SCMA Three Flags Classic® History

Three Flags Classic

Three Flags Classic

In the early 1900’s when cars and motorcycles were exciting new ways to travel, motorcycle riders would start somewhere at the Mexican border and ride all the way to Canada, just to see if it could be done. These rides were referred to as “border to border” runs.

In 1974, after reading about the border to border runs in a 1914 newspaper that was published by the American Motorcyclist Association, Josef (Joe) Usatin of the Southern California Motorcycle Association (SCMA) thought it would be a great idea to rekindle the old spirit of border to border runs. Joe decided to name this new ride; The Three Flags Classic. The ride was to start in Mexico near the US border and end up somewhere in Canada. Labor Day weekend was selected for the annual date of this long distance motorcycle event.

In the early years the British Columbia Road Riders (BCRR) were partners with SCMA.  They managed and hosted the finish location in Canada.  Together with SCMA they provided a great ending to what has become a long-term tradition.  The ride has certainly earned the term “Classic” over the years.

As of 2018, there have been 43 Three Flags Classic tours that have started in places like Tijuana, Mexicali, Nogales, Cuidad Juarez, and Puerto Penasco, Mexico as well as Vancouver, Regina, and Abbotsford Canada. Over 25 rides have ended in Canada at cities such as; Kamloops, Penticton, Calgary, Harrison Hot Springs, Medicine Hat, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Kimberly and Whistler, B.C. Some of the rides have ended in Mexico at cities such as Ensenada and Tijuana. Three or four checkpoints are included to keep track of the riders that seem to spread out over several states during the course of the event.

Have you ever wondered about prior Three Flags Classics? We want to complete the record. We have most of the stats here. If you have first-hand knowledge and the paperwork to back it up, we want your help in accurately filling in the holes. Click HERE to see what we have collected so far. If you can add something please email your information to the


The Southern California Motorcycle Association has worked hard over the years with its affiliated clubs, volunteers and members to make the Three Flags Classic the premier motorcycle tour of the year.  The ride’s underlying spirit is that all riders are goodwill ambassadors from their respective countries and that by riding in this tour, they are doing their part to promote long distance motorcycling and greater public acceptance and understanding.

Also visit our Three Flags Facebook page.

Comments are closed.