Ragnar Bakken er død.
Det var en fryktelig beskjed vi fikk om kvelden mandag 14 juni. Ragnar Bakken er død. Under laksefiske i Namsen skjedde en ulykke og Ragnar ble funnet død i elva.
Ragnar var en av de mest markante personlighetene i norsk veteranmotorsykkelmiljø og hadde venner i hele Norden, i Europa og Amerika. Alle kjente ham og alle hadde en mening om ham. I vårt Indianmiljø var han den personen som hadde det største nettverket av alle. Ragnar brant for ting og kunne leve intenst i perioder. En Indian kunne restaureres i løpet av en kort periode med glød og iver.
Norsk Indian Klubb’s idé ble utformet på Ragnars hytte på Losna og her skulle også klubben ha sin årlige Hill Climb i forbindelse med Summer Meet. Som ressursperson i klubben har Ragnar hatt kun hatt verv i valgkommitéen, men har betydd uendelig mer som nettverksbygger. Uten ham ville klubben utvilsomt fått en tyngre start.
Ragnar Bakkens første Indian var en 1937 Chief, i originalutførelse. Denne var hans varemerke i mange år og ble tiltalt som “Gammel Chiefen” Senere har det kommet mange andre sykler til samlingen og den siste anskaffelsen var en 1940 Indian Four. Dessverre skulle han ikke få anledning til å kjøre denne eller hans andre stolthet; en Indian 1910.
Undertegnede traff Ragnar først på begynnelsen av åttitallet, i forbindelse med løp og treff i NVMC’s regi, og som nybakt Indianeier kunne man få mange nyttige tips og kontakter fra denne bergverksingeniøren fra Jessheim. Ragnar gikk etter noen år inn i en periode med mindre aktivitet på motorsykkelfronten og viet mer tid til sportslige sysler, maraton etc. Men på begynnelsen av nittitallet var mannen tilbake på motorsykkelen igjen, og nå ble det årlige turer med gjengen til setra på Losna. Noen foreslo å kalle denne turen for “Losna Hill Climb”, på grunn av de siste bratte kilometerene opp fra hovedveien. Slik oppstod begrepet “Losna Hill Climb”.
Onsdag 23 juni ble Ragnar Bakken bragt til hvile i Hovin Kirke ved Jessheim. Norsk Indian Klubb var godt representert og Arne Bjørn Hoel holdt en gripende tale i kirken. Fra Sverige hadde sentrale personer funnet veien; bl.a. Jørgen og Bror Sundberg, Leif Jostrand og flere andre. Det ble også bragt kondolanser og blomster fra Australia ved Jim Parker. Ragnar Bakken etterlot seg kone, to sønner og fem barnebarn. Vi lyser fred over Ragnars minne.
Stein Fossheim – Webmaster
I avsnittet under følger noen minneord fra Red Fred og Regina (USA):
I first met Ragnar in 2003 at the International Indian Rally hosted by Denmark. He arrived late, by train, and was drowning his sorrows from blowing a cylinder off of his Standard Scout on the way to the Rally from his home in Norway. He & I hit it off right from the start. What a devastating blow to have your bike break so catastrophically in route to such an important venue. And what a feat he did by getting it back home, and still manage to get himself to the Rally!
Ragnar has a great group of friends, and everyone seemed to help network for the replacement parts needed for his bike. A tight-knit group, fun loving, and caring.
Later, I got to visit Ragnar, and see his family property, and his bikes. After the Swedish Rally, Halvor Mitvik led Jorgen Sundberg, and some of us foreigners around Norway. Halvor established a great route for us to experience the country. From the dramatic Fyords, the ice tunnels, Troll Road, wooded forests, mountain peaks, and magic of all the Indian people we visited, the visit to Ragnar’s stands out the most.
The hill climb to his perfectly, and authentically restored family cabin atop the mountains was our most memorable experience. We liked it so much we stayed for a few days. It was quite fitting to have so many wooden crates of dynamite, and their detonators laying around, as Ragnar was into explosives for the mining industry. With his dark Arab-like features, we had a lot of fun teasing him about being a terrorist, especially when getting on airplanes.
Ragnar would come and visit us at his cabin, to make sure we were all OK, and had enough to drink. There was no electricity, and no running water, as this place was truelly restored to it’s original state, complete with turf roof. We drew water from the spring each day, and ventured down the mountain for local rides, and trips to the bakery. At night Ragnar would come up and sing for us. Before we left, he showed us his house at the bottom of the mountain, on the water. This is where he kept his beloved Chiefs, and his prized ’37. There he had many projects going on, and I was surprised at all his talents, especially the woodworking.
We were sad to leave the Cabin, and the country side where Ragnar lived, but we had to get back to reality. We kept in touch, and Ragnar got to visit us here in San Francisco. We had much fun touring around the city in my old cars. Everywhere we stopped to eat, he refused to let anyone else pay. Ragnar was very generous, honest, and genuine. One memorable event happened when we took him out to lunch at a bar/cafe which held some 30 vintage bikes hanging from the ceiling, and displayed in the windows. We never told him where we were going, and just let the surprise hit him. He was over-whelmed by the place, but lost all reality when he found an early Hendersen, just like his! He went directly to it, and made a tracing of a part he was missing on his own. I wish I had a photo of him when he stepped into that place!
Later, I got to meet up with Ragnar at the big meet in Davenport, Iowa. He was like an excited kid in an ice cream shop! He had found a ’40 4 cylinder available, and asked me about it. I happened to know the bikes history, and it’s current owner. The deal was made, and this bike that I first saw and rode in Belgium, was again, returning to Europe. It was going to have a good new home.
Ragnar and I kept in touch over the years, especially for parts & info on his new goodies that he found. Regina and I are deeply saddened by the news of losing him, especially so near to the celebration of his clubs Rally. Through Ragnar, we have learned to live life to it’s fullest. We drink water daily from the wooden spoons he brought us from Norway during his visit here. Ragnar, we miss you, but we have learned from you as well.