Monday, November 30, 2009


Photos from San Jose by Allen Chuck. Thanks to Bill Barrett for sharing them. Gary Nixon on the #9. Gene Romero in the badass argyle leathers on the #3. Who was #20x? The others?

Friday, November 27, 2009


Dennis Suter sent me these photos of some sweet Triumphs for sale in his VFT classifieds. Wow!

1967 Triumph TT Special 650. $12,000

1962 Triumph 650, with late model barrel and 9 bolt head, Mikunis, Ceriani front end, fresh motor, Duplex frame, Great Premier Bike. (Tangerine/Purple) $ 6,500

1965 Triumph 750, dirt tracker. (Black/Silver) SOLD

1966 Triumph 500, brakeless or brake have both set-ups. (Yellow) $ 5,000

Check out the full ad at:

Thursday, November 26, 2009


In the spirit of the holiday I'm thankful for guys like Mike "Stu" Stuhler. Mike does the Stu's Shots blog and has taken the time on several occasions to share photos he has shot over the years. They are always very cool and the background info he sends along always brings the photos to life. So thanks Mike. Happy Holidays!

From Mike "Stu" Stuhler:
I've been doing a lot of scanning lately, and came acrossed this batch of shots I thought you might like that I took back in August of '75. This was my second year, and first full year of having just gotten into flat track racing, I had just graduated high school and was working with one intention in mind for the summer--go to as many flat track races I can.

My old friend Dick Jones--who I have mentioned before and who had taken me under his wing so to speak in turning me on to this great series--and I traveled to 9 or 10 races that year. Of course, Peoria a couple of weeks before the now infamous '75 Indy Mile, was a must see. Only 192 miles west of here, we made the trek.
Back in those days, all you pretty much had to do was get an AMA membership and make application for a mechanics license and wammo, you had your way into the pits. It was titties and beer as you were right there with all the gods of this great series.

Sonny Burres Natl #69 and Chuck Joyner Natl #60 were two hot shoes out of the Pacific Northwest area that were considered TT specialists in the day. I know they ran Peoria then and of course Castle Rock. I'm not sure about Houston at the time.
Both had immaculately prepared Triumphs that were a testament to the worthiness and durability of the brand. Even in later years as when Gary Scott won Castle Rock for what I believe was a five year run. Burres won Peoria this year as you can tell from the shot of him and his wrench taking the checkered flag. As a matter of fact he ran away with it.

In no particular order of shots, one is of Gary Scott #64-who would of course claim the championship that year on a factory H-D tuned by Bill Werner-and Chuck Joyner #60 run it into 1.

Another shot shows Scott, Phil McDonald on the #58 --which I think was a Harley--and Joyner running it into 1 as well.

Another is of Joyner grabbing the front brake so much in a testament to his riding prowess in these things, that the rear wheel is starting to come off the ground while Gary Scott is just starting to get it on the brakes hard coming in behind him.

And last but not least you have the field lining up for the national. On the far left you can see #65x Jay Springsteen just over #26 Mike Caves' right shoulder. Just off Caves' left elbow in the second row is #35 who I believe was Randy Scott--I stand corrected if not so--but also on a Triumph. To Caves' left on the front row you have the late, great Rex Beauchamp #31. I can't make out the rider just over Rex' left shoulder in the second row. To his left, though, is of course #69 Sonny Burres and just behind him you can just make it Joyner's #60. And just off Sonny's left elbow on the second row is Natl #14 Hank Scott on the Shell Thuett Yamaha. And do I even need to mention who is on the pole on the #1. Probably not, but yes, it is The King, Kenny Roberts, on the Bud Askland-tuned Yamaha parallel twin.

You can tell from all the shots that the crowd, as it still is today in Peoria, SRO. And even if someone HAD a seat, they probably didn't get used too much that day.

Just a note of interest. My buddy and close friend Rick McGuire, who now resides back in the Champaign, IL. area after having lived the good life for the last 8-9 years in Hilo, HI., ran into Sonny Burres at an AHDRA event in Bristol, TN. back in late summer of '07. He's still racing, and for a guy now in his early '70s has gravitated to nitro-burning Harleys after also having taken up hydroplane racing over the years. Obviously this man is an Iron Man for still taking on a schedule like that some 34 1/2 years after wowwing an 18 year old kid. Pretty cool stuff.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Awesome shot of Gene. Who needs a full face...or gloves for that matter? Thanks to Bill Barrett for the photo.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Scooter on an awesome Triumph at Springfield last year. Who owns this bike? Where was it this year?? Will we ever see it again???

