Baja Racing News.com was at the Bud Ekins Celebration at Warner Bros. Studios in Hollywood on Sunday, December 2. The amazing event celebrated the incredible life of off-road and motorcycle legend, Bud Ekins.
Although everyone knew that the Memorial Service for the late, great Bud Ekins was going to be special, it turned out to be much better than that. Held through the good auspices of Warner Brothers at their Burbank Studios, some 400 to 500 people were expected. In the event the large cinema that was supposed to show a short film of his life had to be emptied and refilled so everyone could see it on a second running.
Over a thousand friends, fellow racers, admirers, and all of his family enjoyed a perfect blue sky afternoon. One of the Warner bros. Main Street, USA sets was so bulged with motorcyles, they went around another 2 blocks. Hundreds of them. Modern American machines, of course, but also some delicious antique stuff that were Bud’s favourites.
Triumphs (he was their most successful dealer in California) all over the place, Matchless, Vincent, Velocette, BSA, Norton, in abundance. Flying Merkel, Henderson, Excelsior, and even a 1915 Harley-Davidson with a chair to represent the very first antique machine that Bud ever bought. This was a man who had won Gold Medals representing the USA in the ISDT. A man who won the exhausting Big Bear marathon 3 times. Not to mention dozens of other races including the Catalina GP. A man who was the father of Motorcross in the USA. A man who became one of Hollywood’s most able stunt men. Whether he was leaping barbed wire in The Great Escape or drifting and yumping a Mustang around San Francisco in Bullit, Bud just turned in a professional performance to help his directors do a better job.
The good and the great were out in force for Bud’s goodbye too. Neile Adams, Steve McQueen’s first wife, gave an emotional address as did Bud’s daughter’s Susie and Donna. His like will never be seen again. He was a very tough man. And so were some of the others present. We’d better all enjoy them whilst they’re still here.
Year Inducted: 1980
Bud Ekins is a pioneer of of-road motorcycling. He has raced from the deserts of California and Baja to the muddy motocross tracks of Europe. He used his expertise he developed through racing to become a great Hollywood stuntman. While considered a motorcycle specialist he also raced four wheeled off road vehicles with great skill and enjoyment.
Bud Ekins Memorial December 2nd, 2007 Warner Brothers Studios
Ekins Won 4 Gold Medals and a Silver at the International Six Day Trials during the 1960s.
He rode a 650cc Triumph TR6 Trophy as did Steve McQueen in the USA International Six Day Trials team for 1964 held in East Germany. The team also including his brother Dave Ekins who rode a 500cc Triumph T100 Tiger.
He received a gold medal at the 1962 International Six Days Trials, and was part of the US ISDT team of 1964 with John Steen, Cliff Coleman, Dave Ekins, and Steve McQueen. In 1965, McQueen was replaced by Ed Kretz, Jr.
Other race success includes winning the Big Bear Endurance Run three times, the Catalina Grand Prix, and winning the Southern California's District Number One Plate seven times.
In 1962, Ekins, aboard a Honda Scrambler, was the first known person to ride the entire Baja Peninsula on motorcycle. Ekins took 39 hours and 56 minutes to race from Tjuana to La Paz. This ride caused a minor sensation among Southwestern off-road enthusiasts and this epic ride provided the inspiration for the founding of Baja 1000 Rally.
In addition to motorcycle racing, Ekins was active in Off-Road truck racing. He participated in most of the early off-road racing events including the Mint 400 and Stardust 7-11 in Las Vegas. He notably raced Vic Hickey's prototype "Baja Bug" in the first Baja 500 in 1973.""