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1969 Triumph Trident 750cc American Record Machine

1969 Triumph Trident 750cc American Record Machine

Nowhere in the British Isles is a place where the ultimate top speed of a motorcycle or can can be proven. Even aerodrome runways are not long enough but the USA has suitable sites in plenty and the famous Bonneville Salt Flats, the dried up bed of a salt lake, is the venue for many World Record attempts and hosts an annual Speed Week for would be record breakers.

Many british bikes have shown their speed potential at Bonneville, Triumpg twins in particular and the three-cylinder Trident and its cousin the BSA Rocket 3 was an obvious contender for bigger capacity records for is was basically a Triumph twin and half.

A Triumph twin of 500cc with an extra 250cc cylinder in the middle.

These triples were an example of what British engineers have always doen so well when faced with an urgent need. The need was the demand from America for more 'cubes', more cubic capacity. Vertical twins of 650 amd over produced unacceptable levels of vibration though Norton overcame it to some extent by mounting their 750 twin Commando on rubber but Triumph designers Hopwood and Hele came up with the twin and a half which was tremendously successful and even beat the rival Honda 750 four cylinder on the tracks.

American maximum speed events are run in a bewildering variety of classes. This one ran in the Altered frame with Partial streamlining, altered fuel (methanol) class up to 750cc and set a record of 169.33 mph in 1969. The frame certainly has been altered, the engine set well back in a lengthened , lowered frame and high speed steering problems have been avoided by hub centre steering which replaces normal 'whippy' front forks. Fuel is pumped from tanks mounted low down in front of the engine. Electronic ignition fires two plugs in each cylinder and large Japenese Mikuni carburettors replace the normal British instruments. Built by a Californian firm specialising in racing services it was ridden to the record by Jeff Gough.

Kept in California by owner Bud Hare, an earlier record holder, the machine came near to being scrapped when he died. Only the fact that the scrap man was a motorcycle enthusiast saved it. He told a motorcycle dealer friend who bought it and saved its history.