Monday, November 23, 2009


Late last week the 2010 AMA GNC series schedule was announced. This is great news for the racers who can now get info out to potential sponsors and fans. While it would be great to see the return of historic races like Castle Rock, DuQuoin, and of course a repeat of Pomona, the 19 race schedule is truly "national" in scope. There are races on both coasts and nearly everywhere in between. New events include Prescott, Arizona; Lexington, Kentucky; Minneapolis Minnesota; Calistoga, California. Word on the street is the Hotshoe series will not be back unless the DMG can contract it out to someone else. At the moment it appears only the Gas City Hotshoe has made the jump to the GNC schedule. We'll have to wait and see if the Savanna or Barberville races will back during Bike Week. In the meantime the countdown is on until the March debut of the GNC series at the new facility in Daytona.

Bill Gately at Bonneville Performance has already confirmed they will try to run the full schedule next season. Interested sponsors should get in touch as more races = more miles and more cash.
2010 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Schedule

1)March 3 DAYTONA® Flat Track (Daytona Beach, Florida) TT
2)March 4 DAYTONA® Flat Track (Daytona Beach, Florida) Short Track
3)May 1 Yavapai Downs (Prescott, Arizona) Mile
4)May 29 Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, Illinois) TT
5)May 30 Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, Illinois) Mile
6)June 5 Gas City I-69 Speedway (Gas City, Indiana) Short Track
7)June 19 The Red Mile (Lexington, Kentucky) Mile
8)June 26 Allen County Fairgrounds (Lima, Ohio) Half-Mile
9)July 10 I-96 Speedway (Lake Odessa, Michigan) Half-Mile
10)July 31 Calistoga Fairgrounds (Calistoga, California) Half-Mile
11)August 7 Hagerstown Speedway (Hagerstown, Maryland) Half-Mile
12)August 14 Beulah Park (Grove City, Ohio) Mile
13)August 22 Peoria Race Park (Peoria, Illinois) TT
14)August 28 Indiana State Fairgrounds (Indianapolis, Indiana) Mile
15)September 4 Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, Illinois) Short Track
16)September 5 Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, Illinois) Mile
17)September 11 Canterbury Park (Minneapolis, Minnesota) Mile
18)October 9 Yavapai Downs (Prescott, Arizona) Short Track
19)October 10 Yavapai Downs (Prescott, Arizona) Mile

Additional dates are expected to be added.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


While out in Pomona Brian Phillips and the Bonneville Performance team ran the WCFTS Open class in additional to their regular AMA GNC program. Phillips proved to be up for the challenge qualifying 6th out of 52. Unfortunately once the racing got going Brian finished 7th in his heat and 14th in the semi and missed the main.

It also seems there was another Triumph running in the open class. Jeff Johnson was aboard the 37R machine and ran 8th in both his heat and the semi, also missing the main. If anyone has photos or info on Jeff and the bike he was on, we'd love to hear about it.

Photo and info from Dennis Suter at VFT.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Found on VFT I believe:

If anyone has the details on this bike we'd love to hear them.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Got an email the other day in response to our 100th Post Trivia info...

The AMA Grand National Series began in 1954 when the series went to a point system for the #1 rider. Prior to that the #1 plate was given to the rider who won the 25 lap mile race at Springfield , IL

The first victory for Triumph in the Grand National ERA came from Ed Kretz Jr., who won the Peoria 80 C.I. TT on Sept 11, 1955. In the early era of the series two nationals were run at the Peoria TT. A 45 C.I. and 80 C.I. National 1954 – 1962 ..

Prior to the AMA National Series in 1954 – the following Triumph Riders won nationals.
Ed Fischer: 6-21-1953 100 mile road race Laconia NH

Rick Fishcer: 8 -31-1952 100 lap mile Langhorne PA
Jimmy Phillips: 9-16-1951 45 C.I. 14 Lap TT Peoria IL and 9-16-1951 80 C.I. 14 lap TT Peoria IL

Keep up the good work

Joe Yak
Thanks for the info Joe. Glad to share it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I found this photo and letter over on Sideburn Magazine's blog:

From Al McQ:

The photo is of my Granddad’s two brothers Albert & Mark, aboard the latter’s 500cc Triumph – the first motorised vehicle in their village. Both died in WW1.

Albert served in the Middlesex Rgt, Football Bttn. A "pals" outfit comprising footy players and those, like Albert, who wanted to serve alongside their sporting heroes. They first saw action during the Somme offensive of 1916 and were subsequently involved in the battle of Passchendaele (Ypres). In each of their first four major engagements their losses were 50%; every time Albert was in the fortunate half, until his luck ran out in autumn 1917.

Mark was a despatch rider attached to the officer commanding Royal Engineers Q (Special) Coy involved from 1915 onwards in gas warfare. A letter written by his officer to his bereaved family tells how he frequently had to get from the front line to rear areas and return under shellfire when all other communication methods had failed. Against the odds he survived until the end, only to die of influenza in the pandemic of 1918 - 1919.

