The Triumph Scrambler 1200 isn’t really supposed to be a race bike, but that didn’t stop Triumph from entering in the National Off-Road Racing Association Mexican 1000 Rally. Factory rider Ernie Vigil rode the Scrambler 1200 XE, finishing fifth out of 13 entrants in the Modern Open Class, which was mostly comprised of off-road dedicated 450 dirt bikes and a few Honda XR650Rs.
Vigil was originally supposed to race the Scrambler 1200 in the Baja 1000 last fall but had to withdraw after breaking his left ankle during training. Back to health, Vigil completed the five-day, 1,037-mile Mexican 1000 rally in a time of 25 hours and 37 minutes.
The Scrambler did have some advantages (having more than twice the displacement of most of its competition helps) but it’s still a mostly street-focused machine, and competed in nearly stock condition including the suspension. The only technical setback was a failed Bib Mousse suffered on Day 2 which caused a three-hour delay.
Triumph and Vigil still plan on competing in the Baja 1000 which takes place in November.
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RIDING THE NEW SCRAMBLER 1200 XE ERNIE VIGIL DELIVERS STUNNING RESULT AT THE NORRA MEXICAN 1000 RALLY
Triumph Factory rider Ernie Vigil piloting the all-new Scrambler 1200 XE finished an incredible 5th place at this year’s NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally.
Competing in the Modern Open Class, Vigil was up against a field of dirt bikes more traditionally associated with Baja desert racing.
The sole delay occurred on Day 2 when a front BIB Mousse spectacularly failed after crossing a long, rocky stage at high speed. Vigil was swiftly recovered by communicating to the Triumph chase crew via satellite phone, who were able to identify his exact location deep inside the rally course. After a three hour delay Vigil was back out on track using the power of the Scrambler 1200 to make up lost ground.
Wearing #278 in honor of Steve McQueen’s 1964 ISDT number and displaying a bespoke paint design using Triumph’s signature design the Scrambler 1200 XE was largely unmodified.
Ernie Vigil – Factory Triumph rider: “We made it! It was a super long week at the NORRA Mexican Rally. I couldn’t ask for a better result and on a stock bike, it was a super rad week ripping in the desert with a bunch of dirt bikes. We had zero issues, she ran like a dream. Two of the longest days were in some really technical, rocky sections, you really have to stay focussed and pick your lines without slowing down too much. But when we hit the open desert I could really let the bike eat, she was a rocket and took everything we threw at her. I’m very sad it’s all over, but I’m hoping we can get to the Baja 1000 later this year to run her in the Ironman Class. We not only proved the Scrambler 1200 XE could finish this rally, but be competitive.”
Ernie’s Scrambler 1200 XE was left in near-standard condition, with only the addition of an extended sump guard, softer bar grips, removal of ABS & TC functions and the fitment of a Metzeler MC 360 21” front tire and Metzeler Karoo 3 on the standard 17” rear wheel. Suspension settings we’re left as supplied on the standard showroom models.
This result demonstrates the capability of the Scrambler 1200 platform which represents a first for dual-purpose capability and modern custom style. This beautiful 1,200cc scrambler delivers a category-redefining level of performance, specification and finish, fused with Triumph’s iconic scrambler DNA and all the multi-surface capability of a genuine adventure motorcycle.
The NORRA Mexican 1000 is an incredible off-road racing event that covers 1,347 miles of Mexico’s rugged Baja peninsula, with riders tackling rocks, deep sand and the unforgiving desert landscape. If you want to compete in extreme endurance races on a motorcycle, the Mexican 1000 is one of the biggest.
The Mexican 1000 is run on the same hallowed Baja terrain that made the Triumph Scrambler name famous in the 1960s. Hence, this was a homecoming for the Triumph Scrambler, back to prove its capability to a new generation of riding enthusiasts.