Coinciding with the official reveal of the 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE and XC, the British manufacturer announced its return to desert racing with at next month’s Baja 1000 Rally. Stuntman and experienced off-road and desert racer Ernie Vigil will compete in the Baja 1000 on the new Scrambler 1200 XE.
Triumph played an important role in the early racing scrambler scene, with many riders in the ’60s modifying their bikes to race in the desert. Steve McQueen famously rode a Triumph TR6 in the 1964 International Six Days Enduro, alongside Cliff Coleman, along with Dave Ekins and McQueen’s stunt double for The Great Escape, Bud Ekins who both rode TR5s. Triumph says bikes like the Bonneville T120TT, Bonneville 120c, TR6c and SC were the “real” desert sleds that fueled the scrambler scene, which can be seen as a bit of a jab at Ducati‘s Scrambler Desert Sled.
The race bike is mostly stock, except for the addition of engine protection bars, an extended sump guard and race-specification lighting and minus the turn signal indicators and pillion pegs.
Vigil has never raced in the Baja 1000 but he is familiar with the course, having competed in the Mexican 1000 on a Triumph Tiger 800.
“I am so excited to get the chance to not only take on the Baja 1000, but also to be the first racer to take Triumph’s next generation Scrambler back to desert racing where it all began,” says Vigil.
The 2018 Baja 1000 runs Nov. 14-18.