The Triumph Daytona: Rewriting history

12 moments that changed sportbike history

Just as branding was starting to become a thing, Buddy Elmore flew round the Daytona 200 course on a Triumph Tiger to come from 46th on the grid to first, nudging an average 100mph.

A year after that incredible 1966 victory, Triumph released a new bike whose name still translates to raw power and speed to this day, the Daytona.

Since then, the name has gone on to epitomise the pinnacle of sportbike success through the decades… here’s a quick look at some of its adrenaline-fuelled finest hours.

A legend is born

American Elmore shocked the world when he emerged from nowhere to win in Florida on a works special 500cc Tiger 100 developed by Triumph’s Chief Engineer and designer Doug Hele. Triumph’s domination on one of the world’s most demanding circuits would continue the following year and help spawn a generation of sports bikes bearing the name of the venue that made them unbeatable.

”Start lappin’… win the race”

Gary Nixon had run Elmore close for the ’66 crown, but went one better the following year on the same bike to make it two Daytona titles in a row for the Works team. His approach was simple: “Watch the starter, get a good start and then in a few laps, start lappin’ guys. An’ then you win the race.” It worked. He also won the AMA Grand National Championship on Triumphs in 1967 and 1968.

Agostini and the ecstasy

In the late 60s, the Daytona’s huge power step at 3,500 rpm was turning heads and the Belgian Grand Prix saw Triumph’s factory tester Percy Tait lead world champion Giacomo Agostini for three laps before finishing second at an average speed of 116 mph on the revamped Daytona.

A new era

The Daytona’s place in folklore was reignited when a lighter, more agile version burst onto the track in the guise of a Triumph 750 sport bike in 1990-91. But it would be another six years before the Daytona T595, Triumph’s first modern-era fully focused sports bike, cemented its legendary status. Its 128bhp and a top speed of 161mph from a performance triple engine meant only one thing – Triumph meant business.

Back on track

Bruce Anstey sent a deafening message to the racing world when his Daytona 600 roared to first place in the 2003 Junior TT, finishing 10.96 seconds ahead of his nearest rival in the fastest Supersport TT time of 1:15.13.98. The New Zealander was joined in the top 10 by two other Triumph ValMoto teammates. After a 28-year absence, Triumph was well and truly back.

Track stars

Craig Jones rode a Daytona 600 in the British Supersport Championship in conjunction with the factory team as Triumph returned to racing after a 30-year hiatus in 2003. Australian Glen Richards – who today lives near Bruntingthorpe, a stone’s throw from the Triumph factory – rode a Daytona 675 to British Supersport successes in 2008 and 2012.

Bigger and better

Never standing still, Triumph unveiled the triple powered Daytona 675 – the bike that would establish it as a force in supersport racing – in 2006.  It took the honours at the Isle of Man TT, the North West 200, the British and German Supersport championships and rewrote history once more with a win at the Daytona 200 in 2014, back where the legend had started.

In the tracks of legends

Danny Eslick crossed the line at the Daytona 200 in 2014, signalling Triumph’s first win at the world’s most gruelling long-distance sprint for almost 50 years. The 27-year-old won the 73rd Daytona 200 at Daytona Beach in Florida when he powered his Daytona 675 across the finish 11 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

Look who’s back

More than a decade after Bruce Anstey’s 2003 success, he was back at the TT but this time new challenger Gary Johnson pipped him to the post, leading from the start in the wet on a Smiths Racing Daytona 675R to edge home by 1.5 seconds in a thrilling final lap.

Skippy’s Supersports Success

Australian Billy ‘Skippy’ McConnell 2014 British Supersport win on a Daytona 675R saw in the modern racing era for Triumph and he admitted he was overcome with emotion and cried his eyes out on the final lap.

A winning team

Peter Hickman cemented Triumph’s place at racing’s top table when he took the flag at the Isle of Man Supersport race 2 earlier this year.

The UK rider built on a string of Supersport TT podium finishes on his old Daytona to go one better after Triumph provided him with two new 675cc Daytona triples for the 2019 NW200, TT and Ulster Grand Prix road races.

He says: “We’ve had two really good years but needed that little bit more to win the TT. Triumph’s involvement and support this year made all the difference.”

What next?

The Daytona’s racing pedigree burns brighter than ever with the Street Triple and Triumph’s exclusive engine partnership for the Moto2TM championship winning worldwide acclaim.

From 1966 to today, the distinctive powerplant, power and torque of the Daytona-derived engine will continue to rewrite history long into the future.

Find out more about the all conquering new Daytona here