Bruce Ogilvie, 1952-2009 - Up To Speed

A Desert Master Passes

Baja couldn't beat him. Anyone who talked to Bruce Ogilvie for five minutes knew the desert never really had a chance. Starting with an overall win in the 1975 Baja 500--teamed with an 18-year-old Larry Roeseler on a hand-built Harley-Davidson SX250 two-stroke that few expected would even finish--Ogilvie added victories in every significant motorcycle race run between Mexicali and Cabo San Lucas. His racing resume includes back-to-back wins in the legendary Baja 1000 and even three ISDE medals. He was faster than most. And when it came to going fast in the desert, Bruce Ogilvie knew more than just about anybody else. But he was more than the only guy ever to punctuate four decades of Baja racing with 11 overall wins.

As the field general in charge of American Honda's desert racing efforts for more than 20 years, Ogilvie was a masterful tactician, commanding the small armies of people and matriel it takes to win the Baja 1000 a staggering 19 times. Focusing that singular skill set in various capacities at Honda, he came to be called "Mr. XR," earning the sort of authority only fools would question--and even then, never twice. Any who have ridden an off-road Honda built since '84 owe Ogilvie a debt of gratitude. All who were lucky enough to call him a friend feel the incalculable hole left by his passing on April 13. For two years, he fought a battle with a rare form of cancer with the same quiet toughness that marked every mile of his racing and every minute of his life.

Vaya con Dios, Bruce O. Baja won't be the same without you.