Friday, August 21, 2009

1983 PEORIA TT - THE FINAL GNC MAIN FOR A MERIDEN TRIUMPH

This Sunday is the 61st annual Peoria TT. This is one of the most prestigious events in AMA GNC racing and I've been lucky enough to have attended many races there during the past 30 years.

The TT has been the site of 9 Triumph GNC victories over the years, with the last coming by Chuck Joyner in 1978. It is also the last place one of the "old school" Triumphs qualified for a final. 26 years ago today, at the 1983 Peoria TT, Gary Scott and Brad Hurst put Meriden Triumphs in a GNC main event for the final time. In honor of that historic moment, here is some info on Gary and the bike he rode that day.

Gary on the Triumph at Peoria:

On display at the Springfield Hall of Fame Race...

Thanks to Mike "Stu" Stuhler for the above photo from the Springfield Hall of Fame Race a few years back. Check out his blog for some more great photos: http://stusshots.blogspot.com

From the AMA Hall of Fame Museum...

Gary Scott's 1977 Triumph

One of the last bikes of a dirt-track great

Gary Scott's 1977 Triumph

In the AMA Flat Track Championship record book, Gary Scott is remembered for accomplishments aboard Harley-Davidson racebikes.

Click to enlarge

But Scott, one of the most successful racers of his era, began and ended his career aboard Triumphs, including this machine, one of the last competitive British bikes in series history. Scott raced this Triumph during the 1983 season. Starting life as a 1977 T140 parallel twin, the bike was modified with a Trackmaster frame, Fox shocks and Ceriani forks. Fitted with other race bits, such as Barnes wheels and Airheart brakes, it gave Scott his last top 10 in the AMA Flat Track series. Scott burst onto the professional dirt-track scene 11 years earlier with one of the most amazing rookie seasons in AMA history. Scott qualified his Triumph for 21 of the 24 Nationals, earned two wins, and finished the season as runner-up to Harley factory rider Mark Brelsford. That earned Scott Rookie of the Year honors for the 1972 season, and a second-place finish behind Kenny Roberts in ’73 got him a spot on the Harley factory team. In 1975, that combination paid off with a title over Roberts and a hotshot rookie named Jay Springsteen. Returning to privateer status for the 1976 season—and his trusted Triumphs for TT events—Scott remained competitive, finishing second that year and third a year later. By 1983, when he rode this machine, Scott was nearing the end of his successful career, and a new crop of youngsters, like Randy Goss, Ricky Graham, Bubba Shobert and Scott Parker, were taking over. Still, he rode well enough to finish in the top 10 for the 12th consecutive year. Scott was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum at AMA headquarters in Pickerington, Ohio, in 1998. And his Triumph machine, shown as it was last raced by Scott at the Peoria (Illinois) TT National on August 21, 1983, is currently on display just a few feet from the plaque commemorating his career.

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