Sad farewell to former scrambler and motorcycle dealer Ken Covell

Many who remember the heyday of scrambling will be sorry to learn of the passing, after a long illness, of Ken Covell, who started competing in the mid-1950s and gained his international licence in the early 1960s.

We are grateful to his son, Adam, for the following obituary.

“Dad quickly developed a real passion for the sport and became quite a formidable competitor,”
says Adam, “and after he met Andy Lee, who was in the RAF, they raced together, with Andy helping to acquire rationed petrol courtesy of the RAF to fuel their racing.”

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The writing on the back of this picture goes: “Four-stroke supporter Ken Covell displays his 1964 Matchless Metisse. Built for £450, this was one of the first production Metisse frames. The other bike in the background (which can just be seen on the right – Ed) is the one used by Andy Lee. Probably these two frames were the first two off the Rickman production line.”

In 1959 Ken and Andy started Lee & Covell Motorcycles in Ely, and although after a few years they went their separate ways, with Ken running a business in Ely and Andy in Cambridge, they remained life-long friends.

In the 1960s Ken rode on the continent, where scrambling has a bigger following and the rewards to match, but at one of the televised BBC Grandstand scrambles in 1963 he had a coming-together
with one of the TV cameras. After the Beeb suggested that Ken should pay for the damage, he advised them in his own style that they should not have put the camera in such a stupid place!

Read more and view more images in the August 2018 issue of OBM – on sale now!

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