKE: 1964 Honda CL72 Scrambler
ENGINE: 247cc OHC twin-cylinder, 4 speed
SPEED: 80mph
WEIGHT: 315lbs
FUEL CAPACITY: 2.75gal (plus 1gal in tank bag)
RANGE: 80 miles (110miles)

In 1962, American Honda sponsored a tough début for their new CL72 Scrambler: a timed run down the 900-mile length of Baja California. Racing veterans Dave Ekins and Bill Robinson Jr began in Tijuana at midnight, riding the desolate and seldom-traveled desert trails by headlamp. John McLaughlin flew a support plane carrying Cycle World’s Joe Parkhurst and Bill Robinson Sr, leaving food and fuel at pre-mapped locations. The riders crashed a lot, got lost at night, and Bill Jr holed a piston, but they both finished, and Dave clocked in at La Paz after 39hours and 56minutes. Cycle World’s coverage of the ride inspired a spree of Baja record breaking on two and four wheels, which led to the formation of the Baja 1000 race.