1969 Triumph TT FlatTracker
The quintessential form of American motorcycle racing is flat track. Raced on dirt-surface oval tracks, the bikes break loose with their back tire spinning, blasting sideways in a continuous fish-tail through each turn. With dirt flying, the riders turn the handlebars the opposite direction just to keep the bike adrift. It is a sight to behold at any speed, let alone the 120mph reached on some tracks.
Triumphs of the 1960s exemplified the “standard” motorcycle. An all-around machine, they could be easily modified for a variety of racing with a minimum of changes. This one is set up for a specialized form of flat track racing known as TT Steeplechase.
Unlike other flat tracks, which all turn left, TT tracks feature one right-hand turn. They are also unique in that they include a jump. Since flattrackers always turn and lean on the left side, a typical flattracker would have exhaust pipes both on the right side – to make more room on the left for leaning. But the TT machine tucks its pipes high and tight under the middle of the bike, ready to lean either direction in a turn.
This Triumph flattracker is a homebuilt racer’s pride and joy, beautiful in its simplicity. “Life is pretty special, you never know what might happen,” says Tom Young. Tom came to own this Triumph after its prior owner, a good friend of Tom’s, died without warning while getting ready for work on a Tuesday morning. The bike reminds Tom of his friend and the importance of enjoying the here and now.