37. The Mexican Baja 1,000 mile Enduro
The BAJA 1000 race had been a great preparation for an attempt at the Enduro 1000 mile record. Kim Kimball had followed the same route as the race, so during the race he set a new record on his Montesa, and he had shaved an hour off the record set a year before by Dave Ekin on his Honda.
Mike Jackson of AJS had sponsored Douglas and Whitey in the BAJA 1000 Race on a specially prepared AJS Stormer 250cc Enduro, but early in the race Whitey crashed and knocked himself unconscious on a rock, their race was over. As the bike remained undamaged it was decided to take the opportunity to show what the Stormer could do, by attempting to beat the solo record, this December instead, and Doug Douglas was uninjured and ready to go.
AJS Stormer 250cc BAJA Enduro / 1970
On this run there would be no NORRA fuel pits, check points or radio communication, so it was necessary to have an elaborate and well planned pitting operation. A light aircraft flown by Doug’s long time friend Larry Rose would provide the support required, along with preprepared storage dumps. The run began at a chilly 3am in Tijuana, where Doug sent a telegram to mark his time of departure. Doug found the morning run very cold and this slowed him down, his bulky cold weather clothing didn’t help.
After the first 225 mile section he shed his Belstaff riding pants, the gaunletted mittens and the leather jacket which he had been wearing under his Belstaff jacket, and continued. Next was 83 miles over the mountains, on the “Red Buff Road”, followed by the Chapuala Dry Lake bed, by the time he had finished these sections he had covered a straight 350 miles.
Doug Douglas behind Whitney Gregory / BAJA 1000 / AJS Stormer 370cc / 1970
He had been hitting speeds of upto 75mph on the dry rutted roads, we caught up with him at a nasty little airfield called Punta Prietta, with food and fresh supplies, Larry gave the bike a thorough check over…. There was absolutely nothing to do.
At the halfway point, El Arco, the motor was running a little rough so here Larry cleaned the points and I changed the plug. Doug had a cigarette and some milk, his standard rest fair, he was relaxed and bang on schedule, next was a long daylight stint across the desert.
Douglas enjoys a smoke while support pilot Larry Rose checks over the bike
Then into the night he rode, we couldn’t follow with the plane in the dark, so we flew on to the finish, through the gnawing chill of dawn he rode, accompanied only by the singing exhaust and his thoughts of the outcome. Then disaster, he got lost in the wilderness, he was beginning to suffer from the effects of fatigue. Everybody, including Doug himself, had felt that with good fortune and his extensive desert enduro experience, he might be able to shave up to an hour off the solo motorcycle record of 38 hours 54 minutes.
So when on that cold morning he finally rode into the seaport town of La Paz in an incredible display of combined determination, skill and machine performance, he was surprised himself, he had smashed a colossal 11 hours 39 minutes off the month-old record, reducing it to 27 hours 15 minutes.
At La Paz, Doug said, “It was a hard run for me and the Ajay, but it could have gone on a lot further”.
Again, he had proven that the AJS Stormer was the motorcycle with that get up and go, and will be perfect for Desert Racing or getting out with friends on the weekend, it’s a very exciting off-road machine. Before this, Malcolm Davis and Andy Roberton on Stormers were first and second in the 1970 British Motorcross 250cc Championship. So the machine has been perfected by constant top class competition, the Stormer is a winner in every sense of the word.
Modifications to the original AJS Stormer 250cc included Akront rims, Koni shocks, Lucas lights, Alloy tank and more padding to the seat, “What an Enduro”.