Bimmer readers will know Pridmore’s name from his Superbike championship on the R90S. But who is Reg Pridmore, and how did he come to take BMW’s big twin to such a prestigious title?
Pridmore—simply “Reg” from here on—was born in London in 1939 and grew up riding British bikes. By 1959, he was practicing racing lines at Brands Hatch. Next thing he knew, he was victorious on a Triumph 500 in what he calls his “first ever decent event” at England’s famed Silverstone Circuit, in the rain.
“I wasn’t scared of the wet,” he says, “and my bike was talking to me, so we won a bitchin’ race. I still have the silver cup from it.”
Looking for opportunities abroad, Reg came to the U.S. in June 1964 and found his way to California, where he went to work for a Honda/Triumph dealer in Santa Barbara.
“I’d schooled at Triumph in Coventry, and they could advertise that,” says Reg, adding with a laugh, “I learned a lot from old bastards! But I said to myself, ‘There’s room for expansion here,’ so I moved the old brain box out just a little by understanding that they were showing me better ways of doing good—and I actually got to be a very good mechanic.”
More than that, Reg began racing and winning in California with a factory six-speed Bultaco 125cc two-stroke and four-stroke Kawasaki 250cc Samurai production bike before buying a Norton Manx in 1967.
“That to me,” says Reg, “was one of the best things I ever did, because Norton started supporting me with their Commandos.”