They are buried in the same cemetery in St Omer, France. I think of them every year when I buy my poppy and wear it with pride.


Made me think of this quote from Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions:

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans' Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don't want to throw away any sacred things.

So here's to Armistice Day. A remembrance of all those who died in the "war to end all wars." A hope for peace rather than an acknowledgment of the growing number of veterans of ceaseless wars.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


A couple more photos by Allen Chuck. Provided by Bill Barrett.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Beautiful photos of Gary Nixon and Chuck Palmgren battling at San Jose. Photos taken by Allen Chuck and provided by Bill Barrett.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Found this on Ed Youngblood's MotoHistory early article on Triumph's return to flat track.

Dirt Track Déjà vu


With 65 championships between 1958 and 1981, Triumph was one of the great brands of the AMA Grand National era. Men like Gary Nixon, Gene Romero, Eddie Mulder, and Skip Van Leeuwen helped hold the marque high during its best days in America. However, except for vintage racing, a Triumph has not been seen in serious dirt track or road racing competition for nearly a quarter century. This may change during 2005, thanks to a convergence of the recently created AMA Supertracker class with the GNC 750s, a new high-tech Triumph vertical twin engine, Bill Gatley of Bonneville Performance, and an Ohio man named Doug Horner and his cohorts.

Pictured here on its birthing bench is a motorcycle that its builders hope will take the Triumph name out of nostalgia and into the heat of AMA Grand Naional dirt track racing. Its engine is Triumph's double overhead cam, eight-valve vertical twin that its builders believe is capable of 105 horse power. Featuring a 270 degree crank, it is bored and stoked to 990cc. The frame is by VMC, Horner's partnership with Lyle Pizzino, that specializes in building frames for AHRMA vintage dirt track competition. Three engines are being built, and one will be ready for testing in December.

Horner wants the machine to be more than a motorcycle that just carries the Triumph name. He wants to bring back the look of the classic Grand National era. The modern unit-construction vertical twin resembles a Meriden Triumph of yesteryear, which Horner has enhanced with a new aluminum steel fuel tank carefully shaped to look like the Trackmaster tanks seen on the machines ridden by the likes of Nixon, Romero, and the Palmgren brothers.

Horner's build team includes Mark Anderson of Norsman Motor Company and John Zelna, pictured here with Horner's ARHMA Triumph dirt tracker in the foreground and the new Supertracker in the background. The vintage 1970 Triumph 750 racer pictured here was not only used in AHRMA competition, but won its class at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Concours d'Elegance in 2003.

Tiumph Engine

The builders, having built GNC equipment before, find no reason that the new Triumph should not be competitive. Horner points out, “Its frame geometry and center of gravity are very close to that of a Harley XR. This fact, plus more than enough horse power to be competitive even with the Suzukis, gives us a lot of hope for the project.” However, Horner admits that there can be a lot of time, money, and unwelcome surprises that stand between a sound idea and a competitive dirt track racer, and he is hoping next month's testing will yield results that may enable the new Triumph to be developed to the level of AMA Grand National competition during the coming year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


This time from Dave Hoenig. You can order Dave's work at

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


For our 100th post here is some info found on Ed Youngblood's MotoHistory website:

Triumph Trivia:
Triumph's first victory during the AMA Grand National era was delivered by Dick Dorresteyn, who won the Peoria TT on September 7, 1958 . Don Burnett was the first man to win Daytona aboard a Triumph, on March 4, 1962 . Triumph's greatest seasons were 1966 and 1967 with six victories each. Gary Nixon gave the brand two of its three Grand National Championships in 1967 and 1968. The third was delivered by Gene Romero in 1970. Triumph's most winning rider was Gary Nixon, with 14 championships aboard the brand. Next was Gene Romero with eight championships. Both riders went on to win titles aboard other brands after Triumph was no longer competitive. Triumph's last championship of the Grand National era was delivered by Steve Eklund at the Houston TT in 1981.

Monday, November 2, 2009


From Bill Gately:
The Pomona Race was big success despite all the critics. It was a packed house and all the worries about the canceled Love Ride had zero effect on the flat track fans showing up. I think we will be back on the west coast next year. We had a great beginning with and qualifying 17th in the field of 46 riders. This earned us a front row position for the heat race. Brian got a great start and was hanging within a half bike length of Brian Smith in the lead. He went down when he hit a big pot hole and high sided. We got him back into heat the restart but he could not get a transfer position back. He went down again in the semi same scenario. We are looking forward to the 2010 season -- we will make our changes this winter, test our bikes and come back strong for 2010.

All photos by Dave Hoenig. Check out his awesome site to order prints @