AMA Hall of Famer and Baja 1000 record holder Ron Bishop passes away in Southern California. He was 71.
AMA Hall of Famer and Baja racing legend Ron Bishop passed away at his home in Escondido, California, September 20. He was 71.
Bishop gained notoriety for contesting the Baja 1000 every year from its inception in 1967 through 2007, a record that may never be broken. He also had numerous starts in the Baja 500, Tecate 500 Enduros, and the International Six Day Trials (now known as the ISDE).
Born in Woodland, Washington, in 1943, Bishop came to Southern California with his family at the age of 10. The family settled in Escondido, and Bishop became absorbed into the off-road motorcycle racing scene, and he entered his first race in 1960.
“I’d race a TT every Friday night at Cajon Speedway in El Cajon,” Bishop said during an interview for his AMA Hall of Fame induction in 2001. “Then I’d put knobbies on the bike and go scrambles racing that weekend.”
Bishop made the switch to off-road racing because he found the wait between races at the TT and scrambles events to be boring. Enduros, hare scrambles and long-distance desert races became his passion, and he went on to ride and be successful in most of the major off-road races of his era, including the Greenhorn Enduro, Barstow to Vegas, the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. He became one of the top off-road racers in the West, ultimately earning a factory ride with Kawasaki. He won numerous class titles in many of the major off-road motorcycle races of the 1960s through the early 2000s, including the Baja 1000, Baja 500, Tecate 500, Mint 400 and Mexicale 300.
At the time of his passing, Bishop was still a motorcycle dealer in Escondido, where he prepared race bikes for his customers.