The first thing Ian Johnston showed us when we walked into his workshop was the lump of Triumph crankcase he cut off the front of a set of scrap crankcases to shoehorn the motor into an A65 frame. Purists might well be aghast at such butchery – but if you look at Ian’s TriBSA, it looks so perfect, it could have just rolled out of Meriden. Incredibly, a lot of the parts Ian re-engineering to create his masterpiece had been destined for the scrap bin.
This issue is a lot about Triumph over adversity. It’s hard to imagine a 12-year-old being allowed to compete head-to-head with adults in any form of motorsport competition these days. But back in the 1950s, a kid called Bobby Sirkegian managed to persuade his old man to let him ride a Triumph twin incredibly fast in what were the fledgling days of Stateside drag racing – a time when people were more interested in hell-raisin’ fun than ‘health and safety’ issues.
It was no surprise the lightweight jockey, on a powerful motorcycle, just ran away from the adults to create one of the great stories of motorcycle folklore – and Sirkegian’s story is all the better for the beautiful range of motorcycles he got to ride, not only on the drag strips but also at Daytona and on the dirt-track ovals.
Enjoy the issue.
Gary Pinchin, Editor