Derek Rickman passes away

British motorcycle icon Derek Rickman passed away on Saturday 3 July at Lymington hospital after a brief battle with cancer. He and his younger brother Don were the driving force behind British motocross superiority in the 1960s.

The Rickmans brothers represented Great Britain in the Motocross of Nations with Derek being on the winning team five times (1959, 1960, 1963, 1964 and 1966). Brother Don joined him in the winning MXoN team in 1963 and 1964. It was also the era of British motocross rule with Jeff Smith, Dave Bickers and Vic Eastwood.

Don and Derek Rickman

Derek said of this era: “ We realized that if we wanted to achieve anything in international sport we had to have lighter machines. We built our own frames and they proved to be very successful. Originally, the Rickman Métisses housed large British four-stroke single-cylinders from BSA, Matchless and Triumph. They developed their exclusive frame kits by racing them and the Rickman Métisses were highly valued as a result. Their machines were often 15 kg lighter than those of the production machines of that time. With their nickel-plated Reynolds 531 tubes, they set the standard for very high quality frames.

The Rickmans produced an average of 4,000 motorcycles per year. Afterwards, they put two-strokes from Bultaco, Montesa, Zundapp and Hodaka in their frames. Later they also made frame kits for road bikes. In 1974, the Rickmans received the Queen’s Award to Industry for their export activities and Derek and Don Rickman were inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2007. Derek Rickman was 88 years old.