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Triumph Delays Plans to Race New 1200cc Scrambler in Baja 1000

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Triumph Motorcycles had to make a difficult announcement today. After much fanfare about their return to the Baja 1000 desert race with the all-new Scrambler 1200 XE, they have decided to pull out of competition due to a rider injury. Triumph played an important role at the beginning of the scrambler scene in the 1960s, with the leading performance bikes of the day. Riders like Steve McQueen and Bud Ekins took to the desert on stripped down Triumph Scramblers competing in races like the Baja 1000. Unfortunately, their dreams of a new generation Triumph Scrambler returning to the historic race will have to be delayed.

Factory rider and stunt performer Ernie Vigil was slated to pilot the 1200cc Scrambler, but has unfortunately sustained a serious ankle injury. While awaiting delivery of his race bike to Southern California, Ernie was out training on his own 450cc dirt bike when he broke his left ankle in an off-road accident. Sadly, Ernie will not be fit enough to race in the Baja 1000 which begins next week on November 14th.

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Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE to be raced by Ernie Vigil. Ernie will be riding the bike with very few modifications.

As this is such a highly challenging competition, Ernie had been in full training for several months. Ernie was selected for his outstanding riding talent and the incredible commitment he has given to the project. As such, Triumph Motorcycles wants to honor his commitment and will re-schedule their entry in the Baja 1000 when he is able to compete.


Based on the recommendations from his medical team and the calendar of available desert race opportunities, Triumph has decided to enter in the equally challenging Mexican 1000, in April next year. With the Mexican 1000 being run on many of the same arduous sections and challenging conditions as the Baja 1000, exactly as those that made the Triumph Scrambler name famous in the 60’s, the Scrambler 1200XE will be put to the ultimate test.

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Ernie Vigil said; “While waiting for my Scrambler 1200 to clear customs at LAX, I went on a training ride with my 450 dirt bike for some last minute conditioning. Unfortunately I tucked the front wheel when pushing a hard turn. The bike flipped me over, landing on my ankle snapping the bone at both the tibia and fibula. I’m absolutely devastated for the team and the effort they’ve put in in getting the bike over and ready, and also for everyone who supported me in training for this race.”

Ernie expects to get back on the bike as soon as possible. “Fortunately, the break was clean and I had a very successful surgery. I’m going to return home to Albuquerque and expect to be laid up for around 4 weeks until I can start my rehabilitation, but I expect to make a full and quick recovery. I can’t wait to get back into training for the Mexican 1000 in April,” he says.

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Paul Stroud, Triumph’s Chief Commercial Officer said: “Whilst sad we are not going to see the Scrambler in action just yet, we are very glad Ernie is on the mend and are fully committed to seeing the new generation return to the place it all began with him at the controls. We wish him well in his recovery and look forward to the Mexican 1000.”

This unfortunate indicent may have halted Triumph’s plans for a return to the Baja 1000 for now, but we hope to see them prepped and ready to go for next year’s competition with Ernie leading the charge on the big Scramber 1200 XE. We wish Ernie a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing how he and the new Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE perform in the upcoming Mexican 1000.

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