When we heard Ernie Vigil was going to compete in the 2019 NORRA Mexican 1000 rally we were not surprised. The Triumph factory frontman has been blowing people’s minds with his riding exploits aboard these British-born beasts for more than a decade. Obviously, there is a big difference between riding wheelies and drifting on a turbocharged Daytona and racing in Baja aboard a relatively stock Scrambler 1200 XE, but that’s exactly what he did.
The coolest part of the effort is that he competed under the number 278, which was a shout-out to Steve McQueen who rode a Triumph Scrambler with that same number during the 1964 ISDT. Honoring the man who helped make Triumph a household name was a nice touch to a truly ambitious endeavor. Oh, and did we mention he finished fifth in the Modern Open Class as well?
Not only did Vigil finish the five-day, 1,347-mile competition in 25 hours and 37 minutes, but he did the deed without any major mechanical problems to speak of besides a blown-out bib mousse. Basically, he got a flat tire that held him up for a few hours.
“We made it. It was a super-long week at the NORRA Mexican Rally,” Vigil said in the postrace press release. “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 focused 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.”
Just how stock was his Scrambler? According to Triumph, the suspension components were completely stock. The team did completely remove the ABS and TC equipment and installed a skid plate to protect the sump, but other than that, the only changes were softer grips and a set of Metzeler tires. They used an MC360 on the front and a Karoo 3 out back.
The objective of this adventure was to show the durability and potential of the Scrambler to the modern consumer and now that the dust has settled, we have to give them credit for kicking butt and ticking another item off of Vigil’s bucket list.