Triumph's Return to Isle of Man[includes/valmoto.htm]Isle of Man TT 2003
Return of a legend
4 June is a significant date for British motorcycle racing and
motorcycling in general. It is the day that Jim Moodie, Bruce
Anstey and John McGuinness line up for the start of the 2003
Junior TT. It marks the first time for over three decades that a
factory Triumph has competed in the world famous, public roads
racing festival known as the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy.
had already been established for five years by the time that the
inaugural races were run on the Isle of Man in 1907 and for many
years the histories of the two motorcycling institutions were
inseparably intertwined. The British manufacturer has a long and
illustrious record at the TT. At that very first meeting, almost a
century ago, Triumph marked itself as a top class racing marque
when Jack Marshall and Frank Hulbert brought their single-cylinder
machines home in second and third place.
1908 Marshall rode his three-and-a-half horsepower, single-speed
machine to first place and overall honours as well as posting the
fastest lap (42.48mph), despite having to pull over to replace an
exhaust valve. Of the ten, single-cylinder bikes that finished the
race that year, six were Triumphs. This emphatic result signalled
the start of a period during which Triumphs remained the dominant
single-cylinder machines on the Island.
is the way in racing, there followed a period of readjustment,
development, bizarre restrictions and rule changes during which
Triumph remained a prominent force at the TT through factory
efforts and hundreds of faithful privateers. The outbreak of World
War II in 1939 effectively put a stop to racing activities when
riders and factory employees (who were often one and the same)
signed up to fight for their country. However, the post-war period
signalled a resurgence of Triumph’s racing fortunes.
1949 the TT became the first event on the world championship
calendar and Triumph was well represented with 15 GP bikes lining
up on the Manx grid. New Zealander Sid Jensen scored an impressive
result with fifth place but the Clubmans TT was where machines
such as the Tiger 70 and 100 would shine by achieving numerous
victories. The re-introduction of the Production TT in 1967
brought overall victory for John Hartle on his Bonneville and
three years later Triumph scored a landmark in TT history when
Malcolm Uphill averaged 100mph around the Mountain Course.
1970 performance was special, primarily because it was the first
time that a production machine had ever hit the magical
three-figure mark. This was made all the more impressive because
it was achieved from a standing start. The victory was a matter of
British pride at a time when British industry was struggling
following year Tony Jefferies won the Formula 750TT on a triple,
but 1971 will be remembered primarily for the birth of a true
British racing legend. A Triumph Trident nicknamed Slippery Sam
slithered its way into motorcycling folklore when it gave
successive wins to Ray Pickrell in 1971 and ’72 and then carried
Jefferies, Mick Grant (against 1000cc machinery and riding with a
broken wrist) and Dave Croxford/Alex George to victory at the
subsequent three TTs.
unmatched winning streak would undoubtedly have continued but so
fearsome was the Triumph’s reputation that rules were brought in
outlawing bikes that were more than five years old.
28 years later, Triumph is returning to the Island with a full
factory effort to rival the might of Japanese manufacturers.
World-renowned road racing specialist Jack Valentine is the man in
charge of bringing glory back to the world’s oldest motorcycle
manufacturer. His company ValMoto has been working tirelessly to
develop Triumph’s critically acclaimed Daytona 600 road bike
into a racing machine worthy of carrying the Leicester company’s
racing pedigree into the 21st Century.
a brand new model into a Supersport missile is by no means an
overnight task but some of Triumph ValMoto’s results would
certainly suggest that the team is on the right track. Riders Jim
Moodie and Craig Jones have been competing in the British
Supersport Championship with a remarkable level of success that
has seen Jones take pole position at Knockhill. The team has also
yielded a fistful of top-ten finishes in one of the toughest
sporting arenas around.
may be coming up with the goods on the short circuits but the
18-year-old will not be taking part in Triumph ValMoto’s public
roads campaign. That task falls to the vastly experienced Jim
Moodie. Moodie who has previously won eight TTs, will be partnered
by Isle of Man experts John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey – and
any of the three riders are capable of winning the Junior and
Production 600 races for Triumph. Anstey has so far gone fastest
of the trio by topping the timesheets in practice for the Junior
TT with an outstanding 121.04mph
lap – but Moodie and McGuinness are close behind.
ValMoto Daytona 600s have also been a significant force in
practice for the Production 600 TT and there is real hope that one
of these brave men could put Triumph back at the pinnacle of
motorcycle racing with a victory in the 2003 Isle of Man TT races.
(4 laps) – 10.45am Wednesday 4 June 2003