1974 Triumph Trident at Maxton Monster Mile

Neale Bayly breaks a land speed record at the Maxon Monster Mile aboard a 1974 Triumph Trident

| March/April 2012

Approaching the starting line at the Maxton Monster Mile in Maxton, N.C., in my attempt to break a land speed record on Bart Boucher’s immaculate 1974 Triumph Trident, it suddenly occurs to me I should ask him about the shift pattern. I know it’s on the right, but I’m not sure if it goes up or down.

Noticing the look of terror in his eyes as Bart realizes that in a couple of minutes I’ll be accelerating flat out through the gears on a machine I haven’t even ridden around the parking lot, I feel his pain. While a ground-shaking rumble explodes into a massive roar and a wild Corvette blasts off down the track, there’s no time to rethink the decision as he tickles the Amal carburetors and kickstarts the Trident to life.

Taking the handlebars and hopping into the saddle, I blip the throttle and test the clutch pull. Slipping down into first and hoping the few remaining brain cells orbiting inside my white Arai will remember it’s up for the next gear, I ease out the clutch. Jumping forward immediately, I make a quick mental note: No clutch travel before engagement. Now I’m sweating, and casually ask if there’s a line I should be following and which way the track goes after it disappears behind the foot-high weeds as it veers off to the right. Bart isn’t sure about the line, and doesn’t look like he’s sure he’s made a good decision letting me loose on his pride and joy, but before he can change his mind I’m being summoned to the line. Waiting for the track to clear I slide back in the seat, try to familiarize myself with the foot-peg position, and remind myself not to rev the balanced and blueprinted engine past 9,500rpm. And then it’s time to go.

The miles to Maxton

As my son, Patrick, and I arrived at the old Maxton airstrip in North Carolina, the skies that had been heavy with leaden clouds and rain as we traveled east were starting to clear. Within minutes the clouds started to roll out, leaving clear blue sky and a handful of wispy, white clouds hanging around as if maybe Burt Munro himself put in a word with the weather gods for us for this mission. Traveling with local racer Thomas Cronan, we met with Bart, quickly dispensed with the formalities, rolled the Trident out of the trailer, broke out the cameras and started shooting as the setting sun burned a deep, golden hue on the surrounding countryside. With more rain on the radar for the following day, I wanted to be safe on pictures, at least.

Later, as we sat at dinner, I learned Bart started his personal two-wheeled journey at the tender age of 12 on a Whizzer, before graduating to various Hondas and then a 1972 BSA Lightning he bought new. That started a British love affair that has lasted a few decades, and now sees more than 15 motorcycles back at Boucher Central in Alexandria, Va.

His bikes range from a 1933 BSA Sloper to a 2007 Triumph Tiger, a 1981 Laverda Jota, a 1976 Moto Guzzi T3 and a Triumph Rocket III. And while we could spend the rest of the evening chatting about any one of his collection, it’s Bart’s 1974 Triumph Trident I am here for, and I’m eager to learn about it and his decision to go land speed racing.

polly Hocott
1/5/2013 5:32:33 PM

The comments about the 1075cc Trident were made by Polly's husband Don !

1/5/2013 5:25:58 PM

Reading the story about the Triumph Trident brought back memories of my 71 T-150.I sold Triumphs back then and got tired hearing from the Kawasaki Z-1 boys telling how they always blew away Triumphs.I ordered a big bore kit and stroker crank from "Big D" cycle in Texas and built what I remember as a 1075cc Trident.It had so much torque it would snap Renold chains when drag racing.Installed Mega Cycle cams to kill some of the bottom end torque and DID chain and blew away many Z-1's. No more making fun of Triumphs ! Wish I had it back !

John Nutting
1/4/2013 11:32:12 AM

Lovely atmosphere evoked by the monster mile being eaten up by the Trident. Reminds me of testing a T160 at the UK's MIRA 1,000-yard timing straight in 1975 when the bike clocked an average 116.9mph in two opposed runs, and a best one-way speed of 119.2mph. regards John Nutting

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