Triumph Record Attempt Postponed

Power Comes from Modified Rocket III Engines

Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

Triumph Motorcycles attempt to set a new land speed record is being postponed until October because of bad weather.

Organizers say that rains have reduced available track length on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and that speed runs, which normally require 10-11 miles, is not possible.

Mike Cook’s Bonneville Shootout, a speed contest that can be attended by invitation only, is now scheduled for Oct. 5-10.

The current record has stood for four years and was set by Ack Attack powered by a pair of Suzuki engines. It hit 376.363 mph.

Triumph says it is hoping to hit 400 mph.

Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

Speed in DNA

The company has played the speed game throughout its history.

Its best-known bike, the Bonneville, is named after the salt flats of the same name. And except for a span of 33 days, Triumph was the world’s fastest motorcycle from 1955 to 1970.

The record’s gone up over the years. Devil’s Arrow hit 193+ mph in 1955. Texas Cee-gar bumped that to 214+ mph the following year. By 1966 the Gyronaut X-1 had hit 245+ mph.

Four motorcycle streamliners are gunning for a new record this year. Ack Attack is back with a pair of Hayabusa engines. Then there’s the BUB 7, powered by a custom V-4 engine, the Kawasaki-powered Sam Wheeler, and the Triumph Castrol Rocket.

Manufacturers have long understood the benefits of going for records. It often results in a better machine at your local showroom. Plus there’s the positive PR it generates. Indian Motorcycle is still benefiting from the halo of success from Burt Munro’s incredible exploits.

Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

A Turbo or Two

To propel its carbon-fibre-clad streamliner, Triumph has taken the standard Rocket III three-cylinder, generously modified it and plumbed in a turbo to make it develop 500 hp.

And then they dropped two of them into their machine. We’re guessing gas mileage has suffered a bit.

The Crazies Behind the Crazy-Fast Machine

The Triumph Castrol Rocket was developed by Matt Markstaller of Hot Rod Conspiracy and Bob Carpenter of Carpenter Racing. It’s taken two years to get to this stage.

“There are teams that have been out here attempting to break records for years,” Markstaller said. “It’s very hard because there are so many variables to contend against.”

Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

Going super-fast is a complicated business, to be sure.

Things can go wrong: machinery can blow up or break, and does. And then there are the things nobody controls, like wind and rain and lightning, which is precisely what happened this year.

Carpenter said the flats present “an ever-changing environment that can be quite forgiving or absolutely inhospitable. You never know what to expect.”

The Triumph Castrol Rocket will be piloted by AMA Pro Road Racer Jason DiSalvo — “piloted,” not “ridden.”

Should be interesting.

Some Triumph Castrol Rocket specifications:

  • Chassis: Carbon Kevlar monocoque
  • Dimensions: 25' x 2' x 3'
  • Engines: Two Triumph Rocket III engines with two liquid-cooled turbochargers
  • Horsepower: 1,000-plus horsepower at 9,000 rpm
  • Torque: 500+ lbs combined
  • Suspension: Alloy aluminum swingarms, custom
  • Shocks:  Ohlins TTX36, adjustable, lots of them
  • Fuel: Methanol, lots of it
  • Tires: Goodyear Land Speed Special
  • Engine Lubricant: Castrol Power RS 4T 10W-40 full synthetic oil