This Triumph TR6 belonged to acclaimed desert racer, Bob Rickard. Discovered in a shed on Rickard's family property, stripped of its quick-detachable headlamp, it had been last registered in 1959 just prior to Rickard's stint as a Honda factory rider culminating in a win at the 1961 Daytona Scrambles. The subject of a meticulous, year long photo-documented restoration by Jonnie Green at Ton Up Classics, the bike was unveiled by ourselves at the prestigious 2011 Quail Motorcycle Gathering, where it took 1st Place in the European Through 1978 class.
About the TR6
The scrambler is a British motorcycle shaped by an American phenomenon. From the 1951 Catalina Grand Prix to the Pasadena Motorcycle Club's Greenhorn Enduro, four-stroke singles from AJS, Matchless and BSA ruled the California deserts. Courses were mostly flat, with plenty of long, straight high-speed stretches, but after hundreds of riders carved up the desert, it was tough to maneuver without crashing or getting stuck. Running out front required a balance of speed, handling and horsepower, and 500cc singles delivered just that.
Then came Bud Ekins and the 650cc Triumph TR6. As the fastest rider in the deserts of Southern California at the time, Ekins took an immediate liking to the 40-cubic-inch twin's potent combination of horsepower, handling and reliability. TR6-mounted Ekins, Bill Postel and Roger White won three consecutive Big Bear Runs from 1956 to 1958.
However, it was Ekins' fourth-straight win for Triumph in 1959 that was most noteworthy. Pulling ahead of 852 other riders, Ekins grabbed an early lead on the first of the two 50-mile loops. He then lost nine minutes and the race lead replacing a dented front rim and flat tire. No problem, Ekins and his legendary TR6 ended the 153-mile race 22 minutes ahead of second place Jim Johnson, in a race where only 200 riders completed the course.
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