Bubba Shobert | Honda RS750

Motorcycle History

By the start of the 1980s, Honda motorcycles were as ubiquitous across America’s landscape as acid-wash jeans and pick-up trucks. The Japanese manufacturer was enjoying prodigious growth and popularity due, in no small part, to its garnering of multiple championship titles in a variety of racing disciplines.

However, one form of competition Honda had yet to conquer was the vaunted, wholly American world of flat-track. Since the Grand National Championship started in 1954, Harley-Davidson had enjoyed a near-stranglehold on the half-mile and mile dirt track ovals.

In 1984, after several seasons of development, Honda mounted a full factory effort with sights set firmly on usurping Harley-Davidson’s coveted spot atop the podium. When Honda rolled out its RS750, the machine ironically paid homage to the American icon it was out to dethrone, as it was powered by an air-cooled, V-twin, 749cc motor that borrowed the exact bore and stroke of Harley’s seemingly unstoppable XR750.

Honda achieved the daunting task of winning the Grand National Championship in 1984 with rider Ricky Graham. Bubba Shobert (riding the machine pictured here) assuaged any notions of Honda’s win being a fluke by taking the title the next three years in succession, making it a four-year sweep for Honda.

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