Triumph Daytona 675R
Forty-seven years after the Triumph Daytona debuted to honor Buddy Elmore’s 1966 Daytona 200 victory, professional race teams are showing the venerable Daytona is again the motorcycle to beat.
The 2014 racing season began with Danny Eslick and the #69 Riders Discount Racing team becoming the first Triumph team to win the Daytona 200 since Gary Nixon in 1967. They also became the first Triumph team in history to win the Daytona 200 from the pole position, and the first Triumph to win the pole position since Paul Smart in 1971.
Eslick, of Broken Arrow, Okla., dominated the race by leading 44 of the 200-mile race’s 57 laps and won with an incredible 10.975 second margin.
Four of the Daytona 200’s top-10 finishers also rode a Triumph Daytona. Bobby Fong and the #50 Latus Motors/Castrol/Triumph finished fourth. Luke Stapleford and his team flew in from England with the #68 Profile Racing Triumph Daytona to finish seventh, and former Daytona 200 winner Steve Rapp finished tenth with his #15 D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph. The fastest lap of the race was turned in by Jason DiSalvo piloting his #40 Sportbike Track Time/Castrol/Triumph.
Bobby Fong, of Stockton, Calif., and the Latus Motors/Castrol/Triumph team then won the opening round of the three-race GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout’s DynoJet Pro Sportbike class from the pole at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Fong and the Latus Motors Racing Triumph team then finished second at the Shootout’s next round, the Arai Pacific Nationals at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
Fong and the Latus Motors/Castrol/Triumph team are now tied for the lead heading into the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout’s May 24-25 finale at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.
Eslick and the #69 Riders Discount Racing Team lead the AMA Pro Road Racing Daytona Sportbike class heading into the series’ second round at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on the weekend of May 30 through June 1.
“Triumph’s back,” said Greg Heichelbech, CEO of Triumph Motorcycles America. “The Triumph family keeps getting stronger, and we’re seeing shades of racing rivalries similar to those of the late 1960s and early ‘70s when a Triumph was the motorcycle to beat. This is an extremely exciting time.”
The parallel twin Triumph Tigers, then inline triple Triumph Tridents and their sister BSA Rocket IIIs, were the fastest motorcycles in the paddock in the 1960s and early 1970s. Riders and their Triumphs frequently won pole positions and races, including AMA Hall of Famers Gary Nixon and Gene Romero.
Today’s riders compete with the Triumph Daytona 675R. Espoused by the motorcycle press for its intuitive handling and linear power curve, professional road racers again are making Triumph their motorcycle of choice to win poles, races and championships.