With Triumph Motorcycles taking part in the Moto2 class in 2019, a Triumph dealership in Belgium pays homage the legend of world class racer, Gary Nixon.
Gary was a key part of the Triumph factory racing team in the 1960s. He won the prestigious Daytona 200 race with Triumph in 1967 and again in 1968 at the AMA Grand National Championship. His achievements were so remarkable that across the pond in Belgium, Triumph Wevelgem has developed a Thruxton R Special.
The Thruxton’s engine block has been modified to take the performance of the twin to a higher level. Another camshaft has been mounted, the air filter system adjusted and the catalyst replaced by a coupling piece. To adapt the engine management to the modifications, a power commander from Dynojet was used. By fine-tuning the engine management the result of all tweaks can be optimised.
The efficiency of these modifications can be clearly seen on the test bench’s printout. The engine delivers no less than 135 Newton metres (Nm) of torque at 4,724 rpm on the rear wheel. The top power has increased from stock numbers to 104 hp at 6,212 rpm.
The torque curve is as good as flat, which entails that the twin always and everywhere has a mountain of power available at all speeds. The standard- and European-homologated exhaust silencers have been retained and the removal of the catalyst results in the engine breathing more freely and the exhaust noise reduced.
In practice, the engine characteristic of this Thruxton – despite the significant increase in capacity – is still easy to ride. The behaviour of the twin is exemplary both when starting and during city traffic. The engine also runs neatly when cruising at slow speed; it is only when you open the gas that the Triumph takes you to another dimension.
To accentuate the sporty use of the engine, a quickshifter system has been installed. So in other words you can fully accelerate this engine by moving up the gears without having to switch off the gas or operate the clutch. The Thruxton R Special feels like a six-speed rocket! It’s certainly not for beginners but in the right hands and right terrain it has an engine with performance to dream of.
True to time
The full faring and the single seat are exact copies of the Triumph factory racers from the 60s and 70s. The shape of the streamline, which was quickly christened ‘letterbox fairing’ because of the slot in the head, is immediately recognisable. The Barcelona seat is evocative of the glory years of yesteryear with the white and blue colour scheme that was used by the Triumph factory team at the time.
The double headlight and the small round rear light were customary at long-distance races and complete the picture. The seat is stylishly covered in black plastic, tastefully divided into diamonds with silver stitching.
The row number 9 on the flanks of the saddle pay homage to Gary Nixon, who always came up with that number at the start. Triumph was in its element 50 years ago and now, with 2019 Moto2 season coming up, it is back at the forefront of global motorcycle racing.