Gavin Trippe 1940 – 2018

Classic Racer - - PADDOCK GOSSIP -

The name of Gav­in­trippe – who sadly died in a Cal­i­for­nia car ac­ci­dent on July 2 – may not be that fa­mil­iar to UK mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing fans at first hear­ing. How­ever, link it with the words Transat­lantic Tro­phy and the lights of recognition will surely switch on. For a more than a dozen years be­tween 1971 and 1983, Gavin

(although an English­man) was the man that brought the Amer­i­can team to Eng­land for what is still one of the best-re­mem­bered race se­ries in both UK and US mo­tor­cy­cling his­tory. He was also the busi­ness part­ner of Classic Racer con­trib­u­tor Bruce Cox for 15 years, join­ing him in 1969 in the start-up ven­ture for the Cal­i­for­nia news­pa­per Mo­tor­cy­cle Weekly. Says Bruce: “I will al­ways re­mem­ber him with re­spect and af­fec­tion as the man who gave up his hith­erto ‘dream job’ as the mo­tocross ed­i­tor at MCN and moved half­way across the world, sim­ply be­cause he had faith in my idea. Thank­fully, it was an idea that worked out well for both of us”.

Backed up by the suc­cess of MCW, Trippe and Cox started a linked busi­ness that be­came one of the top race pro­mo­tions com­pa­nies in Amer­ica dur­ing the 1970s. Through­out that decade and into the next, Trippe, Cox Inc. staged the World Cham­pi­onship US GP of Mo­tocross at Carls­bad, Cal­i­for­nia and both Na­tional and World F750 Cham­pi­onship road races at La­guna Seca (which in­cluded the very first races in what later would be­come the Su­per­bike class). As well as the Transat­lantic Tro­phy UK con­nec­tion, there were other Cal­i­for­nia road races, in­clud­ing Na­tional Cham­pi­onships at River­side Race­way and the big end-of-sea­son Cham­pion Spark Plug 250 in­ter­na­tional at the On­tario Mo­tor Speed­way, which at­tracted top rid­ers from all over the world in pursuit of the $50,000 prize fund.

Fi­nally, there was a spe­cial event for the ABCTV net­work called The Su­per­bik­ers. This was es­sen­tially a rally cross for mo­tor­cy­cles that matched the top rid­ers from all dis­ci­plines of the sport on a track com­bin­ing road race, mo­tocross and dirt-track el­e­ments within a sin­gle lap. It be­came the blue­print for Su­per­moto rac­ing in later years. In 1984, the ca­reer paths of Trippe and Cox di­verged when Cox moved back to Europe to pur­sue other pub­lish­ing andtv pro­duc­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties, while Trippe re­mained in Cal­i­for­nia but moved out of the race pro­mo­tions busi­ness and into less-risky fields of ac­tiv­ity. Twenty years later, how­ever, his achieve­ments in the field of race pro­mo­tion were re­mem­bered and in 2005 he had the hon­our of elec­tion to the Amer­i­can Mo­tor­cy­clist As­so­ci­a­tion ‘Hall of Fame’.

Gavin Trippe in Transat­lantic Tro­phy times along with Ger­ard Mc­caf­frey, a key fig­ure in Trippe, Cox Inc. un­til his death in 1981.

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