Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cobra Engineering Builds Retro AMA Flat Track Bubba Shobert Honda RS750

One of the winningest racers in the history of AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series Racing sits on display at the Barber Museum in beautiful downtown Leeds, AL. in April of 2007. Bubba Shobert, the '85-'87 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion & the '88 AMA Superbike Champion, piloted one of these Honda RS750 production/prototype flat track racers to numerous wins (and titles) in what was considered the greatest assault on AMA Flat Track Series Racing that has ever been undertaken.

The RS750 also won championships with Ricky Graham in '84 (Honda's first championship in GNC competition) and again in '93 with Ricky G doing the riding and Johnny Goad doing the tuning on a privateer effort that not only caught the Harley-Davidson Factory Team off guard, but the rest of the flat track community as well.

With Harley-Davidson and their legendary XR750 having all but totally
dominated the big tracks in The Rolling Thunder Show since the mid 70s, Honda was loved and reviled at the same time for their usual method of assault on racing-come in big, spend tons of dough, win it all, and pack up and go home. Nonetheless, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world still made what was considered a most preeminent statement against what was-and has been since-the most dominant and commonly preferred machine of use in AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series Racing.

And to this day, no other has dared to set foot in the arena of American flat track racing to take on the long-standing Milwaukee breed. With Kawasaki taking and making a great step in winning at Indy and Springfield this year, and with the horizon of the '750'-only platform for 2012 and beyond just ahead, could we possibly be seeing history being re-written some 30 years later? Only time will tell, but one thing is known. Anyone that knows or has known AMA Flat Track over the years will tell you this........what Honda did was change the course of history in flat track racing (and they did it with a big WOW!), albeit only for a short chapter in the long story of American flat track racing.

As an update to this post, I was informed that this bike was raced by Dave Lloyd, of Lloyd Brothers Racing fame. So this bike has quite a pedigree to go along with it. VERY cool, and thanks Dave!
While checking out the usual suspects today, I came acrossed this great retro racer put together by Cobra Engineering, a motorcycle parts and accessories manufacturer out of California. Their Special Projects Division built a Bubba Shobert Honda RS750 replica that is a very neat spin on the great Honda flat track racers that Shobert and Ricky Graham won numerous races and championships with in the '80s and again with Graham in '93.

The company, which specializes in aftermarket exhausts for the cruiser industry decided to build a replica out of Honda's new Shadow RS750 that just recently became available in the U.S. for the cruiser market. In the process, they put together what this writer thinks is one of the neatest builds honoring AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series Racing ever seen.

Check out the links below to see and hear what and how Cobra put this project together, and take a step back into memory lane!
Cobra Engineering, out of Yorba Linda, CA., is an aftermarket accessories manufacturer that got into the 'metrics' cruiser business back in the early '90s. Their Special Projects Division details the build of this very unique race winning retro mod here:

The great guys at Sideburn Magazine across the pond had these cool shots and some background on the origins of this very cool retro racer:
Ken Boyko, VP of Cobra USA's Special Projects Division, talks here about the evolution of building the 'Bubba' replica, as well as another cool replica that was built out of the new Honda Shadow RS750. That model is a retro look at the mid-60s Honda CL77 305 SuperHawk, one of the best selling bikes in Honda's lineup in those days. Having owned a '67 CL77 (thanks to my dearly departed Dad) this one holds even more special meaning to this old head!

Read and view on here:
Chris 'CJ' Jonnum, the editor for Road Racer X print and online mag, attended the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show and posted these shots yesterday of the offerings this year. One of the display bikes was the 'Bubba' replica from Cobra USA, CJ has a shot of it below.

NOTE: According to Cobra's website, this bike is also slated to appear at the other IMS shows including Chicago, Cleveland and New York. If you want to see it in person, make your plans now!
Here's another one of the original bikes that is enshrined at the AMA Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, OH.:
Ed Youngblood's great has this great article penned by the one and only Dave Despain that tells the REAL story about how Honda came into the great sport of AMA Flat Track and flat out stole the show-for awhile:


  1. Mike, Love your Blog! How cool that you still keep up with it after all these years! Keep up the good work! Merry Christmas! Les Lollar

  2. Thanks so much Les! Always good to hear from an old friend as well as a friend of high-speed motorcycle racing. I appreciate the comp and thanks for coming by to check us out. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!


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