Rider, pioneer, editor, manufacturer
In the mid-1950s, Ekins was a top scrambles and desert rider who trailblazed the transition to lighter, smaller-displacement bikes. He captured most of the sport’s biggest races, including class or overall wins at the Catalina Grand Prix, Big Bear Hare and Hound and 1967 Greenhorn 500-mile Enduro. In 1962, Ekins and Bill Robertson rode the nearly 1,000 miles from Tijuana to La Paz in under 40 hours, setting a record and laying the groundwork for the Baja 1000 five years later. In 1964, Ekins, older brother Bud, Cliff Coleman and Steve McQueen became the first American team to tackle the International Six Days Trial. Ekins took two golds and a bronze in five attempts. Later Ekins designed and sold off-road parts under his Sunline brand and became an editor of several magazines, including Dirt Rider, which he founded. The first rider sponsored by American Honda, he also helped Harley-Davidson and Bultaco develop off-road bikes. Ekins was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 2001 and Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2017.