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RICKMAN 500 TRIUMPH - 1969

The story of Derek and Don Rickman and the line of scramblers that they created is unique in the annals of motocross. The Rickmans were both world class competitors and innovative designers and developers of extraordinary machines. After riding less than competitive machinery for the Royal Enfield factory, the English brothers decided to develop a motocross hybrid of their own. Older brother, Derek, called the first machine a "Metisse", French for mongrel, and it was an apt description as the machine was a mixture of mechanical bloodlines; Triumph 500cc twin engine, BSA frame, gearbox, clutch and wheels, and Norton forks. Derek rode the bike to victory in its first competition in England in 1959. Later that year, Don led Great Britain to win the Motocross des Nations at Namur, Belgium on the Mark 1 Metisse.
After a second successful BSA-framed version, the brothers developed the Mark III Metisse, sporting a beautiful nickel-plated frame of their own design and construction. Engine oil was carried in the frame and additional weight savings were gained by utilizing snail-cam chain adjusters mounted at the swingarm pivot, reducing the unsprung weight, and extensively using fiberglass for the gas tank and other bodywork. The mongrel had become a potent weapon and a thing of beauty, as well.
So much interest was shown in the Mark III that the Rickman brothers began commercial production of chassis kits, capable of housing a number of different engines, in 1962. The quality and handling of the Rickman chassis, and it acceptance by world class competitors, was well demonstrated by the fact that 24 Metisses were on the line at the Motocross des Nations in 1964. In 1966, the Mark IV chassis was introduced, a refined version of the existing frame.
The Rickman that you see here is a Mark IV chassis powered by a 500cc Triumph twin. This is representative of a combination that carried the Rickman brothers and many of their customers to wins throughout the 1960s, before the lighter two strokes ran them off the tracks of Europe.

Images are property of The Early Years of Motocross Museum, ®2006