Right from the start - triumph for triumph

Nick Harris gives us a brief racing history of the British manufacturer after they returned to Grand Prix racing in style at Losail

Of course it could not have been anything but a Triumph victory in the Qatar Moto2™ race but it was still such a special day for the iconic British factory. Their first ever Grand Prix victory in a sport in which they were pioneers right from the very start.

Many people feel that this magnificent sport actually started at 10am on the cold cloudy morning of 28 May 1907. At that moment Frank Hulbert and Jack Marshall fired up and pointed their single cylinder Triumph motorcycles up a dusty track towards Ballacraine to start the very first TT race on the Isle of Man. The two Triumphs spluttered into life to begin a 158 mile journey around the St Johns course and motorcycle racing was born. Twenty three other riders joined the pioneers and just 12 returned to the finish. The two Triumphs finished second and third respectively behind the matchless of Charlie Collier who took four hours 8m8.02s to complete the race at an average speed of 61.47 km. A year later Marshall reversed the result over Collier to bring Triumph their first TT win.

When the World Championship staged its first ever premier class 500 cc race in 1949 at the TT races in the Isle of Man Triumph were there once again. New Zealander Syd Jensen brought the Triumph home in fifth place in the seven lap race won by Harold Daniell riding the Norton. Triumph had to wait 20 years before their one and only Grand Prix podium finish which finally came at the fastest circuit of them all. The versatile test rider and racer Percy Tait finished second on the 500 cc Triumph behind Giacomo Agostini in the 13 lap 1969 Belgium Grand Prix at the magnificent Spa Francorchamps circuit.

On Sunday the revitalised Triumph factory made a welcome return to Grand Prix racing with their magnificent 765 cc triples screaming below the Losail International floodlights in a superb Moto2™ race. At the finish just 0.026s separated Lorenzo Baldassari and Tom Luthi at the finish. Triumph has replaced Honda as the engine suppliers in the Moto2™ class and there will be plenty more Qatar type races in the next 18 Grands Prix. Sunday was just a foretaste of the battles that lay ahead.

Welcome back to the big time Triumph. All we need now to complete the picture is a British rider winning on a British Motorcycle – Sam Lowes, please take note. 

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