Bud Ekins American Legend

 

16th October, 2007

To the family & friends of the Late Bud Ekins from a friend Tim Gibbes.

You probably do not remember or know me, but I used to be one of Buds friends, especially when he was racing in the So Cal desert & when he rode in the International Six Days Trials in Europe.

I am an Australian, now living in New Zealand with my wife Joan. I raced motocross & enduro in Europe for a few years & about 1959 to 61 travelled to USA twice to escape the European winters to just race motorcycles, whatever was going.

I met Bud possibly at a Six Days in Europe or when I first visited USA in 1959.

Iam enclosing some photos. #1 is typical of Bud & his workshop, possibly taken during a later visit maybe late 80s or early 90s. There were about 50 very wild cats that used to gather at the workshop door for food each day, which he befriended, plus of course all his motorcycles & immense knowledge of older cars & motorcycles inside.

 

He was very good to me & we went training desert racing out there quite a bit, plus I visited Bud & Bettys home in N. Hollywood quite often, even in later years when I was passing through LA on my way to or from Europe. Both Bud & Betty were very hospitable despite my being a loner travelling the world just loving to race off road motorcycles.

 

An exclamation I remember very well from Bud was once when we were training in the desert. We would be going for miles, frequently along a sandwash or dried up creek bed. After about 20 or 30 miles of side by side flat out stuff, both wrestling with the writhing & tossing of the big ill handling English 650s Bud pulled up & said "Yer know Gibbes man. This riding is better than F**??ing!"

It was just so much fun!

The 2 other photos were taken at the ISDT 1963 in Czechoslovakia. That year Bud & I were riding on the same minute & as usual we enjoyed each others competitive riding. Buds bike #240 Triumph Bonneville and mine #237 an AJS 600. On the back of the original photo is >>

 

Photo # 2 : The legendary American, Bud Ekins, from North Hollywood, California. Known as the Desert Fox, in his heyday won most hare scrambles and hare & hounds in USA. For many years Bud travelled to the ISDT, to ride a Triumph Bonneville supplied by the Triumph factory for his annual foray. Usually the bikes supplied by the factory were almost standard road bikes, which Bud would wrestle around the ISDT to the admiration of everyone who knew him. Bud was tough & the enormous blisters on his hands & backside as the 6 days wore on, were just a part of his resistance to pain, dedication & strong character.

 

Tim Gibbes frequently used to pick him up from a European airport, take him to the ISDT somewhere in Europe, often ride on the same minute during the ISDT as Bud.

For a couple of years Tim would leave the European winter to race in the Californian desert races, as well as stay with the Ekins family.

 

Photo #3 Bud is flanked by friends Australian Tim Gibbes left of pic & Stan Cerney right of pic. Stan was an extremely devoted & friendly Czechoslovakian who worked for Motokov, the marketing arm of Jawa & CZ motorcycles at that time.

 

Tim Gibbes, Bud Ekins & Stan Cerney of Motokov - 1963

 

After this ISDT there was the usual celebration evening. Bud & I went along & the locals filled him up with the local brew, as well as them selves. I was a non-drinker so Bud was very happy to relieve me of my drinks when no one was looking. As the evening wore on everyone was dancing & larking about. Bud exclaimed to someone who must have understood a little English, but did not understand American slang - "You son of a bitch" Meaning of course in the American slang of the day, you are a great mate. But the room went quiet as the American slang was translated into local lingo.

So a local asked him to repeat it. Bud could see & feel a little heat from more than just curiosity about him, so quickly thought up an alternative to ease the feelings. "Na Bu d said, I said Sunny Beach you have just misunderstood me. We get lots of Sunny Beaches in California & that is where friends meet." So the evening went on with even more frolicking!

 

Another great memory I have of Bud was one day Edward Turner, the chief designer & a director of Triumph Motorcycles in England at the time, visited Buds workshop in the Hollywood area. Bud was a Triumph dealer & of course sold a lot of Triumphs, & ensured Triumphs appeared in various Hollywood films, earning great respect from the limeys (English).

Bud heard Edward was coming for a visit, so took the gas tank off his new model Bonneville that he was preparing for the Big Bear desert race.

Edward, dressed in the traditional English suit & tie, walked in & received the usual casual greeting.

Bud was preparing the bike, so Edward was priding himself with the new model Bonneville he had designed, changing the steering angle, castor & frame to his own bright ideasĀ.

Buds timing was as usual perfect. As Edward walked towards Bud & the new bike. Bud had hacksawed through the top frame tube, removing about an inch of length, then was welding it up again. Edwards eyes popped out & asked the reason. "To make the god dam thing steer, Edward, & I am going to strengthen up that stupid frame around the swinging arm area so it does not ride like a snake."

Edward got the message!

Buds casual, friendly way won him many friends worldwide.

With his passing we have lost a legend, a great friend & someone who I admired very much.

Our condolences to Buds family & friends,

Joan & Tim Gibbes

 

Bud Ekins Bike 3 left & Les Archer bike A1 right, on their MX bikes after an International MX near Paris. Bud used to stay with well known French MXer Jacques Charrier in Paris while he was riding there in the early 50's

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Highlight Box

 Bud was known as the "Desert Fox" because of his successes in Californian desert races & knowledge of how to "read the desert" at high speeds. But there was more to Bud than that.

He is in the American Motorcycle Association (AMA)  "Hall of Fame" recognising his ability & contributions to motorcycling.