Born in, and lived in, Hollywood, California, Ekins began riding off-road motorcycles daily in the hills above his Hollywood home just after WW2 ended. He was too young for the military until years after WW2 was over, because he was born in May 1930
He was a young hooligan, not going to school after 8th grade, and getting 2 years in reform school for joy riding in a stolen car.
He started entering local off-road races in 1949, and within a couple years, was the top motocross racer in Southern California, winning the AMA District 37 championship seven times. He used a shovel blade as a engine skid plate. Crafty.
Matchless motorcycle factory sponsored him in the 1952 European Motocross Championship and he finished the season in ranked 15th in the world.
In 1955 Ekins won the Catalina Grand Prix, and in 1959 became the third three-time winner of the prestigious Big Bear Hare and Hound desert race, which at the time was the largest off-road event in the country, while at half way, he was in the lead, broke a rim, had his team fix it, and still made up the lost time and won the race 30 minutes ahead of the guy in 2nd place. For his 1959/3rd time win
He hired Von Dutch in the early 60's, and that's something I already covered in my Von Dutch posts. He also hired Evel Knievel:
‘I never saw Evel Knievel jump, but he worked for me,’ Bud recalled. ‘He was dead broke. I had him changing tyres. He was an egotist and that was before he got really famous. He jumped anything – Norton, Triumphs. He was a whore. He was kinda stupid to do it with a Harley, but Harley paid him for it.’
In a couple years, he opened a Triumph dealership, and the young Hollywood stars were dropping by... Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Warren Beatty
Ekins won four gold medals and a silver during his seven years of competing in the ISDT, the International Six Days Trial, a form of off-road motorcycle Olympics.
After the first Baja 1000, Both McQueen and Ekins recognized the potential and advanced design of the Baja Boots. Solar Plastics, Steve McQueen’s factory which produced accessories for dune buggies and motorcycles, eventually purchased both Boots from Vic Hickey.
He was the stunt coordinator for the tv show CHiPS, and did stunts in the Love Bug, Blues Brothers, and Animal House. He was a writer for Motorcycling Magazine.
Many of his collected bikes are at auction every year, just a glimpse at Bonhams shows 6 pages of his motorcycles and cars, who states that Ekins was one of the USA’s foremost collectors of veteran and vintage motorcycles - at one time his collection numbered over 150 motorcycles and was considered to be the most valuable in the country.
a 1905 REO Roadster,
a 1908 REO Tourer and
a 1908 Delaunay-Belleville H4 Double Phaeton.
a motorcycle sidecar “Mona”
a 1970 Triumph Bonneville T140