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Derek Rickman 1933-2021

Motorcycle, car and accessory manufacturer Derek Rickman, a leading moto cross rider in the 1950s and 1960s, died on 3 July aged 88 at Lymington Hospital after a brief battle with cancer.

A works Royal Enfield moto cross rider in the 1950s, Derek and his MX riding younger brother Don decided that lighter, faster, more manageable off-road machines were needed.

In 1959 they created a BSA-Triumph twin special they christened Metisse (mongrel). The brothers found themselves on a victory roll and were so successful that other riders wanted them to build similar machines.

This was the first step to volume production of moto cross, enduro, road race and road machines and chassis kits using a wide variety of engines, including Japanese fours.

They produced 16,685 frame kits and complete motorcycles from 1960 to 1981 building up factory premises in New Milton Hampshire. They then concentrated on the accessory market they had entered in 1977, making the Hondastyle range for Honda from 1981 to 1986.

Ever enterprising, Derek Rickman saw an opportunity in kit car sales to make up for falling motorcycle registrations in the 1980s. A man of integrity and perseverance, Derek Rickman and his partner brother Don then produced approximately 1100 Rickman kit cars from 1987 to 1989, completing 30 years as manufacturers and employing up to 120 people. .

Rickman product was fine quality and respected from day one. Top flight riders were keen to buy, also the rich and famous including film stars Steve McQueen and Clint Walker.

Rickman merited a Queen’s Award to Industry in 1974 and for a time was the UK’s leading motorcycle manufacturer.

Derek Rickman enjoyed hero status for 70 years, first as a leading rider representing Great Britain at GP level, and later as manufacturer. This is a snapshot of a full and productive life that included helping Bultaco and AJS with two-strokes get started in the moto cross world, and countless other involvements that saw the Rickman name interwoven into the fabric of world motorcycling.

The Rickman Metisse name lives on under two separate companies – Rickman Motorcycles run by Adrian Moss, and Metisse Motorcycles run by Gerry Lisi.

Derek Rickman, 1966 FIM Coupe d’Europe 750 series winner on a 600 Rickman Matchless Metisse, may have gone, but his legendary status will last forever in the annals of motorcycle history.


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