Sunday, Mar 05, 2017
From the 1962 Triumph Baltimore sales catalog
About a year ago I wrote about Gary Richards and his Speed Records at Bonneville in the 1960′s.
Still, no one has gone faster than Gary Richards did in 1961 with any 650 Triumph motorcycle without a fairing at Bonneville.
His two way average of 159.542 mph still stands as an AMA certified record to this day.
The fact that no one has been able to beat this record in 56 years is amazing in itself, however when you take into account his bike it is even more impressive.
His naturally aspirated stock rigid frame Pre Unit looked like a street bike, with a peanut tank and stock length fork. His father Rich Richards did the tuning, and they managed a 160.272 mph average over one mile, and a return average of 158.812 mph for an official record of 159.542 mph.
Most people don’t realize that the timing trap at Bonneville is one full mile long, and speeding up or slowing down will affect your average speed, which is then averaged with your return mile speed to reach your qualifying speed.
This method of timing is significantly different than other speed events like the NHRA, which uses a 66 foot long trap at the end of the 1/4 mile track to calculate speed, or even El Mirage Dry Lake which only uses a 132 foot long timing trap at the end of a 1.3 mile track.
Gary Richards currently produces Dixon Cylinder heads, and from 1961 to today is still the Bonneville record holder of the world’s fastest unfaired Triumph 650 of all time.
Photo of Gary in 1962 courtesy of the AMERICAN HOT ROD FOUNDATION