Motorcycles, generally speaking, live a hard life, but racebikes live a harder life than most. They spend their life at high revs, and sooner or later, they’re bound to end up pitching off-track into the weeds. So, it’s rare to see a race bike turn into a long-term survivor. But what if you build a racebike, and don’t race it? That seems to be the story with this 1972 Triumph roadracer replica. It has the right pieces to be an early-’70s roadracer, but it appears the machine’s actually had a pampered existence for decades.
In some places, this Bring A Trailer advert calls this a Trackmaster model, but seems to describe it most accurately this way: “The bike is said to have been built in period in the style of a factory TR6R racer using a Trackmaster frame.”
In the early 1970s, the TR6R variants were some of the hottest Brit bikes on the market. They were made for speed, and typically used as the basis for desert sled racers. From the factory, they came with improved suspension, high-mount pipes, a trimmed-down engine and an oil-in-frame design. Of course, like every English-manufactured motorcycle of that era, the TR6R models were full of issues and mechanical niggles. A top-shelf mechanic could sort all that stuff out, though, and these Triumphs had a blend of handling and power that the Japanese still hadn’t quite figured out. For that reason, they were popular machines to build into race bikes in the early 1970s.
According to the BAT ad, this machine is a “period-modified racing replica.” Errrr, that’s weird. Why would someone build a race machine in the 1970s, stripping away street-legal equipment like lighting and horn, and then not race the machine? The ad doesn’t say the bike wasn’t raced, but it also doesn’t say the bike was raced. All it says is, the current owner acquired the machine from a collection in 1991. The bike was restored in 2002.
Regardless of how the bike got to its current state, it’s certainly a beautiful collection of vintage racing parts, starting with that Trackmaster frame. Trackmaster frames were specifically built for racing, originally designed by racing guru Ray Hensley. Triumph actually stamped these frames with OEM part numbers, allowing them to be do an end-run on the AMA flat-track rulebook—or at least, that was what everyone believed. It would certainly fit in with all the other behind-the-scenes skullduggery in the flat track scene.
Maybe you think that’s unsporting, and maybe you don’t care; either way, the Trackmaster frames had a reputation for good handling on flat tracks. Given the cross-discipline nature of the AMA championship in that era, it’s no surprise to see someone building a roadracer around the frame, too. There are issues to overcome if you want to use a lightweight Trackmaster frame on asphalt, but some AHRMA racers worked them out and ran these frames over the years.
Along with the Trackmaster frame, this race bike also has a “replacement 750cc parallel twin.” Is this a race-prepped engine? The ad says there’s a set of dual 34mm Mikuni carburetors, a Tony Hayward clutch, an oil cooler and a battery-free ignition, but there’s no mention of any top end work or other internal trickery. There’s no airbox, just a set of large pod filters. The 2-2 exhaust has open megaphone mufflers, as you’d expect with a track machine. There’s a five-speed gearbox, with right-hand shift, and there’s no electric start—it’s kickstart only. The ad says the engine started up at its 2002 restoration, and hasn’t been run since.
The bike has Ceriani telescopic forks and twin Works shocks. The builder, whoever they were, wisely converted this machine over to disc brakes; there’s a set of dual discs up front, with Grimeca calipers bolted to the fender mounting brackets. There’s also a single Grimeca caliper in back, with single-disc brake. These components would all likely seem pretty crude when compared to the modern brakes and suspension on even a budget bike like a Kawasaki Z400. Compared to the original parts, though, they’d be a massive improvement.
The list of trick parts goes on. Those rearset controls are custom-built. The wheels have 18-inch rims laced to Barnes hubs, with Avon tires (110/80 AM22 front and 130/70 V818 SC V260 rear). As for the bodywork, the ad doesn’t say what the fairing is made of, but the tail section is fibreglass and the fuel tank is aluminum, supposedly stored with no fuel in it.
Long term plans?
Bikes like this Triumph pose an interesting question. What would you buy it for?
It’s not restored to its factory setup, not even close. It would be a shame to buy it and bang it up at the racetrack; you could certainly do so, but you could also buy a machine that’s already battered from track usage, for less money.
Really, this bike appeals to a sub-market of people who want a mint-condition vintage race replica. Those people exist, but it’s a pretty small group, which might keep the price down. Whatever the case, if you want it, you’d better bid fast, as the auction is closing shortly.
Photos: Bring A Trailer